I’ve spent almost six years and $40,000+ testing things. These are the essential freelancers, services and resources I’ve used to sell 70,000+ fiction books without an agent or publisher.

Current as of April 10, 2018.

NOTE: most resource lists are padded with nonsense. I’ve been extremely selective, only listing services I’ve actually used.

COVER DESIGN

Hire a cover designer who can execute the genre you’re looking for. Check out their portfolio for books similar to yours. When applicable, I’ve listed which genre(s) the cover designer is best known for. Note that some designers have long lead times, so contact them a couple months in advance of your project.

Listed price is for a complete cover (eBook and print-on-demand). Prices fluctuate due to exchange rates; they might also change. These are listed from most expensive to least; this is not a quality ranking. Custom illustrations run extra. These designers can also create things like Facebook banners, logos and so forth.

If you’re interested in creating your own covers, designer and author Jason Gurley has an excellent nine part free guide.

INTERIOR FORMATTING

  • I recommend Vellum ($29 per book/$249 for unlimited use). Beautiful, simple and intuitive eBook & print formatting with a single click. I use it with MacInCloud ($30 for 30 hours).
  • Scrivener ($40 Windows/$45 Mac) can format eBooks and print interiors—but the Mac version performs these tasks far better than its Windows counterpart.
  • Adobe InDesign ($20/mo) is the industry standard for eBooks and print interiors, but the learning curve is steep (I used it for two years) and I would not recommend learning this particular program unless you need it do other layouts (PDFs, magazine spreads etc.)
  • Ampersand Book Interiors: ~$150 – $200 for a custom eBook interior matching your cover typography/genre.

OTHER

  • Book Report (free up to $1,000 in royalties per month; $19/mo thereafter): a better way of displaying your KDP sales data that requires no installation.
  • Book Funnel ($5/mo): delivers your free books (e.g reader magnets) to email subscribers in a seamless fashion. Vital if you plan on building a big mailing list.
  • ReaderLinks ($19/mo): creates universal links that auto redirect to the user’s Amazon region a la SmartURL. However, the real magic is this: you can redirect people from your website to Amazon while still triggering the Facebook pixel. If none of that makes sense, you don’t need this.

MARKETING INFO

  • Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors ($750) is the best course on PPC ads (FB, AMS, BB) on the market, specifically designed for authors. Highly recommended if you plan to get into pay-per-click advertising. Likely not enough to be wildly profitable out of the gate at this point (because of competition), but consider it the 101/201 PPC course which delivers the fundamentals for far, far cheaper than what trial and error would demand. Watch the free videos available on his site to see if his teaching style works for you.
  • Chris Fox’s Writer Faster, Write Better books ($4/ea). Much of this advice has become standard in the indie community since Chris published these, but they’re great for delving further into concepts like writing to market, launching your novel, and more. Short and to the point reads, with action exercises to apply the concepts fast. I’ve read all six, and recommend all of them.
  • Kindle Boards (KBoards) Writers’ Café: the single best indie publishing resource on the internet (free or paid). The in-depth marketing knowledge shared by full-time writers is astounding.

CRAFT BOOKS

These lists usually devolve into useless 35 page appendixes. I’ll be frank: I read a lot of books. Most are not good. These are indispensable.

PRACTICE/SKILL ACQUISITION BOOKS

BUSINESS BOOKS

© Copyright Nicholas Erik - 2018