This list contains everything you need to publish a professional indie book that can compete with trad-pub titles. I’ve spent almost five 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 Feb 15, 2018.

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


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.


  • 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.


  • Book Report (free up to $1,000 in royalties per month; $10/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.


  • Mark Dawson’s Ads for Authors ($750) is the best course on Facebook ads on the market, specifically designed for authors. Also includes tutorials on AMS, BookBub, and other platforms. Highly recommended if you plan to get into pay-per-click advertising.
  • J.A. Huss’s The Perfect Year (free) is a wonderful 8-part marketing course on YouTube from a seven figure romance author. Extremely helpful for non-romance authors, too.
  • 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.
  • The Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast: great even if you’re not a sci-fi or fantasy writer
  • The Self-Publishing Podcast: amusing, has a good variety of guests covering a number of topics
  • Kindle Boards (KBoards) Writers’ Café: the single best indie publishing resource on the internet (free or paid). The community is truly incredible, and the in-depth marketing knowledge shared by professional full-time writers is astounding.


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.



© Copyright Nicholas Erik - 2018