These are the essential resources I’ve used to sell 70,000+ fiction books over the last six years without an agent or publisher. Current as of October 2, 2018.

NOTE: I only list 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 at least a couple months in advance of your publication date.

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.

INTERIOR FORMATTING

  • I recommend Vellum ($29 per book/$249 for unlimited use). Beautiful, simple and intuitive eBook & print formatting with a single click. It’s Mac only, but I use it on Windows with MacInCloud ($30 for 30 hours). Scrivener ($40 Windows/$45 Mac) and Adobe InDesign ($20/mo) can also format eBooks and print interiors, but are far less user-friendly.
  • Ampersand Book Interiors: ~$150 – $200 for custom eBook formatting that matches your cover branding

BUSINESS & MARKETING TOOLS

  • 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): seamlessly delivers your free books (e.g reader magnets) to email subscribers. Vital if you plan on building a mailing list.
  • Instafreebie ($20/mo): allows you to give away books for free to InstaFreebie’s readers and join cross-promotions with other authors to generate mailing list subscribers. One of the most cost effective marketing options available to indies.
  • 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. Not enough to be wildly profitable out of the gate at this point, in my opinion (because of competition), but consider it a 100/200-level PPC course that teaches you the fundamentals far more cheaply than trial and error.
  • Kindle Boards (KBoards) Writers’ Café: the single best indie publishing resource on the internet (free or paid).

CRAFT & MARKETING 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.