All blogs are not created equal -- especially when it comes to those about self-publishing. Many are written by authors who are primarily interested in selling their books, others by “experts” who want to sell their services, and then there are those that are so chock full of entertaining stories and down-to-earth, practical advice that you can’t afford to miss them, even if they also might happen to suggest you purchase their books or services.
At BookWorks we have a few favorites. This doesn’t mean that there are not dozens of other great blogs out there for indie authors. Of course there are. It is just that these particularly appeal to us.
What we value most in a blog, by the way, is passion on the part of the creator, extensive knowledge of all aspects of self-publishing, consistency, and clean, clear, entertaining prose. All of these blogs meet those standards, and they can have a huge, positive impact on your self-publishing success if you let them. Here they are:
“My goal is to help authors reach their readers,” says Joel Friedlander, former book designer and founder of this lively, information-packed blog. And he does just that. In addition to the 700-plus articles on his site, you will find extensive tools and resources, books and guides, webinars and video-based instruction, as well as his online training course The Self-Publishing Roadmap. He is about to launch another new service to “help build better books,” so keep an eye out for it.
This is a full-service blog by one of the major gurus in the self-publishing business. What he loves most about his blog is the feedback he gets, his ability to engage with readers. When we asked him for the single most important piece of advice he could offer indie authors, he said, “Find your readers. Get to know who are they, what their dreams are? Meet them, learn from them, create a role in their lives and encourage feedback.”
Jane Friedman’s blog is as good as it gets. Former publisher of Writer’s Digest, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, writer, and media professor, Friedman’s blog receives over 50,000 unique visitors every month, and there’s a good reason for this. She helps indie authors learn about the business side of publishing as well as “how the digital age is affecting and transforming writers, publishing, and storytelling.” She offers three types of e-mail newsletters. When you go to her site click Free Newsletter and you will be prompted to select 1.) her blogs as they go live; 2.) a weekly digest of the blogs; and/or 3.) Electric Speed, a special newsletter focusing on tools and resources that she sends out when she has time. She is also about to launch SCRATCH: A magazine for writers about money, art and business, life, and work.
Her advice to self-publishers, “Be patient and adapt. It’s important to commit to the long haul and be willing to watch your readership grow over time. If one strategy isn’t working, figure out why and change it.”
This self-described “nuclear-powered deathstar of a blog” was founded in 2011 by independent author and consultant Stephen Hise as a platform to celebrate independent authors.
It operates more like an interactive online magazine than a chat forum and has published almost 4,000 staff-written articles, as well as several tutorial books for authors. IU also offers indie authors opportunities to display their books on the site, video trailers, new release announcements, and a featured book section. Hise’s advice to self-published authors, “Indie authors must increase their awareness of publishing platforms, distribution, branding, marketing, and predatory ‘services.’ Knowledge is power.”
Not surprisingly, this London-based website was launched by "creative" self-published author, entrepreneur, and speaker Joanna Penn. She provides easy-to-follow resources to help with writing, publishing, and marketing self-published books. Penn offers her readers friendly video tutorials, podcasts, and online classes in the following categories: author/ entrepreneur, creativity, e-books and technology, literary travel, marketing and promotion, publishing options, and writing.
“I self-published my first non-fiction book in 2008 and made a lot of mistakes along the way” she says. “I also didn’t sell any books because no one knew who I was. That experience made me determined to learn about marketing, as well as how to become a better writer. I started this site to share my experiences and hopefully save other people the money, time, and heartache I went through.” One of her sage pieces of advice to indie authors, “Don’t be boring.”
CJ Lyons calls herself “a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers with a heart. “ But that’s not what she always was. She started out as a pediatric emergency room doctor. Then she realized two things. “One, that stories have power. As much power as medicine. The power to teach, the power to heal, the power to inspire. And two, that the reason I became a pediatric ER doc was the same reason I write: I want to change the world.” This warm, witty blog is filled with entertaining stories and some of the best how-to-format-your-manuscript videos we have seen. Don’t miss it.
In his legal career, Passive Guy, an attorney, entrepreneur, former tech executive and writer, has been involved in major intellectual property litigation. He started this “as an anonymous blog so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search.” He offers no legal advice here, but aggregates hundreds of articles relating to self-publishing. Want to learn more about enhanced e-books, fiction fundamentals, Amanda Hocking, or self-publishing strategies? You will find it all here.
Betty Kelly Sargent is the founder and CEO of BookWorks.com.