Indie Author Resources

I’ve learned a lot since deciding to go the indie publishing route. Not everyone has the time to spend weeks doing nothing but reading and researching indie author resources, and I’ve found a lot of information can be hard to narrow down. My goal with the following is to make the process easier for newcomers! This will expand in future blog posts as well.

Below I’ve listed the resources and tools I’ve found most helpful for self-publishing. I hope they help you too. (I don’t receive any compensation for recommending any of the below items, I just genuinely enjoy them.)

If you’re interested in more hands-on files to include in your indie author resource library, I’ve created an array of free spreadsheets, templates, and more that you can download to use here

Software

For Writing

  • Scrivener: $50 or less, one time purchase. (Education discount available.) Available on MacOS and Windows.

    I use Scrivener for everything. It’s designed for authors of any genre, and has plenty of ultra useful features for plotting, outlining, research gathering and organization, and formatting along with actually writing what you want.

    There is a learning curve. I plan on making a tutorial in the future.

    A word of caution: I currently use and recommend Scrivener 3 for Mac. I wrote all of Deep Black Wild in Scrivener for Windows, and the second I finished the program crashed and I almost lost the entire book. The program has an automatic backup feature thankfully, but I got a Mac because of this issue and haven’t had a problem since.

  • Google Docs: Free, available on all devices with automatic syncing.

    Earlier this year, before the pandemic hit, I wrote almost 300K words in this program. Because of the syncing feature, you can write anywhere, either from your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Personally I like to write on my phone while taking a bath, and while lying in bed before sleep, so this makes that easy. Also good for note taking if you have an idea you want to get down quickly.

    There is formatting, you could logically write an entire novel in this program. I haven’t used it for anything longer than short stories and homework.

  • Microsoft Word: $69+, annual and monthly subscriptions. Some schools offer a free download. Available on Windows and MacOS.

    When I almost lost my novel in Scrivener for Windows, I put the backup files and reformatted the entire book in Word over the course of one day. Word doesn’t have the one stop shop function of Scrivener, but its reliability is excellent. It also has a handy read-aloud function.

  • Scapple: $14-$18. Available on Windows and MacOS.

    Made by the same people behind Scrivener, Scapple is essentially mindmapping software. I use it for outlining novels. It’s nice to be able to gets broad and detailed ideas down and edit, remove, and add as you go. There is also fun color coding and formatting options to differentiate what your plot points look like.

For Editing

  • Grammarly: Free browser add-on.

    It will not catch every issue, but is helpful with typos and possible suggestions.

  • Pro Writing Aid: $20 a month or $399 for lifetime purchase. Annual billing also available.

    Edits typos, grammar, and also helps with style issues. It’s not perfect, but in my opinion is more helpful than Grammarly.

For Formatting

  • Vellum: Ebooks: $199, Press (Ebooks + Print): $249 lifetime purchase. MacOS only.

    Since Scrivener 3 can be complicated when it comes to formatting I tried out Vellum, and I’ll never use anything else to format both my ebooks and my print books from now on. It’s easy to use and creates a professional final file.

  • Kindle Create: Free, Windows and MacOS.

    I used this for formatting before I got Vellum. It’s a little clunky, but for free it works just fine. It is a very basic formatter, and the fact it exports in only KPF files means it can be limiting if you ever want to use that file in other programs. (Calibre has saved me with this issue in the past.)

For Publishing

  • Publisher Rocket: $97 lifetime access, Windows and MacOS.

    This helps you choose powerful keywords, categories, and check competition in the Kindle store. It’s a little tough to get a hang of, but a few hours spent with it and you’ll be choosing more useful data to get your book found on Amazon.

Free Tools

Word Count Tracker

Production Release Schedule Template