I’m an indie author, and proud of it. But the learning curve has been steep! If you’re interested in this path, the resources on this page may help.
Read my occasional book marketing blog posts here.
Apps and Tools For Indie Authors
Sites marked with a * are affiliate links—I only recommend services that I use and love. If affiliate links bother you, you can always search for them directly!
Testing Titles, Covers, Descriptions with PickFu*
Not sure about a book title, or trying to decide which cover will be more effective? PickFu makes A/B testing painless and, dare I say, fun?
You create the head-to-head matchups, define an audience, and sit back as the results pour in. You get detailed input from people you don’t know – so they’re not trying to say what they think you want to hear. And it happens so quickly, you can run a virtual tournament of book titles to come up with the final contenders.
Use the code AnneJanzer for a discount on your polls. Check it out.
Creating Beautiful Books with Vellum*
Vellum lets you create beautiful ebooks and print books quickly and easily. You can write directly in the app or import a Word file, fix up the interior, choose the style you like, and export it painlessly into the right formats for countless ebook platforms.
If your book’s interior is fairly basic—like most fiction and many nonfiction books—Vellum will be all you need, even for print. And having one design file for all editions, which you can tinker with yourself, that’s priceless!
It’s a MacOS application; there’s a reasonable onetime fee, and from then on, you can make as many books as you want. It now also supports physical book layout; I used it to create the interior of Get the Word Out and was pleased with my ability to control the final result. It was also much easier than what I had been doing before.
Amazon Keyword Research
Using PublisherRocket* will save you a ton of time sifting through Amazon data for categories and keywords. It’s also terrific if you want to use Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) ads to advertise your books. Dave Chesson also has a free class on Amazon advertising that’s really useful. (Affiliate link.)
AnswerThePublic is another great tool for seeing what people are searching for. The basic service is free and will provide valuable insight.
Doing Online Webinars and Video Interviews
If you want to do an online webinar or virtual meeting with readers and others, here are a few of the resources I use.
Zoom is great for online webinars and also recording interviews with experts.
Scheduling is a pain, whether for interviews or anything else. BookLikeaBoss* makes it much easier. It’s super easy to set up. (You can see my booking page here.
I use a “Voodrop”* from Anyvoo to give me a clean appearance in online vide. It’s a lightweight, fabric backdrop stretched on a frame that I can hang right before a call.
(Watch this short video to see how it looks.)
I use a Blue Yeti mic for the podcast sound, but when I’m worried about background noise, I use a noise-cancelling headset. (Logitech makes a very reasonably priced USB, wired headset.)
Nonfiction Author Association
The Nonfiction Author’s Association* is a great place to look for information and support. It offers an annual (virtual) conference, tons of good information for members, weekly webinars, and online courses and toolkits.
Social Media Scheduling with Buffer
Social media can become a time sink pretty quickly. Instead of letting social media drive my life, I spent some time each week scheduling posts in advance. Buffer lets me do that easily, while collecting new posts to share as I encounter them.
Other Authors’ Favorites
Check out this round-up post of tools for writing from other writer friends.
For science fiction authors: check out this Glossary Generator from James Murdo. It will create search your manuscript for key terms and phrases, which can be helpful building the glossary for your world.
A young playwright/screenwriter sent me this article on Writing for Theater and Film that she found valuable. (Thanks, Anna!)