The number one question most authors will be asked, at some point, is “where do you get your ideas?”
The second most frequent question we get is, “how do I get published?”
Me, thinking about how to answer this question
Invariably, when I’m asked this question, my heart starts to race. My brain whirs into overdrive, in desperate aim to find the right words to summarize such a monumental question. This isn’t an answer for casual discussion. It’s a topic significant enough that you’ll find hundreds, maybe thousands, of books about it, twice as many blog articles, and that’s to say nothing of everything you can find on YouTube or TikTok these days.
But my love language is solving problems (perhaps also my toxic trait, but that’s a cookie for my therapist), so when a budding author comes to me, my first instinct is to do everything I can do help them. I love watching a new author join the game. I love watching them find their groove and thrive.
My second instinct is a flash of fresh panic as I think about my mountain of to do’s, my looming deadline, and the family I should probably spend time with.
And so, this post was born.
Becasue there are already so many people out there who have answered it better.
And I can personally recommend several of them.
Special Note: this is geared toward indie authors only. If you’re taking a traditionally published route, there’s a ton of resources out there for that, too (The Writer’s Market is still a big one).
Now, then, let’s get into it.
Alessandra Torre’s Inkers Resources
Alessandra is one of the original greats in the indie world. She’s also an incredible person who gives a lot of her time to helping other authors thrive.
Most of her resources are free. Like her New Authors Section on her website, filled with videos that answer the “where do I start?” question.
Or her Facebook group, Alessandra Torre Inkers, where new authors and tenured authors alike can go to find help for what they need. My advice is to use the search function at the top of the group first. There’s years of good info in there to start with.
Lastly, she runs a great conference every year called Inker’s Con. There’s usually a Mini Inker’s Con as well. The price is good for what you get, and I’ve attended myself and can personally recommend it.
Book Series on Self-Publishing
If you’ve been searching your favorite book retailer for books on “how to self-publish,” you are no doubt overwhelmed at the sheer quantity of content available. Where do you start? Well, here’s several I will always recommend:
Joanna Penn is a goddess in this industry. She’s not only a wealth of information, but she’s often on the bleeding edge of new ideas and tech, and puts that knowledge back into the community. She’s one of the few people whose advice I’d take almost universally. Lucky for you, she has an entire book series for new authors.
David Gaughran is another one of the greats, and he’s smart as heck. His website has a lot of great resources as well (and he updates it often), but I highly recommend this book series, as it helps you understand pieces that will become critical to your journey, like knowing your market, creating superfans and (gasp!), mastering advertising.
Robert Ryan is another ads wizard, and I learned so much from these books (things I wish I’d known sooner, to save myself some pain). Inside his books is a Facebook link to a group where you can continue getting support from other authors after you finish reading.
Monica Leonelle has a fantastic series on how to sell your books wide. All authors must decide if they want to partake in Amazon’s KU program (which requires full exclusivity to Amazon), or sell their books on all platforms. It’s a very personal decision, and can be a charged topic, but if you decide you want to diversify, these books are chockful of info on how to maximize sales and exposure on each of the other retailers.
Zoe York is a master of brand, and, lucky for all of us, she’s written a fabulous series about how she does that so you can skip the long line of trial and error and nail it the first time.
Theodora Taylor wrote a book that authors of all tenures are clutching to their chests for dear life. I revisit this book often as I work to craft storylines, characters, and moments that make readers feel things, and Theodora has managed to turn that skill into a repeatable, replicatable science. I recommend this to everyone, but for new authors specifically, it will help you nail those memorable moments from the very first book you publish.
Jessica Brody’s Save the Cat Writes a Novel is an invaluable resource I still pull out, for every book.
The Alliance of Independent Authors
The only organization dedicated solely to independent authors. Membership is affordable, and the resources you unlock with it are too numerous to name here. From guides to discounts, and more. You can learn more here.
Is there a resource you’d like me to add?
Drop them in the comments! I can personally vouch for the above resources, and I’d need to do the same with any new suggestions, to add them to the list. As I think of anything I’ve missed, I will add to this as well.
There is a lot to learn, but, unlike when I started, there’s now an absolute wealth of information out there to help steer you in the right direction.
In the meantime… best of luck as you take the first step toward becoming an author!