Friday, August 16, 2013

Reader Friday: Which indie publishing resources do you recommend?

We started talking in the Comments on Tuesday about indie publishing resources we have found to be useful, or could recommend to others. Let's use today to swap useful resources for publishing! (And thanks go to our friend Basil Sands for suggesting today's topic).


  1. I'm patiently waiting. This would be invaluable information for me, so thanks from me as well Basil, for suggesting it.

  2. Elizabeth Craig has a helpful directory of indie services online.

    1. That's a great list she's collecting, thanks, Jim! We also want to hear from folks about people they've actually used and been pleased with the work.

  3. So here are my notes and excerpts summarizing our TKZ'ers comments from Tuesday. Let me know if I overlooked anything anyone said:

    E-Book Design, comments from Terri Lynn Coop:

    "As for ebook design, I did some legal work for a fantastic formatter. She is a wonderful geek who doesn't stop until the book works across every platform. She has also teamed up with a cover designer and they do great work for very reasonable prices:"

    Line Edits and Cover Art, comments from Tom Barclay:

    "For line edits, I would try Anne Mini, who runs the "Author! Author!" website. Anne can likely guide you through finding more help with a project.

    For cover art, I recommend David Terrenoire without reservation. He has done cover art for J.D. Rhoades, and if I'm not mistaken, Brett Battles, Rob Gregory Brown, and others. He has long experience in advertising design, as well as experience as a writer. He gave me critical help with the cover art for a friend's music CD."

    General Self-Publishing Advisors, comments by Leslie Miller:

    "A friend published with the guidance of a local Denver company. They assisted, recommended and advised every step of the way. She was very pleased with their professionalism and the results. (I am not affiliated nor have I used them personally)"

    Note from Kathryn: This last referral sounds like my dream of a Heidi the Project Manager for Indie Publishing. You can bet I'll check that one out!

  4. Kristen Weber was my editor at Penguin Books. She is wonderful to work with and especially good at helping writers get their books to the "next level", and ready for prime time.

  5. I have a list of promo ops on my YA blog for indie authors to get the word out. Some are free posting sites. Others have fees associated with their services. The link to my blog SELF-PUB RESOURCES page is below.

    I have used Croco Designs for lots of design work from bookmarks, website & blog headers, to covers. They design covers for publishers too. I love working with Frauke Spanuth, the owner & designer. They are fast and reasonable.

    For editing, I've used The Edit Ninja, Elyse. She's posted at TKZ before and has a website of services. Other crime fiction authors recommended her to me and I really liked working with her.

    I would also like to remind TKZ followers that Jodie Renner would be a good resource for editing. She has also been a guest at TKZ and Joe Moore uses her.

    1. Absolutely, Jordan! Jodie is great, and we appreciate her insightful posts here. Jodie's website is

    2. And here is the link to Elyse Dinh-McCrillis's site,The Edit Ninja, another true warrior editor!

    3. Excellent list Jordan.

      The Promotion sites are VERY helpful, and I highly recommend them.

      I've used Kindle Nation Daily to GREAT effect in the past. I mean like, sold 10K+ copies in a few days kind of effect.

      Also everytime I hold a free book day I use Digital Book Today and get a minimum of 5k downloads & an Amazon #1 spot followed by several hundred sales the next few days.

      (read this bit very fast like the micromachines guy from the 80s)
      results are not consistent across all genres and may vary with use, style, type, audience, weather, political atmosphere, health and general marketability of materials and or author and or sun spots)

    4. Thanks for the plug for my editing services, Jordan!

    5. I'm a day late but want to add my first hand, enthusiastic recommendation of Jodie Renner as a slam-dunk choice for your complete editing needs.
      Absolutely first class in all respects!

  6. Chris Roerden is another excellent editor who has contributed to TKZ in the past. Even if you don't use Chris personally, you should check out her award-winning books, Don't Murder Your Mystery, and others. They give "how to" technical tips for fixing specific writing issues that are frequently found in manuscripts.

  7. Editing is a critical expense and usually the highest cost, depending on how much work needs to be done. It's not just fixing typos. And working with an editor is a subjective fit. Thanks for the links, Kathryn.

  8. Author Nancy Pickard is one heck of a good teacher for any writer. Recommend her book co-authored with Lynn Lott, "7 Steps on the Writer's Path."

  9. Great resources here, thanks for sharing everyone.

    When I first started out in 2006 with podcast audiobooks I went full indie and did everything myself. Being partly colorblind and photoshop challenged on top of that my book covers...uh...well they...erm...they sucked. Luckily a couple guys stepped over the years and went to bat for me creating some pretty awesome covers for extremely reasonable rates;

    Here two I've used over the years that have really helped me along:

    Cover Designers:

    Brun Media, Andy Nyman
    MIDNIGHT SUN -2012

    Scullion Design , Jerry Scullion
    65 Below 2010
    Faithful Warrior 2011

    As far as editing I really thought I could do that on my own at first, until I published via KDP and the books got several rather less than luminous comments regarding editing. I pulled them off and hired an editor then republished as if nothing ever happened and that seemed to have worked pretty well.

    Tristi Pinkston Editing
    65 BELOW 2010

    Another area some of you may be interested in is audiobook editing. Running a full studio where I have always done all of my own work this was never fraught with the quality issues of book proofing. That being said as contracts have been increasing in frequency I realized that I had to start getting help on that area and for my most recently completed audiobook turned to wonderful audiobook proofer/editor Karen Souer, daughter of famous narrator and voice actor Bob Souer. She is awesome!

    Audiobook Editing:
    Karen Souer
    High Treason, by John Gilstrap

    Anyhow, those are some of the folks that have helped me along the way so far.

  10. If you need to take an old book (for which you have no Word doc) and get it ready for eBook publishing, I STRONGLY recommend you get it scanned rather than retyped.

    I have done it both ways and scanning is cheaper and more accurate. I have had four books scanned now and they come out pretty darn clean. I still had to through and do a "comb out" because a scanner might read "er" as "m" etc. But as I said, the price vs accuracy factor is great.

    You can spend hundreds getting a human to retype your book. I use a scanning company that charges about $35 for a 450-page book. (Price based on pages scanned...they will not include any pages you DON'T want scanned.) For that price you get a Word-ready doc, a PDF and some other stuff. You must supply a book for them to scan, of course. Price is cheaper is you don't want the book returned. (I sent them paperbacks that they tore apart). For higher price, they return the book to you intact.

    The company I use has a fast turn-around (I did lot of research and some take months) and the guy who runs it was VERY helpful via phone and email about helping me get it ready.

    Blue Leaf Scanning

  11. For anyone bold enough to want to create ther own MOBI or other e-book file, Calibre is easy to use shareware that works very well. I've used ito several times, both for books I meant to sell for Kindle and to send files to be read on someone ese's Kindle, and it's quick to learn.

    1. Agreed Dana, Calibre is pretty good stuff. Also, a good idea for ebooks after you've made them is to download the Kindle Previewer which allows you to view the document in multiple kindle screen types and verify it works properly format wise.

  12. Thank you, Kathryn, for hosting this discussion. What a great list of resources -- I will be copying and saving them all. I'll contribute a few other resources I know of and have used.

    1. Toni and Shannon, the Duolit team, maintain a list of self-publishing resources on their site,

    2. My go-to formatting guy is Jonathan Wondrusch. He does high-quality work, is very professional but easy-going, good communicator, and turns work around quickly. He now works with Matt Gartland at Winning Edits ( These guys pretty much have a full-service company, offering everything from editing through formatting, cover design, and even marketing. I worked with both of these guys on a project in 2012 and highly recommend both of them. Jonathan's direct email is jwondrusch(at)gmail(dotcom).

    3. As Jim said, Elizabeth Craig keeps a good list of resources on her site, It's in an Excel spreadsheet, so easy to save and print out.

    4. Jodie Renner is great. Not only does she do good work, she's been very generous in letting me bounce an editing question or two off her.

    5. I subscribe to Joel Friedlander's blog, I love to scroll through his "eBook Cover Design Awards" posts to see the work of good cover designers. Joel also has a Resources page on his site.

    6. Speaking of Joel Friedlander, his new Book Design Templates are great. I've used three of them for CreateSpace books, and they were very easy to use, and made the CreateSpace upload seamless.

    7. Someone in my online networking group recently recommended Jutoh for ebook conversions ( I have no experience with it, but it's another option.

    8. I've published two nonfiction titles, and found a designer on who did the covers for both of them for me. His name is Drew, and his username on Fiverr is "idrewdesign". His work is not stellar across the board, but I found he does well when given a good amount of input. He also is very professional, and turns work around VERY quickly (and, for $5 for ebook covers).

    8. Lastly, I also do freelance editing. My strength is in copy editing, line editing and proofreading. If a client needs substantive edits, I will either contract that part out, or refer them to another trusted developmental editor. I also handle upload and setup on book sites (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc.).

    If anyone has questions or needs more info on any of the resources I mentioned, I can be contacted at diane(at)thedianekrause(dotcom). My website is

    Kathryn -- is it possible to set up a Kill Zone resource list somewhere? If so, we could continue to add to the list as we come across good resources. Just a thought.

    1. These are all great resources. Thanks. I'd like to suggest a couple other sources that have really helped me along the way. .

      Formatting eBooks:
      Rob & Amy Sider at

      For cover desins:
      Cory Clubb at GO Bold Designs

    2. I should add that if you would like to create a Kill Zone resource list, I would be happy to help with the administrative part of getting it started. It wasn't very considerate of me to toss out an idea to create more work for you when you're in the middle of Updating and moving. :)

  13. If you want your indie book made into a professional audiobook, Audible's Audiobook Creation Exchange ( is the place to go. ACX brings together audiobook narrators and rights holders. You post your work, you decide how much you're willing to pay (or whether you want to pay via revenue share), and you audition the narrators and choose the one that's right for your book.

    Financial arrangements with Audible (owned by amazon) are clearly explained and I think fair.

    1. I second your statement Amy as to the satisfaction with ACX. Being both an author who narrates my own audiobooks, and a narrator with a bunch of other writer's titles out there having ACX do the business end of book keeping, royalty payment distribution, legalese and distribution has made my life much easier. And the editors/support folks there are excellent!

  14. Can anyone point to a list of review sites that are willing to review self-pubbed mystery/thriller books or to other promo op sites? I found a great list of SF/Fantasy review sites, and I see that Jordan has a list of promo ops for YA. I'm still looking for something similar for mystery/thriller.


  15. Just got back from viewing staged, Market-Ready homes (yikes!). :) A resource list is a very good idea. Maybe we could add a widget for that. Let me apply my Luddite brain to the notion and see what we can do. Cheers, Kathryn

  16. Thanks for sharing all these great indie resources! When I published my Historical Suspense indie book this year, I had a great editor, Susanne Lakin, who helped me with developmental edits and proofreading. Her website is The Graphic Designer who did my book cover design was awesome! Heather's website is: Hope those resources are helpful :-)

  17. Informed writers can save a lot of money on editing costs. Here are SOME EXCELLENT RESOURCE BOOKS ON WRITING & REVISING FICTION

    - Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Not for dummies at all! Excellent resource.
    - The Everything Guide to Writing Your First Novel, by Hallie Ephron
    - Plot & Structure, by James Scott Bell

    - Revision and Self-Editing - Techniques for transforming your first draft into a finished novel, by James Scott Bell. Just excellent!
    - Manuscript Makeover – Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore, by Elizabeth Lyon
    - Style that Sizzles & Pacing for Power - An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, by Jodie Renner
    - Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us – A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected, by Jessica Page Morrell
    - Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – How to edit yourself into print, by Renni Browne and Dave King
    - 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham

    - How to Write a Damn Good Thriller, by James N. Frey
    - Conflict & Suspense, by James Scott Bell
    - Writing a Killer Thriller - An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction, by Jodie Renner
    - How to Write a Damn Good Mystery, by James N. Frey
    - Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, by Hallie Ephron

    - Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass.
    - Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein
    - On Writing, by Stephen King
    - Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
    - The Successful Novelist, by David Morrell

    ...and there are many more great resource books for fiction writers out there!

  18. I also recommend as editors: Kristen Weber, Diane Krause, and Susanne Lakin. I know all of these professionals really know their stuff and will care about your story!

  19. Jodie Renner has two terrific books as well: Writing a Killer Thriller and Style that Sizzles. I highly recommend both!

  20. Kristen Lamb always posts insightful topics on her blog, and Jodie Renner freely shares helpful editing tips and other information on her website.

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I have a blog called "Resources for Writers" at, with lots of goodies there for writers!

  21. Adding a site that shows show off book trailers, recommended by Elaine Viets. Called Shelf Pleasure More free publicity.

    1. I just uploaded a list of these resources to

      Anyone with the link should be able to view and add comments. Let me know if anyone has trouble viewing it.