Are you looking for the best websites and social media tools for indie authors? You have found the right article for you then. Below is a list of the Top 30 websites for indie authors to learn and exchange ideas. After that there is a list of the 5 media tools everyone of us needs as an indie author. Take these links to heart because they can boost your sales, author platform, and readership. Check out all of these helpful tools and websites and you will grow as a writer and expand your reach into the real world and the virtual one. There is also a (kind of) long vlog on indie author tools that is absolutely worth the time to watch because it covers nearly everything available. Hope you enjoy and use what you learn😉
Top 30 Websites for Indie Authors
By: Penny Sansevieri
Trying to build your writing and publishing career is a challenge. There’s a lot of information out there, and trying to discern a solid piece of advice from fluff or inaccurate data isn’t always easy.
We are lucky to know a lot of really outstanding industry people who offer great insights, super tips, and valued feedback on a variety of marketing topics and publishing options.
And if you haven’t contacted me yet, to discuss ways to collaborate, please take a moment to do so, sometimes success happens because you finally understand what you’re missing!
Here’s our list of the top 30 blogs and bloggers we really respect.
We hope you’ll follow them, too!
1 http://annerallen.blogspot.com – One of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers, Ann updates on Sundays and her blog includes regular contributions from former Big Six editor, Ruth Harris.
2 http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/ – Books and Such is a Literary Management Agency. They sell books to a wide range of publishers in such categories as women’s fiction, general fiction, nonfiction, gift books, easy readers, and chapter books.
3 http://goinswriter.com/ – Jeff Goins started his blog in 2010, with a few burning questions in mind: How do successful writers make a living? What does it really take to get published? And, how do you pursue a passion? He shares tips on writing, creativity and making a difference.
4 http://writetodone.com – Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor, believes your writing practice needs to be directed in a positive way. Write to Done helps you learn new skills, practice them and become a better writer.
5 http://jodyhedlund.blogspot.com– Jody posts on her blog every Tuesday. She offers advice, encouragement, and inspiration based on all that she’s learned about writing, publication, and marketing in today’s tough publishing industry.
6 http://janefriedman.com/blog/ – Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, specializes in educating writers about the publishing industry—from all perspectives, without hype or bias—to help them make the best long-term decisions for their careers. The Alliance of Independent Authors has awarded her a “Top Website for Self-Publishers”
7 http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com – K.M. Weiland mentors authors through her blog. Her blog is one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writers.
8 http://www.trainingauthors.com – Shelley and Heather of Training Authors have a goal to help authors achieve book marketing success. Their site is full of resources and free downloads.
9 http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com – David Gaughran focuses on how to get visible and sell more books. He has written several books on these topics and shares tons of info about self-publishing.
10 http://www.rachellegardner.com – Rachelle is a Literary Agent for Books and Such. She started her blog as a way to create a community of writers both published and seeking publication.
11 http://buildbookbuzz.com/blog/ – Sandra Beckwith has more than 25 years of experience as a publicist. She shares tips and writes on currently relevant topics for authors. Build Book Buzz was awarded a “Top Website for Self-Publishers” by The Alliance of Independent Authors.
12 http://www.sellingbooks.com – Cathy Stucker shares useful tips and techniques for writing, publishing and selling books. She has free downloads available to help authors build their platform.
13 http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/category/blog/ – Offers review and editing services. You can become a member for additional perks and discounts.
14 http://selfpublishingteam.com – Toni and Shannon, the self-publishing team are passionate about helping indie authors publish their work and build dedicated fan bases.
15 http://catherineryanhoward.com/ – Catherine writes from Ireland and talks a lot about self-publishing. Her posts are fun and informative.
16 http://blog.writingspirit.com/– Julie Isaac, the founder of has provided tools, solutions, and support to thousands of writers since 2003.
17 http://marketingchristianbooks.wordpress.com/ – If you’ve written a Christian book, Sarah Bolme offers guidance on marketing within that market.
18 http://socialmediajustforwriters.com/ – Frances Caballo shares tips and suggestions for using social media to your advantage to market your work.
19 http://louisem.com/– Louise Myers talks all about the power of social media graphics, and offers tips on how you can make your presence more visually appealing.
20 http://writerunboxed.com/ – Writer Unboxed has articles from a ton of contributors that all offer advice and food for thought on the craft and business of writing fiction.
21 http://www.hughhowey.com/ – An author himself, Hugh doesn’t just use his site to promote his own work, he uses it to help other authors as well.
22 http://www.thecreativepenn.com/blog/ – The Creative Penn is packed with information and resources. The best way to navigate through it all is to click on the “Start here!” link.
23 http://www.thebookdesigner.com – Joel Friedlander aka The Book Designer has countless articles (organized into easy to navigate topics) on his site that help self-published authors with every thing you need to know, and do.
24 http://booklife.com/ – Publishers Weekly’s new site dedicated to indie authors, is in Beta mode. They have how-to stories and author profiles, and you can take one of their publishing self-evaluations.
25 http://www.norulesjustwrite.com/blog/ -CJ Lyons is a pediatric ER doctor turned NY Times bestselling author. He uses experiences and offers wonderful resources for the self-published author.
26 http://jakonrath.blogspot.com– JA Konrath is an author who blogs a lot about current events in publishing and on topics that authors should familiarize themselves with.
27 https://selfpublishingpodcast.com – Johnny, Sean and Dave will speak to you. Literally. Interactive and helpful advice.
28 http://www.lindsayburoker.com – A Fantasy author herself, Lindsay doesn’t just promote her own work on her website. She also promotes other authors AND writes blog posts with helpful advice on self-publishing.
29 http://www.thefutureofink.com – The Future of Ink has a lot of content directed at helping authors navigate their marketing choices. Denise Wakeman and Ellen Britt have pulled together a huge list of experts and great articles. Don’t miss this one!
30 http://indiereader.com – Everything about indie authors, books and the independent book scene all in one spot.
5 Tools Every Indie Author Should Use
By: Frances Caballo
When I first started using social media, confusion quickly set it.
I read a lot of blog posts and tried every application I learned about. I signed up for more than I needed and registered for apps before they were even available. Some that come to mind are Strawberry Jam and BrandBuilder and its precursor, none of which exist today. I tried out SocialBro, and it doesn’t exist today either.
In fact, sometimes I write about apps, and six months later, well, they’re kaput! It’s an embarrassing at times and can get frustrating.
There are some applications that I know aren’t going to abandon me, and so today I am taking the risk of suggesting that there are five tools that indie authors can’t be without.
Ready to see which ones they are?
5 Must-Have Tools for Indie Authors
Social Media Dashboards
If you’re going to use social media and you want to be efficient, you need to start using a social media dashboard. There’s no way you can post to Twitter three to five times daily – or more often – unless you use a social media dashboard. Otherwise, you will be glued to your seat with your eyes on your social media accounts instead of writing your books.
Here are four dashboards that I recommend.
Buffer is another popular choice. You can use Buffer for free. If you’d like to schedule images to Pinterest, you’ll need the Awesome plan, which is $102/year. What’s fun about Buffer is its integration with other social media applications, such as its curation app, Daily. Buffer is one of the easiest scheduling programs available.
People new to social media tend to start with the free version of Hootsuite. It’s easy to set up and will allow you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups, Twitter, your Google+ page, and Instagram. You can set up your feeds and use Hootsuite to keep in touch with your friends, fans, and followers by aggregating your social media news feeds on this application. What this means is that you can navigate to Hootsuite to see all of your friends’ and followers’ posts in one place. The paid version provides analytics.
With this free Twitter application, you don’t have to be on the Internet to check your account. Once you download it to your desktop, you can check your Twitter account and respond to Mentions, Direct Messages, and Retweets as they arrive. It’s an easy tool to set up and use, but it allows scheduling only to Twitter.
An application designed just for Facebook, PostPlanner enables you to schedule your status updates. This application will show you the newest content trending in your niche, help you target your readers, and provide you with real-time analytics. It also has a cache of thousands of updates that you can select from on those days when you absolutely can’t think of anything to say. Depending on the payment plan you choose, you can post images to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Book Sharing Application
The best book sharing application and the one that I use is BookFunnel. You would use BookFunnel whenever you offer a free book or free chapters as a giveaway to your email subscribers.
Or you can use BookFunnel when contacting your launch team and providing a free link to your newest book.
BookFunnel costs just $20/year. It’s best if you convert your book to a Mobi, epub, and PDF. You can use Google Docs to create your epub, but you’ll need to use Draft2Digital or hire an ebook professional to convert your Word doc to a Mobi.
Maintain an Email List
The email list provider that I rely on is MailChimp. MailChimp provides a free plan to start. Once you accumulate 2,000 subscribers, you’ll need to convert to a paid plan.
[clickToTweet tweet=”All indie authors should maintain an email list via @CaballoFrances” quote=”All indie authors should maintain an email list”]
To learn how to use MailChimp, read this post I wrote last week, How to Get Going with MailChimp and Email Marketing.
MailChimp is a popular plan among email marketers and provides email-based tech support once you convert your plan to a paid plan.
Unfollow those Twitter Unfollowers
Once you start following users on Twitter, you’ll quickly realize that not everyone will want to follow you back. You need to use an app to flush out the “unfollowers” as well as the spam, bot, and fraud accounts. Here are some apps that can help you with these tasks.
Use this application to find new followers, unfollow spam accounts and bots you hadn’t suspected, and unfollow those users who simply aren’t following you back. You can also use this application to send a tweet at the times of the day when ManageFlitter determines most of your followers will be online. You can also whitelist individuals users so that you never accidentally unfollow them. Also, you can whitelist entire lists you create.
Tweepi will let you unfollow as many people as you’d like. Use Tweepi to follow someone else’s followers, find followers by interest or name, unfollow spammers, clean up inactive lists, and force unwanted followers to unfollow you.
What would social media be like without images? To support your giveaways online and to share quotes from your books, you’ll need an image application. Here are two that I suggest.
Canva is a free application. Sign up with an email and password, and select the correct templates or banner images, headers, posts, blog images, Tumblr images, etc. Canva’s templates will already have the dimensions, so there’s no need to memorize them or look them up.
On Canva, you can select a template, search for appropriate images, upload the covers of your books, add the perfect background color to match your brand, and find your favorite font. There are numerous free templates on this website, and Canva is amazingly easy to use. You can even make your book cover for free.
To learn more about Canva, check out its free tutorials.
With PicMonkey, you can edit a picture, touch up an image, create a design, and create a collage of visuals. PicMonkey now has templates, which you’ll find at https://www.picmonkey.com/#templates. Similar to Canva, you can make a selection from PicMonkey’s list of fonts. The fee for PicMonkey is $35/year.
If you use an application such as Canva or PicMonkey to create images for your blog, you’ll soon see the load time for your blog posts slow to a crawl.
The problem is that images created with these apps are notoriously large. With either TinyPng or Compressor, you can reduce the bytes in your visuals without tampering with the dimensions. So whenever you use Canva or PicMonkey, don’t forget to use TinyPng or Compressor before adding those visuals to your next blog post.