I published my novel and short story collection on a budget of nothing. I had no capital to invest in covers, interior formatting, or cover copy, but I did it anyway. I am not an authority on the publishing process or industry by any means, but this post includes the resources I used to put my books out. The links go to genuine authorities on publishing with years of experience as professional writers.
I should be clear that when I say low budget, I do not mean low quality. Doing everything yourself will cost time. It took me many iterations and hours of work to do Phoenix Operator‘s cover, as well as getting the typesetting for the print edition right.
General Publishing Industry & Writing advice:
- Robert Bidinotto’s Helpful Links for Authors: includes links to a variety of other authors’ sites, as well as publishing resources.
- Dean Wesley Smith and Kristen Kathryn Rusch’s blogs are on the sidebar. I specifically read Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing (which helped convince me to indie publishing in the first place). Rusch’s massive series, The Business Rusch
- Passive Voice Blog: Links to a ton of industry news and great articles. The comments section is frequented by many successful indie authors as well.
- J.A. Konrath’s Blog: another authority on indie publishing. Excellent commentary on the publishing industry and indie publishing.
Image and Font Resources:
- Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Images
- Fontspace: Many fonts are free for commercial use
- How to make an ebook cover in PowerPoint, by fantasy and SF author William King
I should note some issues I went through in the process.
I found the CreateSpace templates to be a hassle to work with. Paragraphs wouldn’t break between pages, leaving huge gaps in the manuscript. I ended up formatting my Kindle manuscript (thankfully it’s quite simple to format a Word document to work as an ebook) per the template’s settings instead and saved it as a different file. It was very time consuming to do it this way, but I could not afford to pay someone to do it.
The royalties on many Shutterstock images are exorbitant. Since my book is a historical novel, I was able to use an image from the US National Archives. Any work prepared by a US government employee under their official duties is considered public domain. I should note this can get tricky with National Archives material. From what I infer, some of the Vietnam era photos I searched through were taken by journalists and then their photos were later donated to the Archives; however, the copyrights still technically belong to the photographer’s estate or their publication. If anyone knows more about this subject, feel free to correct me.
I will close out with a recommendation to get a friend or family member to proof read for you. There were grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in my drafts in places I would have skipped over from reading my book over too many times.