Alright, you’re new to self-pulblishing and running a business. Have no idea where to start. Well, here’s a giant resource series.

I’m splitting the blog post into two major areas – generic business advice and more self/indie publishing focused.

Before you read this though, realise that I have a general business degree and a marketing degree. I also ran a business for 12 years. I have read a LOT of books, many of whom were just meh to me – because they reiterated what I knew with a nugget of information inside – while others that are good (e.g. Blue Ocean Strategy) are less useful for authors. I built my business scaffolding over two decades, so… if there’s things missing here, sorry. I sometimes can’t see the water I swim in.

That being said, I’d be happy to add to this list. Send me your recommendations.

Business Resources

The E-Myth – for anyone running a business and looking to expand. Mindset template and organisation structure requirements.

Harvard Business Review Book for New Managers – Learning the basics of business, leadership and how to read a financial statement

I want to put a book in here about basic bookkeeping but since I learnt what I did in a more elaborate fashion, I have never read one. I’d love it if people could help. Basically, bookkeeping & cashflow analysis and forecasting would be perfect!

Contracts & Scams

Closing the Deal on Your Terms (Book) – This has more to do with dealbreakers in contracts that crop up. A very good primer on things to watch out for.

Writer’s Beware (blog) – Up to date scams. ALWAYS check here before you do a deal with a publisher. Also, ask around – but check here first!

Writer’s Beware (website) – common schemes & scams. Generic information to read and get used to.


Quick Primer on Copyright – Basics on Copyright in the US. Please note, covers ONLY US copyright law and is very basic.

The Copyright Handboook – What Every Writer Needs to Know – read it. Understand it. Use it.

The Writer was Screwed but Didn’t Have to Be – Very screenwriting / Hollywood focused. Also, I found it very basic. But if you’re just starting out, this can be quite useful as it is an easier read than above, covers some copyright stuff and contract things. Dated so read with care.

Advertising (Generic)

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This – It’s about ads but… guess what? Your cover is an ad. Read this to understand the basics of what a good ad is and the kind of things you need to think about.

The Copywriter’s Handbook – On how to write copy. Like, for your blurbs? 🙂

And you should combine the above copywriting book with one geared towards online copyrwriting. Check around for online sites via google. The above book has some, but I found the online sites (especially those with how-to guides for long, one page copy) better. Sadly, I don’t have those resources bookmarked anymore.

Book Blurbs Unleashed: For writing book blurbs. More a guide and series of recommendations to understand how to write blurbs, with some useful specific tips and examples for use. Overall, pretty decent.

That’ll get you a basic understanding of generic advertising aspects. Not marketing, though a good book on marketing strategy would be useful.

Author Advertising (Specific)

Firstly, I don’t recommend advertising till you have AT LEAST 3 books in a series. I’d prefer 5 and 9 standalone books in general (i.e. not in a series or across multiple series). The reason for that is you aren’t going to get a good ROI until you have at least that number of books.

And yes, you can make money with just 1 book; but the amount of time you are putting into it is huge and the returns on your time invested suck. That doesn’t mean don’t promote it (FB groups, reddit, etc.) but paid advertising is expensive.

Help! My Facebook Ads Suck – Great beginner work. It’s cheap, easy to read and if you have used FB ads before, probably  nothing new. But some interesting tips and great for beginners.

Newsletter Ninja – Quite well written and will get you the basics of how to build out a newsletter list and the automation flow that will help you sell.

Amazon Ads for Indie Authors – AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) advertising book written by the person who ran their AMS division for years. Janet Margot knows what she is doing.

Launch Specifics and Guides

Audiobook How-To Guide for Self Publishers – by Paige Voice. Great basic information for someone getting involved, including costing!

Travis Baldree’s A to Z Self-Publishing Book Launch – the author of Legends & Lattes talks about all the things he did to launch is book as a new self-publisher (before he was picked up by trad pub!). Lots and lots of details here, useful overall guide.

Authors with Business Book Series that I think You Should Read

Successful Indie Author (Craig Martelle) – very basic stuff. If you’re starting out, this is a great series. I particularly got a lot of use from the work on collaborations. Other stuff (like pricing) was less useful, but it does give a good idea of what the status is and how to run your own tests. Generally, worth reading.

The Three-year, No-bestseller Plan For Making a Sustainable Living From Your Fiction (Patty Jansen) – Patty writes and distributes wide. Because of that, her viewpoint is different from someone like Craig. If you’re going wide, it’s worth reading over.

WMG Writer’s Guide Series – most of the content on these books can be found for free on Kristyn Kathryn Rusch’s blog and Dean Wesley Smith’s website.  In generally more complex form. I recommend reading both sites for on-going information but the books and/or backlog is well worth reading to get an older industry professionals viewpoint.

Generic Author Sites & Groups

Kboards – The Writer’s Cafe used to be more useful and busier, but lots of answers to questions, editors, proofers cover artists offering services, etc.

20Booksto50k Group – Probably the best and most informative group. Generally trends towards KU and Audible recommendations, but there are other posts and opinions within too. There are regularly posts with great information. Just temper your expectations when you see successes – sometimes, you won’t be part of those. Also, consider if the recommendations work for you. As they say, there are multiple paths up the mountain. Choose yours and use what you can.

Wide for the Win Facebook Group – If you’re going wide, this is the group to join. So much information, with actual details and people reporting back on results.

6 Figure Authors – More podcast than site, but well worth checking on. Lots of background information.

Kriswrites  –  Kristyn Kathryn Rusch’s Business Blog has been going on for years and has a TON of great information. Understand that she and Dean Wesley Smith have very clear and strong beliefs, Some, I don’t agree with. But, also they are authors who have been writing for over 30 years, full-time. There’s something there.

Chris Fox’s videos on writing

The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn’s writing business resources

The Six Figure Authors Podcast – So much great information in here about hitting that stage.

20booksto50k Youtube – A LOT of information on the business of writing, including recorded seminars. A lot of beginner data and inspirational work.

PublishingPaidMe – Giant list of what trad pub authors get paid that was crowd-sourced.

Alright, that’s my list. Do you have your own? No craft links here. Personally, I think craft stuff is so subjective to an individual’s needs that generic book recommendations might not be that useful.

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