Resources for Writers

Some helpful books, blogs and other tools we recommend.

These are tools we use and have found helpful for new writers. Alas, we don’t have time to vet new companies to add to the list, so please don’t ask us to do that. This list is simply a helpful, free offering to our readers–as is all the content of this blog. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to offer any more free services than we already offer with this blog. We need to spend some of our time writing books so we don’t starve–and we also need to sleep and see our families and go outside and breathe like other earth creatures. Thanks.

Recommended Books

Social Media

For Self-Publishers

General Interest Writing Guides

Recommended Blogs

Great blogs for Writers

Blog Archives that provide a whole course in publishing

For Agent-Hunters

Super-Helpful Blog Posts for Self-Publishers

Contests and Paying Markets for Writers

Contest Listings and Calls for Submissions

Watchdogs, Communities and Helpful Groups

Technical Resources for Writers

Tech Support and Wizardry

  • Bakerview Consulting: Author-specific Web design, social media classes, blogging help, and general day-saving.
  • Tech Surgeons: Web Hosting for authors and other technical expertise.
  • Blasty. They will remove illegal copies of your books from the Web.  A necessity in today’s age of piracy.

Self-Publishing E-book Distributors

  • Smashwords. The oldest ebook distributor of self-published titles.
  • Draft2Digital. Similar to Smashwords, but easier to use. They distribute to some sites SW doesn’t and vice versa. You also pay them a percentage of your sales
  • BookBaby. You pay for a publishing package upfront, but they don’t take a percentage.
  • eBookPartnership. eBook conversion specialists since 2010.
  • StreetLib. A new self publishing and distribution company I have heard great things about.
  • Lulu—Like BB they provide ebooks and paper books.

Self-Publishing Print Companies and Distributors

  • CreateSpace—owned by Amazon
  • IngramSpark—owned by biggest book distributor in the US, Ingram
  • BookBaby—They do both print and ebooks
  • Lulu—They prefer to sell in their own store, but they do distribute to Amazon and B&N.

Self-Publishing Resources

  • Alchemy Book Covers. Keri Knudson designs brilliant, original covers at reasonable prices. She’s the artist who designed most of my covers, including my favorites: Lady of the Lakewood Diner, No Place Like Home, and So Much for Buckingham.
  • Reedsy is a website with lists of vetted editors, designers, formatters and other professionals to build your team.
  • Editorial Freelancers Association lists prices for editing services.
  • Ebook Launch–Inexpensive ebook and POD formatter that’s highly recommended by Smashword’s Mark Coker.
  • Polgarus Studios–Well known and well-respected formatters. (They gave us some very kind help with How to be a Writer in the E-Age.)
  • Writers Boon is a discounted marketplace for writers where editors, designers, course providers, book marketers offer 15% discount and more on their services. It also offers unique and efficient book promo opportunities. Joining Writers Boon and access to all its features is free.
  • Editing. Mehaffy Editing. Kita Mehaffy has both an MA and a MFA. She has edited for me and she’s great!

EBook and POD formatting Programs

  • Calibre is a FREE e-book manager that does e-book file conversion, synchs your devices and manages your library.
  • Reedsy has a new FREE book conversion editor that creates EPUB, PDF and POD (Paper) book templates.
  • Sigil, another FREE download runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. Sigil lets you edit epub files and comes with an on-line manual and user forum. As far as I know, right now there is nothing similar for editing mobi files which is where Calibre comes in. You edit your epub in Sigil, then use Calibre to convert to mobi.
  • Jutoh (Windows, Mac, and Linux) is a moderately-priced app that creates ebooks (including covers) in all the popular file formats.
  • Scrivener comes in PC and Mac versions and is a full word-processing program as well as a method to make epub and mobi files. Ruth Harris says, “Almost infinitely flexible, Scriv is a must-have for many writers including me. The manual is extensive, the video tutorials are excellent and the help forum is outstanding. Keith Blount, Scriv’s developer, often appears to answer questions and his savvy crew is responsive and will walk you through any dilemmas. Like MSWord, Scriv compiles to both epub and mobi and does it fast. 5 stars all the way.
  • Legend Maker for Mac costs about $30 and will turn your manuscript into epub or mobi format. Comes with a user guide, validators and on-line support.
  • Mobipocket Creator converts Word files to .prc files that can be uploaded directly to Kindle.
  • Kindlegen is Amazon’s own FREE downloadable tool for formatting your book into a Kindle-friendly format. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Vellum  Makes ebook formatting easy and elegant plus outstanding support from the developers, the two Brads. Mac only.


  • Dropbox is so ubiquitous and so essential for off-site back up that it’s a must-have. It’s FREE, creates one file in the cloud and another on your desktop as you work. DB also synchs all your devices and works seamlessly with both mobile and desktop apps.
  • Microsoft offers FREE cloud storage called SkyDrive and Apple’s version is called (guess what?) iCloud. Google’s cloud storage, Drive, is also FREE and works on all popular systems.
  • MozyCarbonite, and CrashPlan are remote backup services. All offer a FREE trial and various subscription plans for personal and business back up.


Evernote is a powerful, FREE note keeping app that works on all platforms. Searchable by keyword or tags, includes reminder and web clipping functions, great for keeping research including images, for brainstorming ideas, for parking stuff you’re not yet sure what to do with. Cloud-based, syncs across all your devices.

Nice to Have

Name generators come in handy when you’re stuck for just the right name and offer suggestions appropriate for different periods of history, various ethnicities, celebrity baby names and even literary genres ranging from scifi to steampunk to vampires. Scrivener includes a name generator but there are FREE name generators on line—more here. Some also provide random personality profiles to help you along even more.

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