The internet is swarming with writing and publishing blogs. Which ones are worth reading?
I dip into lots of blogs, and get inspiring and useful insights every day, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with the list of my 50 favourites! So I had a little think and came up with this Sampler of just four blogs, to help you get started on the self-publishing path.
1. Joanna Penn, www.theCreativePenn.com
Joanna Penn is an Englishwoman who lived in Australia for a while, and that’s where I attended one of her workshops on social media in 2011. (If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, jump at it.)
- Successful self-publisher of both fiction (novels) and non-fiction, who has learned on-the-job. She started self-publishing before ebooks and print-on-demand revolutionised the industry, so she has a useful before-and-after perspective.
- As JF Penn, she has sold 55,000 copies of her thrillers in a couple of years. Lots of traditionally published authors can only dream of that many sales. She publishes non-fiction as Joanna Penn.
- Her success is meaningful for the rest of us, because it has been achieved by working hard and smart over a period of time, analysing and adjusting and working some more. It’s NOT one of those cases where someone sells a million copies because of freakish coincidences. Her success is repeatable by ordinary mortals.
- She is courageously and generously transparent about the ups and downs of the writing and publishing life. She even shares her sales figures.
Things to look for on this blog:
- My favourites are Joanna’s articles on book marketing, where she draws on her own experience and the experiences of other indie authors. As a start, you might like to try this one: Help, my book isn’t selling.
- Extensive use of video and podcasts, for those who’d rather watch or listen than read, and tips for how to start using those technologies yourself.
- Masses of free resources, as well as some great online (paid) courses, if you want to go a bit deeper on certain topics. Wisely, she even has a “Start Here” page to help you find your way through the hundreds of articles on the blog.
2. Molly Greene, www.molly-greene.com
Molly Greene is a writer from Southern California, who has become a friend and encourager since we met on Twitter! She began blogging and publishing later than Joanna Penn, and therefore is dealing with a different set of challenges as the industry evolves. Her blog gives the sense of walking alongside fellow Learners, and the tone is warm and approachable.
- Professional marketing writer turned blogger and novelist, so she’s a capable writer and a savvy thinker.
- Self-published author of both women’s fiction (Mark of the Loon) and the Blog It! guide to blogging.
- One of the most natural and genuine Twitter operators I have seen. She has 25,000+ followers but somehow engages with them more than many other tweeters with large followings manage to do.
Things to look for on this blog:
- Describes problems she has encountered in both blogging and publishing, and shares the solutions she’s discovered — in non-techy and friendly ways. She will interact with your comments and not make you feel silly. Try this post on how to increase blog traffic and gain subscribers.
- Her Twitter advice is always worth listening to, such as this post on how to build a Twitter following.
- She hunts out useful guest posts from experts in such things as copyright law, and other self-publishers who have tried new techniques or social platforms or marketing methods.
- Posts appear weekly, so it’s not a deluge in your Inbox if you subscribe, and pretty much every single post has something useful in it.
3. Joel Friedlander, www.thebookdesigner.com
Joel Friedlander is another American blogger, writing from decades of experience in printing, graphic design, typography and book publishing. He takes extensive knowledge from the “engine room” of old-style publishing, and applies it to the self-publishing process to help authors create something that looks professional — an important part of catching the eye of potential readers.
- A long career in printing, typesetting, design and the traditional publishing process.
- An ability to translate these principles into formats and methods that writers can use for themselves.
- Regular speaker at writing and publishing conferences.
Things to look for on this blog:
- The monthly eBook Cover Design Awards are inspiring when it comes to designing your own covers — I’m always checking them out.
- The monthly Carnival of the Indies gathers up top recent blog posts on a variety of self-publishing topics from around the web. If you have limited time, checking into this carnival once a month is a good place to start.
- Articles on marketing and algorithms and various technical aspects of self-publishing.
- Templates to help you produce a good-looking print book using Word.
4. Michael Hyatt, michaelhyatt.com
Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest Christian publishers in the world. He has been a literary agent in the past, and is now an author and speaker. While he mostly inhabits the traditional publishing space, he has done some self-publishing of his own, and lots of his ideas also transfer well to self-publishing. His articles often have a Christian flavour, but still have plenty of good advice for non-religious writers.
- A long career in trade publishing at high levels of leadership.
- A friendly, easy-to-read writing style.
- He has more than 300,000 subscribers, which boggles the mind, but also means his tips on how to develop a platform are well worth listening to.
- A geeky guy who likes to share his new discoveries about how technology is helping him do his job.
Things to look for on this blog
- Click the “Platform” button near the top of the page to get posts about blogging for authors, using social media, and a whole range of other tools for boosting your author platform. The advice is often targeted at non-fiction authors, but you can also adapt it to your own needs if you are writing fiction. He is funnelling people towards his Platform University site which has paid membership, but is also generous with free advice.
- Click the “Publishing” button to get a range of articles relevant to writers who are either traditionally published or self-published.
- His About page has a list of popular posts in his different topic areas, which is another good place to dip into first.
So that’s my Sampler of four blogs to get you started in self-publishing. They are all very different people, and very different blogs, but that’s half the fun! If I didn’t mention your blog, fear not, I still love you. Another time! 😉
It was very hard limiting this Sampler to just four, but I hope these will give you a useful cross-section of information, if you are just embarking on the self-publishing journey.
Also don’t forget you are welcome to check out my free ebook Should I Self-Publish? for more practical tips on investigating your self-publishing options.
Tell us which blogs you love, and why. Help other writers. I love to read your comments!