Author Resources for Writing, Design, Layout, Publishing and Marketing Your Book

Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Some of my favorite writing and publishing resources, all available on
  • Author Quick Guide to Making Your Book a Best Seller by Kristen Eckstein
    Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success), by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant 
  • 61 Ways to Sell More Non-Fiction Kindle Books, by Steve Scott 
  • Kindle Publishing Package: How to Discover Best-Selling eBook Ideas + How to Write a Nonfiction eBook in 21 Days + 61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books by Steve Scott 
  • How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn 
  • How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon's Kindle-An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook 2015 Editon, Martin Crosbie
  • Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl 
Making Your Book
These two free books by Amazon on formatting your Kindle book are excellent and in my opinion are all you really need. The secret is to follow their instructions exactly. The only real difference between the PC on and the Mac one is on how to build a table of contents.


Book Covers
There are lots of places to get your book cover made, here are some popular resources in order of costs
•, Canva has some really cool pre-made templates that you can customize

•, probably the cheapest, you will need to dig around some but very popular

•, a little more money but you can get a really cool from their pool of designers

• Making 3D covers for marketing and promotion

Book Insides
You can also connect with and for interior designs, along with finding a local freelance designer or also do the book yourself. For a Kindle it isn't that hard to do, paperback is a little more work and you might need help.

• If you want to format your Kindle book yourself you can check my course Easy Kindle Book. I take you from initial formatting all the way through to hitting the publish button. Includes formatting, table of contents, working with images, making your cover, uploading to Kindle and hitting the publishing button.

Stock Photos

Stock photos, Clip Art Sites
• yearly fee, almost unlimited uses, unlimited downloads

Use the rights free ones
Google and Wikipedia

Online Free Photos, this site is fill with royalty free photos, vectors and art illustrations that you can use for all kinds of things., Free High-Resolution photos, all of the photos are copyright free under the Creative Commons Zero license. Pretty cool images, a very cool site with commercial, non commercial, public domain photos of all kinds,

Royalty Free Maps
Editable Adobe Illustrator and PowerPoint Maps for Illustrations, Presentations, Graphic Design, Web, and Education
World of Maps, •

Online Photo Editing
•  jpg
•  jpg
•  jpg and tif
• jpg
• PicMonkey jpg

Vector Graphics
Artboard Drawing Softward, alternative to Adobe Illustrator

Image Converter
Sometimes you need to convert files from jpg to png or to something else or you need to change the dpi but you don't have Photoshop. is a pretty good place to go. They can also do a lot of other conversions.

Design and Layout
My go to program for all book design and layouts is Adobe Indesign. It is a big, powerful program that is the leader in graphic design. Maybe to much for just one book, but if you are designing and producing many books this is the program. Also goes with PhotoShop and Illustrator. You can rent it monthly.

Don't want to go that far try PowerPoint. Upp, this works also and almost everyone has it. Great for children's books and journals. I call this the poor man's graphic design program. It is powerful and saves in jpg and pdf.

Online, Canva online graphic design templates, beautiful designs, free and very small pay options. Tons of templates and ideas for everything online. They also have a great Kindle cover template

Relay, like Canva, this is also an on design program for everything social media wise. Upload the graphics and you get tons of customizable options to choose from.

Book Categories
When you select a category for your book you use what is called the BISAC subject categories. It categorizes where the books go in Amazon. The BISAC codes loosely apply to the Amazon categories but not quite. It is all kind of mysterious in the background as to how and where a book ends up. To learn more about the BISAC codes you check out this link.

Jane Friedman from Jane has some excellent Publishing Checklists on her website, great for planning out your book
The Self-Publishing Checklist: Editorial, Production, and Distribution

Along with some other articles on marketing and publishing for writers
Marketing and Publishing Checklist for Writers


e-Books, breaks down to two areas, Mobi for Kindle, and epub for everyone else
  • Kindle Publishing, is the biggest and where you should start first with your e-book publishing
  • Kobo
  • Smashwords
  • Draft2Digital 
  • Apple iBooks

Physical Book with Print-on-Demand Publishing
  • Free to use and allows you sell your books on Amazon, Amazon’s Print on Demand site for books, DVD, CDs, Video download, I have 4 books on this service, it works great
  •, great for photo books, cool online software, Bookwrite
  •, lots of options for sizes, and binding, relationship with Amazon
  •, distributes books to many ebook and print outlets
  • Books-A-Million D.I.Y with BAM! Publishing, write, publish, print and distribute in print or ebook
  • The Bookstore Route. If selling in bookstores is part of your marketing and distribution plan then you need to go in a little different path. I am a huge fan of and their print on demand model. It works great. But if you want to be in bookstores not so much, Createspace doesn't really distribute to brick and mortar stores. An alternative is to use a service like Ingram is the worlds largest book distributor with over 39,000 outlets and retail stores. They also have a print-on-demand side called Similar to CreateSpace but they also give you access to their bookstore catalog and stores worldwide. They are a little more money and a little more effort but this is the direction to head if you want to sell in stores. If you are thinking of being a publisher this is the direction. I recently interviewed Robin Cutler on how they work and you can check that out in this video.

PDF Digital Publishing Platforms
  •, a PDF publishing site, kind of like YouTube for pdf files
  • online publishing, magazines, heavy into fashion and style

How to Self-Publish
Here is an excellent article by Jane Friedman on How to Self Publish Your Book, covers all the basics, and some excellent resources on publishing

Comic Books
Digital printing for comic books Ka-Blam Digital Printing

Audio Recording
You can publish your book in print, but you can also publish your book as an audio book. If you are going to distribute your book on Amazon then you are probably going to sell through To submit your book to Audible you will need to go through another company called ACX manages the process of recording your book and moving it over to Amazon for sale.

But you don't have to do this if you want to just record your book and sell it on your website or turn it into a pod cast on iTunes. To record your book you can use a $100 microphone like the Blue Yeti and a free software like Audacity. It is a little more complicated than this but it is actually pretty simple. You can also record your book as a series of videos and host them on YouTube and your website. A teleprompter can be very useful if you are going to record your book as a series of videos. There are a number of free ones that work pretty well. I recently use EasyPrompter to record a series of book videos. CuePrompter is also pretty good.

Blue Yeti USB microphone

Video on Using Audible 

Marketing Checklist

Some excellent articles on launching your book

I also include my own book in the mix. Book Marketing Checklist for Self-Publishing. I put in all the things I have learned from creating and selling over 40 books. Available at

Tim Grahl's Book Marketing Checklist
Book Marketing Plan, The Definitive Checklist

An excellent set of marketing books for publishing from Tim Grahl

Rob Cubbon, Kindle Launch Schedule of an Amazon Bestseller, excellent article on building your Street Team and launching your book

Side Hustle Nation, Nick Lober, Here's Everything I Did to Launch a Bestselling Book

Launching with out Social Media, Sandra Beckwith and Daniel Hall
How to Promote Your Book Without Using Social Media

Build Book Buzz with Sandra Beckwith, excellent book marketing tips

Virtual Book Tours 
Putting together a virtual book tour for your launch can be a great way to gain exposure. Setting up interviews, writing articles, and doing videos that will appear on different blogs, podcasts and social media are all very doable. You need to start working on building these relationships weeks if not several months before your book book launched. You can't just contact people and ask them to talk about your stuff, you need to build relationship.  For more details I talk about entire strategy for getting in-front of influencers in my How to Market Your Book course

One resource to get started is to get yourself listed at sites like and Interview Guests which are a sites for either finding good guest to interview around your topic or listing yourself as a good guest to be interviewed around your subject.

Press Releases

• Getting interviews is a great way to let the world know about your book, check out for a ton of places to connect with

To see a great example check out the media page that Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner did for his book launch

An excellent article by Michael Hyatt on How to Launch a Best Selling Book

Building and author website, all the parts by Tim Grahl
How to build the ultimate author website in 1 hour

Media Page for Your Book
Every book should have a media page on your book blog or website. This is central place for everything about your book. Contained here should be:
• Author name, about the author and description
• Book name and description, different lengths, short, medium and long
• Who this book is for
• Include a sample chapter in pdf and word-.doc format
• Pull out some key facts from your book or good opening paragraph from the book
• Images of the book that people can download, include captions, author etc. with each image
• Videos about the book that people can embed
• Press Release
• Press mentions
• Quotes and testimonials about the book
• All the contact info for the author and where to buy the book

Building your author email list

Free eBook Promo Sites
There are zillions of free ebook sites that you can share your Kindle/ebook out to the world through for promotion. Books are submitted and shared. For many authors this is part of their launch and promotion process. It is an ever changing group of sites, they come up and then go down, don't be surprised if they disappear. There are also sites that you can pay to spread your book.

Here is a pretty good one of 90 plus sites from

Piracy, Someone put my book on line, what do I do?

Here is an excellent article by Tim Grahl on ebook piracy and book marketing. This article will change your views on this.
Tim also recommends that you can get infront of this by putting your own books up on the piracy sights, take command,

Writing and Publishing Resources

Jane Friedman's Blog for writers and publishers
Pat Flynn and the Smart Passive Income Blog

Michael Hyatt, Your Virtual Mentor
Joan Stewart The Publicity Hound, Excellent practical advice on how to promote and market yourself and your products, excellent e-newsletter,

On-Line Sites to Sell Your Content

It is so easy to sell your content on line, make stuff and start selling, one of my favorite sites for selling content. Kind of like an electronic bucket. Load up your content, pdf, mov video, zip files. mp4, mp3 any kind of file or combo of files. Plus coupons, affiliates, pdf stamping and much more Teachable lets you build an entire school with courses. I use this site for my Book Publishing School. It is affordable and gives you the next step up when your products have more parts than are comfortable on Gumroad. I use both sites and like them both.

• PayHip, it is like a British version of Gumroad. Many of the same features, different files, coupons, affiliates, pdf stamping

Re-Purposing Your Content
Take your content and make a workbook from it. Make a course. Make t-shirts, cups and pillows.
Record your content and make an audio book, or podcast
Read your book into a video camera and use it for promotion and education

People or Sites to Follow

Pat Flynn and the Smart Passive Income Blog

Michael Hyatt, Your Virtual Mentor
Steve Scott
Joan Stewart 

Courses and Sites with Publishing Training
Author Marketing Club with Bryan Cohen, member site with a lot of book marketing training courses
7 Steps to Publishing Your Book, by Bruce Jones. Online training course taking from writing to design, publishing and marketing of your book. (this is my course-shameless plug)

Online Learning for Writers, Writers Digest University, learn from a variety of current and successful writers, part of the Online Writers Workshop.

Learn how to make children's pictures books and sell them on the Amazon Kindle. Using popular software that we probably already have on our computers and the Kindle Kid Creator app from Kindle it is pretty easy. Learn how with the online course, How to Make Children's Picture Books for Kindle, by Bruce Jones

Online Broadcasting
Google Hangout, is great for running an online live webinar or broadcast. They get recorded on YouTube and have a lot of features to connect with your audience. To learn how watch this video by Ronnie Bincer, it is outstanding. Google Hangout is going through lots of changes. It is still pretty cool but there are now some nice alternatives.

Two broadcasting tools now for your smart phone, Facebook Live Video which you can broadcast to your pages and groups. Get involved in Facebook Live. And Periscope which is an app you can download and share out over Twitter [now part of Twitter Live]. Both work very well and are great ways to share content and yourself with your fans. Both of these platforms are evolving and growing in popularity. To access Facebook Video look for the camera icon in your Messenger area and Periscope is in the app store.

This is a constantly changing area with new stuff every day. Keep your eyes on Facebook and YouTube, the two major players.

My Big List of Resources
Over the years I have compiled quite a list of resources that I use for researching, producing, publishing, distributing and marketing my print, web and video projects. I thought it might be fun to let you see it and it might help you in your projects.

This list is a work in progress and will change over time as I add or subtract resources. Love to hear about your resources, send them over.

Product Research
Research/Keyword Resources for Web Sites and Products
Google, Blogs, YouTube,
Google Keyword Tool/external, phrase match
• WordTracker
• Word Tracker Questions

Web Traffic Research
• Quantcast

Google has many fantastic tools to use for learning about and keeping track of your market area, competition or products
• Gmail, search on gmail, signup, Start here I opens you to the Google world
• Google Alerts
• Google Analytics
• Blogger, an easy place to start with your web presence
• Google Trends
• Google Images  make sure your images are here, great place for research
• Google Places, making sure your business is found, list it here
• Google Adsense, make a little money along the way
• Google Keyword Tool/external, find your keywords, learn what new keywords you should be using and paying attention to, because of recent changes I like the phrase match option now.
• Learning the process via Ed Dale, the four pillars, Research, Traffic, Conversion, Product

Product Creation
How to Write a Book Using a Blog
• Pat Flynn
Pat’s ebook is the best I have seen on how to pull a book, ebook or regular book, together using a blog.

Print/Web Site/Product Creation
Print and publishing is in constant change right now. Sometimes we are designing and printing on paper with ink, other times we are designing and publishing to the web, and often we are doing both. Either way most of the resources below are working with both.

Design and Layout
• Adobe Indesign
• Adobe Photoshop
• Adobe Illustrator
• QuarkExpress
• Apple Pages
• Microsoft Publisher
• Microsoft Word
• Apple Pages

Tools for Making Kindle Books
• Kindle Kid Creator, turns pdfs into Kindle books, fantastic app from Amazon

Watch this video for a case study, NOTE Kindle no longer accepts coloring books but it is great for any other kind of picture book or heavily designed layout.

Stock Photos, Clip Art Sites
• yearly fee, almost unlimited uses, unlimited downloads

Use the rights free ones
Google and Wikipedia

Royalty Free Maps
Editable Adobe Illustrator and PowerPoint Maps for Illustrations, Presentations, Graphic Design, Web, and Education
• World of Maps, Adobe Illustrator, PowerPoint, JPG,
• Maps for Design, editable PowerPoint Maps

Copyright Free Images You Can Use on Your Website,
Creative Commons 0, CC0

• Pixabay, over 600,000 photos,

Photoshop: Resizing and Resampling Images,
The entire resizing, 300 to 72 dpi, and resampling of an image can be super confusing. This video does a pretty good job of explaining all this

Online Photo Editing
• Google Photo Editor
• Online-Converter
• Working with collages, posters, social media graphics and photo cards, check out a free photo collage site. Lots of templates to choose from.

Signature Generator
This is just kind of cool, sometimes you need signature for a recommendation on your site or somewhere. Here is one that does a great job,

Print on Demand Sites
• CreateSpace, an Amazon company, gets your book into the system, excellent quality
•, one of the major players, lots of options, excellent quality
•, used by a lot of artists and photographers for excellent quality with images

National Printing Services

Make a Physical Product Around Your Subject, t-Shirt, Mug, Bag, etc.
Zazzle Products

Web Books
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition, by Steve Krug. Excellent book for figuring out if your website is working. Short and to the point, personally recommend.

Web Sites for Ideas

Google Images, I use Google Images all the time for ideas,

Video Creation
Equipment for making actual videos
Simple Video Cameras
FlipHD, Flip Mino,
Kodak Zi8
Kodak PlayTouch Camera
Cannon SD780
Little higher end
Panasonic DVX 100

There are a ton of options for microphones.  Sennheiser makes great professional microphones, they aren’t cheap but will give you a great sound. Want more affordable take a look at Audio Technica. Make sure your microphone will work with your camera. Check the connectors
Sennheiser MKE 400, small shotgun microphone
Sennheiser ME66 short shotgun microphone
Sennheiser also has great wireless mikes as well
For a more affordable microphones check out Audio Technica
Audio Technica ART-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser microphones
Audio Technica ART-55 Condenser Shotgun Microphone

B & H Photo Video are very helpful if you call with guiding you to the best option. Amazon is also a great place to look but there is no personal service. Pricing is often about the same.

Editing Software
Apple iMovie
Movie Maker
Sony Vegas
YouTube  You can edit clips right in YouTube now

B&H Photo Video

Stock Video Footage,,
Corbis Images
Getty Images

Stock Music

Screen Capture Videos
Making video right from your computer with no camera

Computer based screen capture
ScreenFlow, a Mac based program that captures the computer screen and the video that comes from the iSight video camera. Screenflow is a game changer in terms of a simple program that allows you to record and edit how-to-videos from your computer almost easier than anything else on the market. The editing is very straight forward line editing but with the added feature that you can zoom in and around to highlight areas, add text, additional media including more screen sharing into the current project. What is really cool is that each track of video is independent and can be customized however you want. All of those how-to-videos you see with a shot of the person in them have been produced with Screenflow. I personally have done hundreds of videos with it, it is an amazing product and only $99. If you are producing how to videos or recording a broadcast and have a Mac or better yet go buy a Mac, this is the product to use.
• Camtasia Studio, Windows and Camtasia for Mac, captures the screen but not the video camera

Web based screen capture
• Jing

Dragon Stop Motion
Stop Motion Pro  The basic version begins at $70, but more sophisticated editions, which offer higher definition and the ability to connect with high quality digital S.L.R. cameras, can cost up to $295.

Other programs from free to hundreds of dollars
AnimatorDV and Animator HD
iStopMotion, Mac Based program
iKITMovie, includes a version with over 2,200 sound, good for school kids,

Online Resources for Video/Video Marketing
Will Video for Food, Kevin Nalty
Web Video University  with Dave Kminski

Online Video Tutorials and Training
• Web Video University  with Dave Kminski
•, one of the longtime standards for online training for all kinds of software,
• DovS-Simens’ & Hollywood Film Institute’s Web Film School
• Video, video production training videos, this is a paid member site but is a great place to learn,

Product Tutorials
iMovie 11, learn from Apple’s site
Final Cut Express, learn from Apple’s site,
Final Cut Pro, learn from Apple’s site,
Final Cut Studio, learn from Apple’s site,
Microsoft Windows MovieMaker

Actual Live Video Courses
Bill Gentile
Maine Media Workshops, video and photography courses

Books on Producing Video
• Web Video: Making It Great, Getting It Noticed by Jennie Bourne and Dave Burstein, Excellent book on producing video, how to, tips, equipment. Personally recommend (amazon affiliate link)
• Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business by Steve Garfield and David Meerman Scott (amazon affiliate link)
• You Made Your Video-Now What? 10 Essential Tips for Marketing Your Video, by Bruce Jones, download our book, just sign up over on the right.

I have had great luck with the Dummies Books on pretty much any subject, available at

Product Publishing/Distribution

Publish a Book Using Print on Demand
Print on Demand site for books, DVD, CDs, gets you in the Amazon system
Scribd pdf publishing site Largest book distributor in the world, prints using print-on-demand

Video Distribution/Sharing Sites
Amazon S3 video distribution

Livestreaming Video on the Web
Broadcasting our messages using video has change dramatically in the last couple of years. Using web cams built into our PCs or small video cameras we can now create, broadcast, distribute and record for later our video content all in one unified step and send it out to the global community. Plus once we have broadcast our message, our content is stored and displayed for anyone to view whenever they want, basically for free.
Personal Broadcasting Channel, live streaming
Livestream your events,

Web Based TV
The Pulse Network

Getting Your Video Found in the Search Engines
Download a free copy of You Made Your Video, NOW WHAT? Book on Essential tips for getting your YouTube videos found in search

Product Marketing
To Keep Up and Learn about Social Media
Chris Brogan, writes on all things social media, running a small business,

Email Marketing Management
Constant Contact
PR Resource, Great PR tips
Subscribe to Joan Stewart’s weekly newsletter
Web/Blogging/Social Media

Hostgator, Web hosting

Domain Registor

Blog Platforms
Wordpress, or

Post it once, send to multiple blogs, facebook, twitter etc, sites

Single Subject Posting Sites
Squidoo Pages

Photo Sharing Sites
Picassa, Google site

Social Media
Linkedin for professional contacts

Books on Social Media
• Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, a great short, right to the point read on building your own personal brand using social media. Personally recommend (amazon affiliate link)
• Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online by Chris Brogan (amazon affiliate link)
• Trust Agent by Chris Brogan (amazon affiliate link) • Social Media Bible by Lon Safko (amazon affiliate link)
• Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott. These are the HubSpot guys (amazon affiliate link)
Social Media Web Sites

Online Freelancing and Outsourcing
• RentaCoder

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links to products that will earn me a commission. I am recommending these products because they are helpful. I have also used most of them on a regular basis over the years and are worthy of making this list.

Societies and Organizations
Independent Publishers of New England IPNE

Comic Books
National Cartoonist Society NCS
Comic Art Professional Society CAPS


  1. This is a VERY comprehensive list! Thanks, Bruce!

  2. This is very informative! Thank you!

  3. Deb's right: it's a very comprehensive list - a real asset for writers, Bruce!

    Might I offer another option that might fall under 'Design and Layout'? I'm on the team that behind the Reedsy Book Editor, which is a sleek online tool for writing that automatically formats your work into book. We've been getting some pretty great feedback from it, and it might be something your readers will want to know about ;)

    Keep up the great work, Bruce!

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