Roundup of Writing and Publishing Resources
Here at Reedsy, we’re fortunate that we get to work with some of the finest talent in the publishing industry — and these experts have shared their experiences and knowledge with us in the form of interviews and how-to guides. In fact, we’ve published articles on so many topics that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
In this post, we want to share some of the best Reedsy articles so far, sorted in a way that mirrors the publishing journey taken by most authors.
To make this information even easier to digest, we've compiled it into our beautiful Book Launch Checklist! You can simply download it for free below, then follow the steps to publication!
How Do You Write Your Book?
Everything starts with a fantastic idea. Without that first piece of inspiration, how can you be expected to write that game-changing novel or non-fiction masterpiece? But once you have that idea, there’s a lot you can do to shape it into a great first draft, and from your first draft to a polished book. We’ve got great stuff on the blog which will help you work on your craft.
Writing genre fiction
- Worldbuilding Guide from the UK Editor of ‘The Martian': Comprehensive tips and a live talk from editor Michael Rowley. Useful for all novelists, especially those working in sci-fi and fantasy.
- 5 Tips for Writing AMAZING Young Adult Fiction: A guide on writing YA fiction straight from editor Kate Angelella.
- How to Write a Children's Book: A step-by-step guide on writing a children's book. Followed by a comprehensive primer on How to Publish a Children's Book.
- 12 Types of Travel Writing Every Writer Should Know: If you're a travel writer or aspire to write for travel magazines, this is a must-read.
- How to Write Fantasy: Seven of the top fantasy editors in the industry share their expert tips on writing fantasy.
- How to Write a Thriller: In which we boil the science of the thriller into seven heart-stopping steps.
- How to Write a Short Story: We do a deep dive into one of the most beautiful writing forms and share tips on submitting your short story to actually get it published. (If you're interested in writing the short story's cousin, go here for our guide on flash fiction.)
- Reedsy's Plot Generator: Need a premise for a story in a hurry? Try out this fun, free tool for picking a story out of thin air.
Writing comic books and graphic novels
Comic books and graphic novels almost exist in a world separate from novels and non-fiction but many of the principles remain the same.
- So You Want to Write a Comic Book? A fantastic guide to ‘sequential narrative art’ from editor Rachel Gluckstern.
- How to Self-Publish a Graphic Novel A guide from best-selling author and indie graphic novel writer Ben Galley.
Writing your first draft
- How to Create a Regular Writing Habit: An inspiring ReedsyLive video (with transcript) by author and book coach Kevin T Johns.
- How to Outline Your Novel: Grab three free outlining templates in this comprehensive guide to outlining.
- How to Write an AMAZING Novel in 15 Steps: A truly comprehensive guide that will take you step-by-step through the process of writing a novel.
- 150+ Writing Quotes to Inspire You In Every Stage of Writing: Some pearls of wisdom from famous authors to get you through the first draft.
- How to Start a Story: 11 professional editors share their best tips on how to start a story.
- How to Overcome Writer's Block: Vanquish the writer's dreaded foe, writer's block, once and for all! This post has 20+ strategies that you can use to put the Block behind you.
- The 25+ Best Writing Tools in 2020: If you believe that a workman is only as good as his tools, make sure to check out this list of the most efficient writing tools to bolster your work.
- The Best Pieces of Novel Writing Software in 2020: The 21st-century has given us the gift of technology. These are the best, most affordable pieces of novel writing software in 2020 that writers can't miss.
- The 16 Best Writing Apps of 2020: An impressive range of writing, editing, and productivity-enhancing apps for every kind of writer, from authors to content creators!
- Stuck on Your First Draft? Getting Help from Developmental Editors and Ghostwriters: If you still can't get past your first draft, consider enlisting the help of professional editors or a ghostwriter.
The last link on this list is super-relevant for non-fiction authors, for whom it’s pretty common to work with collaborators at an early stage.
Developing writing craft
- How to Write Character That Your Readers Will Love: Brilliant character development is key to a bestselling book. This article will help you develop characters your readers won’t forget.
- The Ultimate Guide to POV: A 4-part series on choosing the best (and RIGHT) point of view for your novel.
- Writing Dynamic Characters: A detailed look at creating character-led stories by analyzing dynamic character types. Also includes a fun infographic starring Walter White, Han Solo, and Katniss Everdeen.
- Free Download: The Ultimate Character Profile Template: Grab a free character profile template to supplement your character development!
- How to Write a Novel Using the Three-Act Structure: We dig deep into the most common technique in the English-speaking world for plotting stories.
- List of Plot Twist Ideas: If you run of plot twists, never fear: here are 70+ ideas to inspire you again.
- How to Write Dialogue: Learn how to write dialogue that actually sounds believable. Check out 150+ Other Words for "Said" To Supercharge Your Writing to download a free supplemental resource.
- Best Writing Communities and Best Writing Websites of 2020: Take a look at these lists to find tons of support and even more tips on how to succeed as a writer.
Revising and rewriting
- How Many Words in a Novel?: In which we answer the eternal question for writers: "How long should a novel be?"
- How Long Should a Chapter Be?: In which we answer the second eternal question for writers: "How long should a chapter be?"
- How to Edit a Book: Download an editing checklist that can guide you through the tricky minefield of editing a book.
- What is Line-Editing?: Line-editing is an art of its own, but this post can show you why it's important and how to do it by yourself. If you're still in the proofreading stage, check out What is Proofreading? or our masterpost on the eight famous types of editing.
- What to Expect from Beta Readers (and Where to Find Them): For a second opinion on your novel, turn to a writer's best friend: the beta reader.
- 50 Places to Find a Critique Circle to Improve Your Writing: And for a source of regular feedback, join a writing group!
- Show, Don’t Tell: A primer on the oldest rule in fiction writing. Includes a great, practical talk from editor Jim Thomas.
- Video: Writing the Difficult Second Draft: Editor Andrew Lowe shows you how to approach your second draft with great advice and off-beat tips.
- Six Common Mistakes All Writers Make (and How to Fix Them): Who doesn’t love a list like this? Find out how you can avoid the mistakes even the most famous writers make.
Designing Your Book
If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s this: everybody judges a book by its cover. A quick browse through the Kindle Store will reveal some truly terrible book covers created by self-publishing authors. With the rise of ebooks in recent years, authors’ covers have become their #1 sales tool.
- The Ultimate Guide to Book Cover Design: Readers will judge your book by its cover. Learn how to make that work in your favor with this thorough guide to book cover design.
- 50+ Book Cover Ideas to Take Your Book Cover From Bland to Brilliant: If you ever run out of inspiration, here are 66 book cover ideas to help out.
- How to Choose the Right Book Cover Dimensions: A guide on book cover dimensions, which is a more complex business than you might think.
- 25 Beautiful Examples of Book Illustration: More beautiful book art to inspire your own cover art.
- Book Cover Art Gallery: Some of our favorite recent designs sourced from the Reedsy Marketplace
- The Importance of Hiring a Cover Design Professional An interview with ex-Random House designer Rachel Lawston.
- What to Expect from Your Cover Designer A step-by-step guide to collaborating with professional designers on your book.
- Reedsy Live Cover Critiques An archive of our monthly live videos where authors submit their cover designs for a frank appraisal and practical advice.
The inside of your book should also look good, right?
- Book Design — EVERYTHING You Need to Know: A bold promise, but this primer post is a great place to start if you know nothing about the art of books.
- What is Typesetting?: In which we explore the importance of typesetting and share some wisdom from our specialist interior designers.
- How to Make a Book: For any author who's on a budget, making a book with your own hands could be easier than you expect.
- All You Need to Know About Standard Book Sizes: Learn about all the shapes and sizes of a book — and which one's best for you.
- The Sweet Science of Typography: An interview with internationally-renowned designer Erik Spiekermann.
Formatting your book
If you’re interested in learning more about the nitty-gritty of formatting, we have some articles you’ll find interesting.
- How to Format a Book with the Reedsy Book Editor: A great guide on using our free tool to make professional-grade print and ebooks.
- Parts of a Book: Front Matter and Back Matter: Explaining what pages have to go at the front and back of each book and — more importantly — in which order.
Traditional or Self-Publishing?
Once you’ve got a polished manuscript in your hands, it’s time to assess your publishing options. Without complicating matters, you will have two options: you can look for a publishing deal, or you can self-publish.
- Traditional vs. Self-Publishing: Which Is Right for You?: Features an info-packed slide presentation and an interactive quiz to help you pick the right path.
- How to Publish a Book: A full publishing guide of best practices, whether you want to self-publish or publish traditionally.
If you’re serious about going down the traditional publishing route, you will need to think about submitting a query to a literary agent — or perhaps directly to publishers. But as we’ve discovered through our experts, there are now many roads that will lead you to a book deal.
- How to Write a Query Letter in 7 Steps: A step-by-step guide (including a handy printable checklist) on crafting a killer query letter that will get agents to request your manuscript.
- How to Get a Literary Agent for Your Book: Once you've nailed that query letter, you'll need to actually send it to the right people.
- How to Write a Book Proposal: A step-by-step guide (including a comprehensive template) on crafting a killer book proposal that will get agents to notice your nonfiction book.
- How to Perfect Your Book Submission: Tips from a Publisher: Easy to follow suggestions, courtesy of ex HarperCollins publisher Scott Pack.
If you choose to take charge and self-publish a book, you’ll soon face a lot of questions. After all, you’re basically going to do the work of the publisher by yourself. But that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone — with Reedsy, you can now work with the best editors, designers, and marketers in the publishing business.
- How to Self-Publish a Book: In which we show you how to self-publish an awesome book in seven simple steps.
- The Best Self-Publishing Companies All Authors Should Know: Our picks for the best self-publishing companies in the industry today for authors.
- Author Scams and Publishing Companies to Avoid: That said, there are plenty of self-publishing companies out there that just want your money. Know which ones to avoid by reading this post.
- What is the Best Print-on-Demand Service?: A case study in which we sent out a book to the top four print-on-demand services to determine which definitively is the best for self-publishing authors.
- The Complete Guide to Amazon Self-Publishing: The King of eBook retailers is a complicated platform on which to self-publish. We boil it down to the essentials.
- How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book?: Using data from the Reedsy network, we unveil the current costs of hiring pros like developmental editors, proofreaders, designers, and formatters.
- How Does Reedsy Choose Its Professionals?: We’re a professional marketplace with a difference, in that we accept fewer than 4% of all the applications we receive from professionals. Find out more about our selection process.
We have some great posts from successful independent authors — some who have since signed deals with big publishers, and some who have turned their back on book deals.
- Self-Publishing Tips from a Bestselling Author: Adam Croft has sold over half a million copies of his self-published books, becoming one of the UK’s most successful authors in recent years. What’s his secret?
- “Why I Self-Publish My Literary Fiction”: Author Jane Davis reveals why she turned down a book deal and started self-publishing instead.
We’ve also spoken to literary agents about where self-publishing fits into their business.
- “I’m a Huge Fan of Self-Publishing” — an Interview with Andy Weir's Agent David Fugate: The founder of LaunchBooks literary agency talks about how some of his best clients started off as independent authors.
- Ask an Agent: What Makes a Self-Published Author Stand Out: Paul Lucas of the top NYC literary agency Janklow & Nesbit talks about the quickly shifting attitudes towards self-published authors.
Protecting your work
Whether you decide to self-publish or publish traditionally, you'll need to think at some point about protecting your book as intellectual property. Luckily, copyright doesn't need to be complicated! We've got the resource you need to understand copyright below.
- How to Create a Copyright Page in 5 Minutes: Download a free copyright page template for your professional use.
- How To Copyright A Book: A Comprehensive Guide: This useful guide covers everything that an author might want to know about the copyright registration process and the copyright for their own book. Questions that the guide answers: How do you copyright a book? What exactly does copyright protect? What's the difference between copyright in the U.S. and the rest of the world? Do you need to copyright a book cover?
Distributing your ebook
Once your book is all polished and has an eye-catching cover, it's time to get it up on all the major ebook stores!
- The Complete Guide to Ebook Publishing Platforms: As the title suggests, this exhaustive post goes over everything you need to know to publish and sell your ebook on the major retailers. It also contains a step-by-step infographic detailing our recommended distribution setup.
In addition, we also have a set of posts that dive into the world's #1 bookstore.
- How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Central Page: Setting up an author page is not a necessity, but it comes with a lot of advantages.
- The Ultimate Guide to KDP: This dives further into optimizing your book's Amazon page and offers one of the best explainers of Amazon's algorithms.
- READ THIS Before You Enroll in KDP Select!: Sure, it's got a bit of a shocking title, but this post will teach you the benefits of going exclusive with Amazon (with ebook sales, at least).
Marketing Your Book
While there are plenty of rewards to self-publishing, it will also require you to wear multiple hats — including that of a marketer. It’s not easy work, but many successful independent authors have demonstrated how it's possible to reach an audience without help from HarperCollins’s army of marketers. Here are a few of their techniques, as explained by Reedsy’s professionals.
Creating a website and building your mailing list
As our entire community will tell you, every author should have a mailing list — a database of engaged fans and potential readers.
- Author Websites: How to Make Yours Original
- Video: Digital Marketing for Authors: Websites 101: A ReedsyLive talk (with transcript) hosted by book marketer and author Michael Doane.
Once you’ve setup your website, you now have a way to start collecting valuable email addresses from your prospective readers.
- Finding a Target Audience for Your Book in 3 Steps: A simple guide to building a profile for your target reader
- “What’s in It for Your Readers?” — Nick Stephenson on Author Marketing: The perfect interview to learn how to find your first readers and build an email list.
- 6 Steps for Building Your Author Mailing List Through Giveaways: Easy-to-follow tips for running a giveaway — which happens to be one of the best ways of growing your mailing list.
Preparing your book for launch day
Once you have your mailing list in place, it’s time to formulate a plan for your book launch.
- Authors: Build Your Street Team in 4 Simple Steps: Learn to assemble your core group of supporters, who will help you spread word-of-mouth and get a steady stream of reader reviews for your launch.
- Getting Your Book Coverage in the National Press: A guest post from journalist and author Douglas Wight.
- Video: Reaching Out to Reviewers: A ReedsyLive talk where publicist Ben Cameron shows you a number of ways to get reviews from national press and influential bloggers.
Social media for authors
You don’t have to be Stephen King or J.K. Rowling to be able to engage with fans on social media. Our marketing experts can give you a quick glimpse into this largely-untapped resource.
- Five Keys to Developing a Solid Social Media Strategy: Book marketer Andrea Dunlop shows you what it takes to use social media like a pro.
- Five Actionable Social Media Tips for Authors: This infographic will give you 5 things you can do today to improve your social media habits.
By and large, we’ve discovered that advertising can be an expensive and ineffective way to market your book. There is one exception to this rule, however: an ad platform that will let you target very specific segments based on things like location, gender, age, and interests.
- Facebook Advertising for Authors: A must-read two-part series from best-selling author Mark Dawson.
To see all of these aspects working together, check out our post of 50 Book Marketing Ideas That Every Author Needs to Know.
Did we say there was only one exception to the "no advertising rule"? Well, okay, there might be a few more — including BookBub. In particular, we're talking about their daily Featured Deals and self-serve ads.
- BookBub for Authors: Everything You Need to Know: our no-nonsense guide to getting your book in front of BookBub's subscriber list.
New articles and guides are being published on the blog every week — not to mention our ongoing ReedsyLive talks and Reedsy Learning courses. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest tips and guides from the world of publishing.
If you have any questions or topics you’d like to see covered on the Reedsy Blog, post them in the comments below.