Here is a list of some key apps and resources that have had the greatest impact on my business, ones that I use every day and are indispensible to the systems I have in place.

FYI, and in the interest of full disclosure, where possible I have used affiliate links so I benefit from my recommendation as well as you. Hopefully you are cool with this (some people aren’t and I can never quite figure out why?).

Example of my documentation 

I use a piece of software called Clarify to create my step-by-step instructions which are then handed to my outsourcers to action for me. The more detailed and clear you can be in your instructions, the less work you will need to do in the long run to get the results you are looking for and expecting. You can check out Clarify at http://www.clarify-it.com.

Example Documentation of Print Book Cover Process

 

Books To Read

The following are just a handful of books that have influenced my thinking and the way I do things in my publishing business. Each one has specific keys that can revolutionize the way you work (and play).

Getting Things Done by David Allen

The One Thing by Gary Keller

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Six Figure Author by Chris Fox (in fact ANY of Chris’s books for authors – go to Amazon now and buy them all!)

The Miracle Morning For Writers by Hal Elrod

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (sounds strange I know, but I loved this book!)

 

Research

Research is a major part of your pathway to publishing prosperity. If you do your research well, it will set you up for success. A big mistake many would-be writer’s and publishers make is to bypass this stage of the process and thereby just shoot into the wind hoping something might stick. Proper research is a major key to breaking out of frustration and into a ready market.

Write To Market another excellent book by Chris Fox

K-Lytics is the most in-depth don-for-you Kindle category research service anywhere on the planet. Alex, the K-lytics guru and CEO is relentless in his quest to dig deep into every potential profitable category and sub-sub-sub category of the Kindle store and share key insights how you can dive straight in and make money with self publishing. So many people skirt or avoid the hard work of thorough research (because they are right, it is hard work!) but K-Lytics takes the pain out of the entire process. Truly worth every penny if you are struggling to gain clarity where to best publish, or you are wanting to expand into new genre territory.

KD Spy KD Spy is an essential little app that works right inside your Chrome or Firefox browser to speed the research process, and will give you a birdseye view of the profit potential of any category on Amazon, as well as lots of other insights to the best selling books in categories you may want to target. You can also dig into specific authors. My first port of call in any research.

KBookPromo KbookPromo has some tools very similar to KD Spy, plus a whole host of other great features to help you in your research, book creation and tracking. It boasts a full suite of tools including Niche Finder, Promo Websites Submitter, Reviewer Finder, Rank Tracker, Description Generator, Keyword Tracking Tool, Notification Center, and a basic Task Manager. Defintely worth a look.
KDP Rocket KDP Rocket is a beautifully designed piece of software that will again help with your research, and especially with discovering potential profitable keywords to use with your published books. It is a small app that works on your desktop, helping you discover new ideas for books, delve into keywords and their current traffic in Google and n Amazon, and spy on your competitors books. I find it one of the most user friendly pieces of software for this kind of thing and defintely recommend as a good addition to your research arsenal. You get lifetime updates and the developers just added the ability to search out profitable keywords for AMS adverts too. Very, very slick piece of software and totally worth the investment.

 

Writing Your Book

There are so many good books available about the actual art of writing so I will not try to list them all here. This section is more about software that can help you in your writing, formatting and the creation of your bestsellers.

Scrivener for Mac or Scrivener For WindowsUse Promocode LEARNSCRIVENER for 20% discount – Scrivener is absolutely my favorite piece of software for writing. It is unsurpassed in features and flexibility and totally rocks as a writing and research gathering environment. The learning curve can appear a bit steep if you are unfamiliar with Scrivener, but the time to get to grips with it will pay dividends. Scriber can also be used to actually format your book for pretty much any eventuality, but I personally use for my writing and then use other tools for formatting. My love for Scrivener led me to create a comprehensive training for both Mac and Windows version son the software which can get you up and running in no time and eliminate the learning curve altogether for you. You can check out my Scrivener training here if it is of interest: Scrivener Unleashed

 

Formatting Your Book

These are the two resources I have used the most for actually formatting my books. It makes the process easy and painless, and ensures that you always get a great looking result for your readers to enjoy. Just because we are indie published does not mean we have to put out amateur looking products, and these resources can make sure that does not happen. If you want professional looking results every time, check out these two fabulous options. I use Vellum for digital versions, and Book Design Templates for print.

Vellum for Mac Without doubt the simplest, easier and most professional option for ebook formatting.  From the first time I used Vellum I have never used anything since. It makes book and boxset creation and formatting so quick, and the results are magnificent! Vellum is a Mac only software, but there are workarounds if you use a PC. Similar to Scrivener, Vellum totally blows my socks off with its brilliance so I created a short training course to show just what you can do with it. Check out my Vellum course here: https://www.udemy.com/vellum-for-indie-authors/
Joel Friedlander’s Templates for Kindle and CreateSpace. These Word templates (they also have InDesign templates if you are an Adobe user) are excellent and very professional. You can of course easily create your own Word templates that will work just as well, but for me the small investment in some chosen templates from here saved me time and headaches. I also utilize the templates with my Virtual Assistant who is able to use them to create great looking print versions of my books without the need for any fancy software.

 

Getting Reviews For Your Book

Book Review Targeter is an online app that helps you discover and laser target potential reviewers for your book in any niche or genre. This is precisely the software I used when first starting in a genre, without an audience, a readers list or any such thing. Straight out of the gate I was able to contact 40 plus reviewers directly, and have a review team ready and waiting. I subsequently built my team from keen readers, but every time Book Review Targeter is my first port of call to get the ball rolling.

 

 

Your Author Website

My main advice here is not to get bogged down in the intricacies of building a flashy author website. Most people will discover your books directly through Amazon and website traffic is usually not the main conduit for direct sales. However, having a domain and an online home for your author/publisher is still important for many reasons. These reasons include lead capture for building a reader list, Facebook pixel targeting for ads to people who have visited your website, a go to place that collates all your books and shows your authors etc. The key for me is to set things up right at the outset, so that maintenance is minimal but the site remains current. The following services and plugins are the ones I use to make this possible.

Awesome Author Sites Training I plan to create a video training showing how I have created my sites to highlight books and authors in the simplest, quickest and most efficient way. This link will take you to a list where you can sign up to be informed when that training is ready. 🙂

Hostgator There are lots of great hosting options out there. My usual recommendation is Hostgator as a good starting place. I have always found them very helpful and their prices to be competitive.
WordPress Always go self hosted (not the wordpress.com site). WordPress.org allows you to download the files for use on your own hosting. Many hosts (including Hostgator) will have the option to install WordPress in one-click anyways, so no need to even mess with trying to download/upload and configure.
StudioPress Themes  My all time favorite WordPress theme creation company. I bought the lifetime all access pass years ago and have used them for hundreds of sites (I used to run a web creation business here in London and StudioPress themes were my go-to every time).
Elegant Themes (Divi) Aside from StudioPress, Elegant themes comes a close second (or joint first I think!) – their Divi theme is the most amazing and most flexible and easy to use theme of any I have ever used. It is so versatile you can pretty much create anything you want using the drag and drop page builder.
MyBookTable – The best WordPress plugin for authors and publishers, period. Such an amazing timesaver! Don’t hesitate to pick up the Pro version of the plugin which will give you all sorts of options to import and display your books. What I love about the plugin (there are many things I love about it actually) is that it allows me to get things set up and in place so pages are automatically created, populated and updated, and all I need to do is simply import the ASIN of my book from Amazon. So worth the investment!
Thrive Content Builder & Thrive Leads Another go to place for me when it comes to simplicity and speed of execution. Thrive Content Builder is amazing for building web pages, using drag and drop technology that removes all of the technical aspects of coding from the equation – just build beautiful looking pages and let Thrive take care of everything. Thrive Leads is also an amazing addition to any site, and gives a complete palette of options and integrations for building professional landing pages, pop ups, slide ins, welcome mats and more. If you plan to capture leads for your business on your website, Thrive Leads is a great addition and will make it look and work seamlessly.

 

Promotion of Your Book

 KBookPromo I mentioned KBookPromotions earlier as a useful service that bakes a lot of features under one roof. One part of the KBook set up allows one click promotion to tens of websites, saving you a heap of time setting things up yourself. All you need to do is set up the promotion through KDP, and then pop the details and dates into KBookPromos and it will auto populate and submit your promotion to heaps of websites.
KD ROI  is another plugin from the makers of KDSpy. This works in a similar way to KDSpy and is a tiny extension that you add to your browser. It will allow you to submit a free or $0.99 promotion to lots of sites with just one or two clicks of your mouse. The process is so easy and quick it is a no-brainer not to put it to work for you. I use it for my $0.99 promotions.

 

FaceBook Advertising

Facebook advertising is one of my main avenues to reach readers with new books and other promotions. A suite of tools I use to take this to the next level is Connectio. I especially love Connect Audience which allows me to create all sorts of custom audiences ready to target fresh ads to in Facebook. Connectio is highly integrated with all sorts of other services also, such as autoresponders, removing many of the technical headaches that sometimes come along with FB advertising.

Connect Audience

Connect Leads

Connect Retarget

 

Other Online Training and Resources

There are obviously many great training resources available online that teach the key components of running a profitable self publishing business. I have benefited from so many it would be impossible to list them all here. The most enduring and active indie community I have been part of, and one that boasts some incredible success stories, is Kindling. I am not certain how long the doors will remain open to join this community, so don’t hesitate – jump in now and connect in, get your questions answers and your engine put in gear to move forward!

Kindling by Geoff Shaw<<< this one is a no brainer if you are an Indie Author. Kindling includes a bag load of tried and tested training from one of the pioneers of Self Publishing, Geoff Shaw. It also includes (and perhaps this is the most valuable pice of the jigsaw) access to a lively community of fellow authors and publishers who are all helping one another along the journey. Join today – you will not regret it!

 

 

Building Your Email List

Convertkit Email Autoresponder Service is the one I now use for all of my email communications and autoresponder needs. Convertkit has some stellar features that allow me to build and communicate with my lists very efficiently. I especially love the tagging features which allow me to seamlessly move and track the journey any particular subscriber takes. If you sign up using this link just let me know and I will send you a more detailed report how I actually use the features they offer to streamline my business, and some ready to use templates to get you started. Sign Up For ConvertKit here: http://mbsy.co/convertkit/151826

Other good autoresponder choices: AweberArpReachGetResponse

Two training products that may be helpful to fastback your list building success are:

Your Reader Army by Larissa Reynolds << one of my favorite training products of all time!

The Author Email Recipe Book – This is one of my products and contains lots of nuggets and practical ways to connect with and build your email lists and audience.

 

Delivery of free books to readers and reviewers

Book funnel allows authors to deliver their books to readers in a simple and easy manner. before using Bookfunnel I was receiving all sorts of problematic emails asking how to download my free books and get them to work on Kindle or some other device. Book funnel completely removed this headache from my workflow and takes care of it for me. They also allow list building giveaways, tracked ARC book delivery and more. So worth the money!

 

Tracking Your Sales, Rankings and Administrating Your Kindle Business

GetBookReport is another essential tool in my publishing arsenal. It connects directly with a users KDP account and tracks and reports sales, page reads and giveaways, and gives you a clear idea which books are performing best on a day by day, week by week and month by month basis. Sheer brilliance!

 

Social Media Management & Graphics

Stencil is a superb and easy to use app that makes social media image creation and posting a breeze. My favorite feature is that it comes pre-packed with literally thousands of quotes, images and other assets that you can simply drag and drop for slit second image creation for your social media sites. It is also very easy to have an assistant create images for you, because it requires virtually no artistic flair or technical knowhow at all.

PromoRepublic is one of many social media management tools you could choose from. I’m not particularly stuck on this one but its the one I like and use the most. I particularly enjoy the visual calendar, and the suggested posts to increase engagement. Very cool set up and service and well worth a look if social media is a part of your audience building strategy. Being able to schedule posts for moths ahead also allows me to set things up in one sitting, and then sit back and allow PromoRepublic to do the work as the weeks roll by. Also very easy for a VA to do the work for you getting things set up, so it really can become a hands off affair. I generally have my VA create images in Stencil, then upload and schedule in PromoRepublic. I can then just sign in, and take a glance on the calendar, move or edit what I want to and it’s a job done.

 


DesignBold is super easy to use. I use it every week to create images for use in my emails to readers and subscribers. Again, part of my choosing this was ease-of-use. I always want something that a non-techy Virtual Assistant can use without issues. I really like it and it does a perfect job for me. There are other photo editors online like Canva.com which do similar things.

 

Places To Source Writers and Other Talent

If you plan to outsource pretty much any part of your business operation (and you should!) Upwork is the best place to source your talent. For full or part time Virtual Assistants I would suggest Onlinejobs.ph. It take a little trial and error to learn how to discern the best candidates but again, time up front learning and training others to fulfill tasks that you would have to do yourself is time well spent. Virtually every part of my business is now taken care of on my behalf, leaving me free to write and collect the royalties at the end of every month.

Upwork.com

Onlinejobs.ph