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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Getting Reviews For Your Book
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. 🙂
Promotion of Your Book
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.
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!
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
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
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.