Building Blocks for Writers | Self-Publishing & Libraries

Whether trying to avoid common pitfalls, learning about self-promotion, or just figuring out if this industry is a good match, both novices and the more experienced can find value in these guides.

Choosing to self-publish comes with its own distinct set of challenges that can feel like a veritable laundry list of tasks—one just as important as the next. While the results promise reward, the road to independent authorship can be bumpy, perhaps not even passable without access to the proper resources and information. Thankfully, indie writers are happy to share, as evidenced by the titles recommended below. Whether trying to avoid common pitfalls, learning about self-promotion, or just figuring out if this industry is a good match, both novices and the more experienced can find value in these guides.


images__1460997517_93120Galley, Ben. Shelf Help: The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. 2014. 290p. ISBN 9780992787110. pap. $10.99.

Fantasy author and self-publishing consultant Galley (“Emaneska” series) offers up a pocket manual version of his advice website of the same name. With his Three Pillars of Shelf Help and a dose of British charm, Galley’s account is easily digestible and a source of encouragement for aspiring authors. Includes interviews with other indie writers.

Gaughran, David. Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, and Why You Should. 2012. 286p. ISBN 9781475212600.

Gaughran, David. Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed and Sell More Books. 2013. 206p. ISBN 9781490310411.

ea. vol: CreateSpace. pap. $14.95.

In his two volumes, Gaughran (Mercenary; A Storm Hits Valparaíso) reaches out to authors just beginning to navigate the world of self-publishing and those who are a bit more seasoned in the process. Drawing on his own knowledge and the success stories of others writers, Gaughran provides the basics and builds from there, presenting an important insider’s view of the industry.

Howard, Catherine Ryan. Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. 3d ed. CreateSpace. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781502810151. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781783015658.

Howard (Mousetrapped; Backpacked) approaches the topic with relatability and humor, recounting her own—sometimes costly—mistakes and giving others direction to avoid them. Readers will feel as if they are chatting with an old friend while still developing the necessary skills to thrive in self-publishing.

Love, Comfort & Adam Withers. The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics: How To Create and Sell Comic Books, Manga, and Webcomics. Watson-Guptill. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780804137805. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780804137812.

Self-publishing is not limited to novels, as Love and Withers prove here. Already well versed in the practice through their own comic, Rainbow in the Dark, they share their prowess in creating concepts and publishing in this unique medium. This offering is brightly illustrated to fit its subject and includes “pro tips” from similar artists.

Self-Publishing and Collection Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Libraries. Purdue Univ. 2015. 170p. ed. by Robert P. Holley. ISBN 9781557537218. pap. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612494432.

While Holley’s focus involves the ways in which libraries can better grow their collections, he invites self-published authors to weigh in on the matter and detail how they make their books more compatible with a library setting. Those looking to be represented in the library can benefit from both viewpoints and may also look to LJ’s ­SELF-e program for further guidance.



This company assists all types of authors, but those who self-publish can benefit by making connections with experts in editing, marketing, design, and more. Through the website, writers can control every aspect of their publishing journey. It also offers tips, discusses issues in the field, and on the site’s blog gives indie book recommendations.

The Creative Penn;

Joanna Penn (Successful Self-Publishing; How To Market a Book) proves to be a fount of knowledge. In addition to reading her various books on the subject, writers can use her website to familiarize themselves with self-publishing through podcasts, blog posts, videos, and even paid online courses.

A Newbie’s Guide to Self-Publishing;

Author J.A. Konrath (“Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” mysteries) blogs about the ins and outs of self-publishing, from the professional to the personal. New scribes can follow by example and feel a sense of community. Includes guest posts by other authors.


Here writers are immersed in a sea of material, including articles, editorials, and proficient counsel regarding all facets of self-publishing and small presses. A well-updated hub of information.

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