I've been thinking about ways to share the unique tools and people I've found in this industry over the last several years. I still have plans for a pretty epic giveaway but I want to provide this information now. There are so many amazing tools and so much information out there, it can be difficult to know who to listen to and what to do. So here are the people I listen to.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg: This book was assigned to me during a creative writing course in college. It was the only thing I took from the class, aside from the realization that college creative writing courses were not my cup of tea. I regularly pick up Writing Down the Bones flip to a random page and enjoy the tidbits of wisdom Natalie has to offer. I find it interesting that I can enjoy a book by a professor of creative writing so much while not even tolerating the same class taught in a different university.
Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn: This is another one I pick up from time to time. If I feel myself slipping into depression or even just a funk about my writing or author business. Joanna’s words are like a security blanket reminding me that what I’m building takes time but I can and will reach my goals if I stick to it.
Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris: Since I bought the first one Nail Your Novel has grown into a series of books tackling different issues from structure to character and each book is equally helpful. Roz really did a good job with these and I can’t recommend them enough. From getting through blocks to structure this series is a great tool for any writer looking to improve their craft.
The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn Podcast): This podcast is a treasure trove of useful information for novices and experienced authors alike. Since Joanna started this when she was a new author herself and kept it growing as she learned and found success there’s truly something for everyone here.
The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn Blog): As Joanna’s focus shifted to the podcast she began having guest bloggers on giving the blog multiple points of view and filling it with so much information everyone can learn something from this site.
The Story Grid (Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl Podcast): The Story Grid is a guide for editors but on the podcast, Tim asks Shawn Coyne questions and they work through Tim’s first drafts. One fiction, and one memoir style nonfiction. I found this podcast invaluable as The Story Grid itself was a little dense and hard to get through. Once I started paring the book with what they were discussing on the show, I was able to learn a lot fast.
The Story Grid (Blog, Fundamental Fridays): These are done by The Story Grid Certified Editors and are incredibly helpful when looking for genre-specific information such as obligatory scenes and conventions.
Amphibian Authors: We have lots of information on writing habits, mindset, revision and much more in our writing section. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know! We’ll add it.
Valerie Francis- Valerie is a Story Grid Editor and a great resource. Her blog and emails are inspiring and helpful. She also ran a 30-day writing challenge with fellow Story Grid editor Rebecca NAME that I went through and I’m pleased to say I’ve created a consistent writing habit!
For Editing/story structure (Drafts 2 - however many it takes):
The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne: While you can use the foolscap and other Story Grid bits to help you with your first draft, I think it’s most useful after that draft is done and you’re looking to improve it. The Story Grid Spreadsheet is like a magic looking glass you can use to see the holes in your draft so you can fix them. I did the spreadsheet of the first scene of my first book and found all kinds of issues that lead to a new draft. Now that that’s near completion, I’ll be going over it again to double check my manuscript before shipping it off to editors.
Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland: I don’t like to just listen to one person about anything so I looked up Weiland and was pleasantly surprised by her take on structure. The basics are the same (as they should be) but her writing is a little less dry and was easier for me to swallow. This is a great resource for beginners to start figuring out structure
Nail Your Novel: Draft, Fix, and Finish by Roz Morris: This is another structurally focused book that can help beginners and mid-level writers alike. This is the first Nail Your Novel that I bought and I wasn’t disappointed. Roz takes you through the first draft and then take it to the next level to the best of your ability. I still recommend a structural editor to new authors but you can really work out most of the kinks with this tool.
The Story Grid: As I said earlier this podcast take novice writer Tim Grahl from the first draft to finished manuscript with editor and Story Grid creator Shawn Coyne helping out along the way. While the podcast will improve your writing, it’s really good for working out structural issues in your drafts and fleshing things out.
Amphibian Authors: We have several blog posts dedicated to structure that you might find useful. Check them out in the writing section of our blog.
Story Grid Editors: If you have the money, I cannot recommend this service enough. I’ve spoken with two of the editors personally when I was in Nashville and they know so much. If you don’t have the money for this investment, save up. And while you’re waiting, join the email list. You can learn a lot just listening to their podcasts and (the editors have a roundtable style podcast where they analyze movies) and their blog is also extremely helpful.
Amphibian Authors: we offer structural edits (I’m not Story Grid certified but I have a knack for finding what’s missing in a story), line editing with Sara Voorhis, and proofreading with Amy Spitzfaden.
Your First 1,000 Copies by Tim Grahl: I’ve wanted to write a marketing book for a while now but after reading this one, I really don’t see the point. This is the be all end all of book marketing. Everything else on this list has great bits and pieces that you can take and implement but this book lays out the book marketing system you need. It’s $9.99 go buy it. Like now. Then read it, also like now and finish it. Bear in mind this book is old and some of the tech side needs to be updated but the system is exactly what you need.
Book Launch Blueprint by Tim Grahl: In this follow up to Your First 1,000 Copies Tim tells you how to implement the system he laid out already. While not a “Must Read” in my opinion, if you finish his first book and feel overwhelmed this is a great resource.
How to Make a Living with Your Writing by Joanna Penn: Joanna Penn in making a living with her writing. It’s never a bad thing to read what other people are doing that’s working. Joanna has always had an amazing work ethic and dedication to her craft that’s inspiring and should be paid attention to.
How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn: All the marketing basics in one pretty package. Joanna regularly updates this one so look for the latest addition.
Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson: Nick usually uses this one as a reader magnet so it’s almost always free and is a great resource for creating a hook to get readers on your list.
BookLaunch.com (Tim Grahl, Blog): This blog has so much good information in it. If you sign up for Tim’s email list, he’ll send you information and links to blogs you may find helpful or you can explore yourself.
Book Launch Show (Tim Grahl, Podcast): Another great resource but there are limited episodes and Tim's focus is on The Story Grid Podcast right now. This is still well worth the listen though.
The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn, Podcast and Blog): Without this podcast, I may never have gone down this path or found Tim Grahl or Shawn Coyne. So this is definitely a must listen. Joanna talks to so many professionals in the industry it’s impossible not to find someone you jive with.
Kindlepreneur (Dave Chessen, Blog): This site has incredible action based articles that will help you understand Amazon and their Kindle platform.
Amphibian Authors: We have lots of information on marketing on this blog. Everything from platform to fans and how to create the best subscriber hook.
Your First 10k Readers (Nick Stephenson, Blog): I love this blog. Especially since Nick started accepting guest posts from other authors. It’s really inspiring to read what others are doing successfully and figuring out how you can use that information to sell your books. I’m working on a pitch for my own post about productivity. Also you can sign up so Nick will send a message to you on facebook when he has a new article up. He gives a brief description and if you want to read it you click the response and he’ll send you the link. It’s pretty awesome. At least for me. I get distracted by facebook too much and he has a tendency to snap me back to work mode.
Davidgaughran.com (David Gaughran Blog): David Gaughran is a pretty cool individual. I found him on the Creative Penn podcast (of course) but his article “Please Don’t Buy My Book” was really eye-opening. I’ve kept an eye on him ever since. He has a series of nonfiction books about marketing I have yet to read but given the content on his blog, I’m willing to bet they’re well worth the ten bucks.
Smart Authors Lab (Belinda Griffin): Belinda Griffin is a UK based book marketer who I met in Nashville this past July(2018). She’s amazing at what she does as all the Book Launch coaches are but she and I went for walks every day at lunch so I got to see her work through problems as we took on all the information Tim shared. Definitely check out her for excellent content on marketing and if she’s a good fit for you sign up for a free 30-minute phone call!
Book Launch Certified Coaches: Everyone of these people are well trained and great at what they do. Check them out and figure out who jive with. I’d love it if you guys just wanted to hire me but just in case I’m overbooked or not the best fit for your book here are the other ten books marketers Tim Grahl trained.
Amphibian Authors: This link goes directly to the list of services I provide. I will give anyone thirty minutes of my time you just have to sign up for a date and time on my calendar. If we chat and I think a different book launch coach will be a better fit, I’ll get you set up with them. No obligation if you sign up for a free 30-minute consultation.
That’s it. My list of top resources all lined up. I hope you find this helpful as you move through your publishing journey. Please sign up for a free thirty minute publishing consultation if you have any questions. I’m here to help! You can also shoot me an email. Just reply to the ones you get from me bi-weekly. And If you haven’t signed up for our mailing list, do it now. We have a step-by-step guide to help you build a strong author platform. And I’m working on other cool things for my newsletter only.
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