I started self-publishing in 2011. At first I knew nothing about how to do anything! Now, it’s pretty easy. I enjoy self-publishing for the creative control it gives me and the direct payoff in higher royalties vs. those I’d get from being published by someone else. Here are the resources that either helped get me on my way or help me turn my ideas into real print books, ebooks, and an audiobook.
In 2011 Steven Lewis had online tutorials on formatting for Kindle. I believe he focuses more on social marketing today. I found his books about the self-publishing industry helpful, too. http://taleist.com/#home
I use the free formatting software, Calibre, to format my ebooks in formats for all readers and devices (ePub for iPad and Nook, mobi for Kindle, etc). Its UI has options for building a Table of Contents, testing your format out in a device simulator, and so on. I test drive all my ebooks with Calibre before actually publishing. The Calibre ebooks are also the files I give to reviewers. http://calibre-ebook.com/
I built my author platform across social networks mostly through Shelley Hitz’s webinars. For instance, I learned how to set up a Facebook Fanpage and Twitter presence, and use tools to streamline my social marketing efforts. She packs extras into all her service packages and recently expanded her service offering. http://www.trainingauthors.com/
Guy Kawasaki is a social media guru. The best advice I got from him was on what and when to tweet. http://guykawasaki.com/
On my blog, for publicity purposes I have events that include random drawings for prizes. Rafflecopter is the web service that powers that: https://www.rafflecopter.com/
I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring an editor, getting professional cover design, and having a great back jacket book description. If you’re going to spend money, spend it on this and don’t flinch at the cost. I mean, don’t you want your book to be the most professional product possible? Think how much brain sweat you put into writing your book. Don’t you deserve to see your idea beautifully polished? Some reviewers of my books say that my book cover or my book description made them buy the book (and that’s some motivator, considering that they’d never heard of me).
Derek Murphy designed for my vampire novels, Bloodroom and The Bad Death. He’s stopped taking new clients (for now, anyway) but is branching into DIY design advice. http://www.bookcovers.creativindie.com/
Editing! OMG don’t you dare publish your book without one! Pick up a book published by a big NYC publisher, read the acknowledgements, and you’ll probably read the author thanking up to three editors. At least do yourself the favor of hiring one.
ACX is the audiobook wing of Amazon’s publishing services. In a way it’s like match.com for writers and narrators. You can call for auditions or you can browse for a narrator that offers the type of voice you’re looking for and then listen to their audio samples. I’m not gonna lie; it was expensive, but I’m so happy with my audiobook! http://www.acx.com/
I follow the blogs of writers who keep their ear to the ground in terms of how the big publishers are doing business, how self-published authors can get noticed in the ocean that is Amazon, and issues related to these topics.
In addition to crusading against sharks and reporting on latest industry developments, David Gaughran writes weird, thoughtful short stories and wrote a South American adventure novel. https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/
In addition to advising on writing and making money from writing, JA Konrath writes thrillers and is hugely successful. http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/