There are so many awesome resources in the world for indie authors to do it all themself and cut cost. Especially since a lot of indies bootstrap (like me) we’re always looking for ways to afford to make a quality product at a price that won’t break the bank. Here’s a list of the programs I use.
- Wonderdraft – This is a program that costs $29.99 plus tax (of course) and it is awesome for those of us who might not be the most artistically inclined. I may be able to paint an image with words, but I’m no Picasso when it comes to drawing. There’s some really awesome features of this program. First off this is a one time purchase and you can keep coming back to download the newest version for free! This is huge because a lot of programs are subscription services. I’ve tried some map making sites and they were largely confusing and hard to use (in my opinion, power to you if you can make it work). Wonderdraft is pretty user friendly and after watching a few youtube videos you’ll get the hang of it. You can build world maps, city maps, etc. This program also allows you to import pictures and trace them so if you free hand an outline, take a picture and upload it. Export it into a jpeg or png file and you have your very own map. You can also watch my own experience and tutorials on my tiktok
- Affinity Photo – I wanted to learn how to make my own book covers and searched for a cost effective program that would allow me to do just that. Adobe Photoshop is great. It’s powerful and generally a standard for great cover design but it’s not the only amazing program out there. I know authors who use gimp which is a free photoshop like program (I sadly could never figure it out). This is also a great option but for me, I wanted something that made sense to my mind. This led me to Affinity, a best kept secret for photo editing. This program is very similar to Photoshop. It has all the same amazing features I need and more. The great thing is there is no annual or monthly subscription (yay!). This was huge because as an indie author I don’t know how much time I will be devoting to cover making each month. It would suck to be paying all this money and only using the program for a couple hours each month. So that’s where Affinity Photo comes in. They have an amazing deal right now going on and you can buy (one time purchase) the program for $24.99 plus tax. They also have Affinity Designer and Publisher for the same price. The only reason I can’t give this program a full five stars is there’s a bit of a learning curve. You will have to watch tutorials on how to navigate the program but once you do, it’s an awesome program to make book covers on.
- Atticus – This is a new program to my retinue and the most expensive on my list, but it’s well worth the money to not be spending endless hours fighting to format my book in word and get it to upload correctly on Amazon’s KDP. This program is the cutest and most power formatting software I’ve found. There are free resources out there to format like reedsy but I wanted to have a program that was a bit more powerful. Atticus is new and is just launched in beta and I love it. You can upload a word document or just write in the program. There are constant updates which are all free after you spend the initial $117 for the program (price may change as the program approaches a final release). This is a small company that is just growing and I love supporting awesome small businesses that understand the needs of indie publishing. This is an easy to use program that is worth the money.
ARCs and Beta Readers
ARCs and Beta readers are integral to indie publishing. Beta readers takes a lot of trial and error to find readers that you click with. I work with some other authors and swap work as more of a critique partner but this is great to help me clean up my writing. But it’s also important to have actual readers beta as well. This is because it helps you get a grasp on what your target audience will see.
ARCs are huge and I find to be insanely fun. ARCs are advanced reader copies an author provides generally a month in advance for free in exchange for an honest review. Reviews are so important to authors. It’s how we can get nominations for awards, advertising and helps readers find books they’ll love to read. I run my own ARC team and am looking for ARCs for my upcoming series. If interested or if you just want to see what my form looks like, take a peak below.