So, you've reached the stage in your journey as an independent author where it's time to seek out the best self publishing program for your needs.
Investing in knowledge and technology to bring you success is a smart move, but it's easy to make the wrong choice.
Ask around the writing community and you'll be sure to come across plenty of disgruntled authors who shelled out cash for a program that wasn't the best fit. There's nothing more annoying than getting your hopes up about a particular tool, only to find out it wasn't what you expected.
So how can you avoid making the wrong choice?
No matter if you're looking for a writing course to boost your self-publishing knowledge, or a software program to give you better capabilities, we've got you covered.
Read on to discover our curated list of the best educational and software programs out there for self-publishers.
This guide to self-publishing programs covers:
#1 – Self-Publishing School
Trying to navigate the maze of self-publishing on your own is no easy task.
There are so many different skills to master and things to learn. From the initial process of coming up with a book idea, all the way through to marketing your work in a way that sets you up for a successful career, there are plenty of hurdles to fall at.
You could spend an eternity trying to figure it all out, but there's no need to do that.
Our partners at Self Publishing School have distilled years of wisdom into several concise programs that set you up for success.
A lot of people seem to have the misconception that Self Publishing School is a single course, but that's not the case. This is not like other self publishing programs, as the name suggest, it's delivered like an actual school. They can help you no matter how far along you are as an author. From teaching first-time writers to come up with a roadmap to publish their first bestseller. Or helping existing authors set themselves up for a full-time career. Self Publishing School has a program for every situation. See our full review for more details.
They also have an incredible range of free resources, so take the time to check those out if you aren't sure about investing in a full program at this stage.
#2 – Authority Pub Academy
Authority Pub Academy is taught by Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport in tandem. This is a refreshing change from a lot of the other programs out there, as it allows you to enjoy two different personalities and teaching styles.
This teaching program is a good option for new authors who are looking for a mix of tangible and intangible advice on what it takes to make the leap and become an author.
Some of the content covers aspects such as the mindset authors need to adopt to succeed, as well as more practical tips such as the process of writing a book. It also delves deep into how to set up an account on KDP.
If you've already published a book, you might find a lot of the material in this course to be a bit beneath your existing level of knowledge. That's not to say it has nothing to offer seasoned authors, but it is better suited to those just starting.
Like many of the programs featured here, Authority Pub Academy covers book launches and marketing in some depth, showing the importance of these topics.
Authority Pub Academy might not cover anything groundbreaking, but there’s no denying the credibility of Steve Soctt and Barrie Davenport as teachers. If you’re a fan of their personalities, consider exploring this program in more detail.
You can learn more here.
#3 – Self-Publishing 101
Mark Dawson is one of the most successful authors to ever self-publish. If you’re looking for an inspirational success story, look no further than Dawson.
As the name suggests, Self-Publishing 101 is intended to teach the fundamentals for authors who might be adept at writing a book but unsure of how to take things further.
Dawson’s course covers the basic elements of establishing your author platform, some guidance on whether to commit to Amazon on an exclusive basis or go wide, how to put together the right team to help launch your book, and how to attract the right reviews to boost your book in Amazon’s eyes and sell more copies.
If you want to learn from a true self-publishing rockstar, Self-Publishing 101 taught by Mark Dawson could be a good choice for you. Explore it further in our full review. It's easily one of the most personal self publishing programs.
However, if you’ve been around the indie author scene for some time, you might already have a good understanding of most of Mark’s ideas.
#4 – Your First 10K Readers
Your First 10K Readers by Nick Stephenson stands out from several of the other teaching programs featured here due to its focus on a more advanced approach to publishing.
You won’t find basic tips on writing a book here. This course instead offers advanced tips on how to succeed as an author if you have already mastered the fundamentals.
If you choose Your First 10K Readers as your program of choice, expect to learn the truth about how Amazon’s algorithm operates, how to not only build but monetize your author platform, advanced approaches to book launches, and how to advertise a book on Facebook.
While it’s great to see a course aimed at intermediate and advanced publishers, not all of the material here will be useful for everyone reading this. For example, a lot of authors feel that advertising a book on Facebook isn’t as useful as advertising it on a more buyer-focused platform such as Amazon or Bookbub.
If you feel you have a solid grasp of the basics of self-publishing and would like a structured course to take things to the next level, consider looking at Your First 10K Readers in more detail. Just be sure to look at the contents carefully to double-check it covers the material you will find useful and take action on.
#5 – Tribe Writers
Jeff Goins is one of the most likable people in self-publishing.
His blog is a fantastic resource for self-publishers who see themselves as artists looking to make a decent living from doing what they love.
So what does Jeff’s Tribe Writers course cover?
The first focus of the course is helping authors to find and hone their unique voices. The course then delves into more practical aspects such as platform building, how to reach more readers, and how to eventually get published.
While there’s some useful material here, there’s not nearly as much as found in other courses. You can learn a lot more in-depth information elsewhere.
That's not to say that Tribe Writers is bad. Far from it. If you are a fan of Jeff Goins and want to get an understanding of his approach to platform building, this might be the right self-publishing program for you. You should compare the contents and pricing with the other programs in this guide before making your final decision.
What is the best self-publishing software?
Well, before we take a look at five great software programs for self-publishers, let’s stop and consider how to choose the best one for your needs.
To help you weigh up different options, keep these factors in mind:
- Features. What features do you need from a self-publishing software program? It’s useful to write these down so you don’t overlook anything when evaluating different options.
- Compatibility. Is any software you're considering compatible with the hardware you use? For example, if you want to work on Mac and iPad, you need to check compatibility with macOS and iOS.
- Cost. How much does the program you’re interested in cost? Is it a one-off payment or do you need to subscribe? How does this cost compare with other options?
- Learning curve. How difficult will it be to learn to use a particular program? Are you willing to invest the time or is it better to use a simpler option?
- Integrations. Is your intended program capable of integrating with other software? Do you foresee any issues using it in conjunction with your existing tools?
With those five guiding criteria in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best self-publishing software programs.
#1 – Publisher Rocket
If you're like most self-published authors, writing your book isn't the difficult part. You've probably been a lover of the written word for most of your life, so putting words down on the page is a pleasure for you.
The frustration often begins when the time comes to market your book. Knowing the right categories and keywords is an entire science on its own, and figuring out manually can be seriously time-consuming.
Thankfully, a better way exists!
Self-publishing stalwart Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur fame created the Publisher Rocket program to make his personal book marketing process more efficient and effective. It's a powerhouse software solution for authors that takes the mystery and guesswork out of book marketing.
If you want to save wasted time and energy, you owe it to yourself to give Publisher Rocket a closer look. New features are being added all the time, such as the data you need to market your book internationally.
You can learn more about Publisher Rocket in our in-depth review here.
#2 – Scrivener
Have you tried to write an entire book using a program like Google Docs, and found it didn't have all the features you would hope for?
If so, you're in the same boat as a lot of other writers. As versatile and useful as Google Docs is, it wasn't designed with book creators in mind.
Scrivener is one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there. It's jam-packed with the features authors need to research, write, and export their books.
Scrivener has something of a reputation for being difficult to learn. While it does have a learning curve, it's a lot easier to understand in its current iteration than was the case with older versions.
If you're willing to put in some time to get to grips with Scrivener, we're confident you'll find it a rewarding experience. It happens to come with a full free trial so you can decide if it's right for you before investing a single cent.
See how Scrivener compares to other options in this book writing software guide.
#3 – Grammarly
If a self-editing tool isn't part of your stack of author programs, you're seriously missing out.
One of the main criticisms of self-publishing is that it lacks the rigor and care that an editor from a traditional publishing house would bring to the table.
To be truthful, editing is one area where some indie authors feel they can cut costs. But what if you could cut down on the amount you need to invest in a human editor by using a state of the art program in the first instance?
That's where Grammarly comes into play. Let's be crystal clear about one thing – Grammarly is no substitute for a talented human editor. However, it is an amazing way to self-edit your work initially, catching your most glaring errors and allowing your real editor to make deeper improvements, rather than spotting your spelling and grammar mishaps.
If you use a tool like Grammarly consistently, you'll learn more about yourself as a writer and where your weaknesses lie. This is invaluable feedback that not only gives you polished writing but also invaluable insight.
Delve deeper into what Grammarly is capable of with our full review here.
#4 – Hootsuite
When used properly, social media is a fantastic way for self-published authors to connect directly with their readers and form meaningful connections. But it's very much a double-edged sword for a lot of writers. There are so many different social media platforms that they can end up being a time drain that doesn't produce meaningful results.
To avoid social media becoming a burden rather than a blessing, you need to be proactive and disciplined about the way you use it.
One of the best ways to regain control over your social media as a self-publisher is to use a program like Hootsuite to efficiently manage multiple platforms from a single app environment.
Hootsuite allows you to advance schedule content for your social media platforms. Rather than having to manually post, you can line up all your content for a period of time. This allows you to take advantage of the efficiency that comes with task batching.
If you find yourself constantly checking multiple social networks to like and reply to comments, please stop!
You can save massive amounts of time by using Hootsuite to make social media work for you, rather than the other way round.
Although picking is entirely a function of your needs, we hope that our thorough look into self publishing programs as well as writing software offered you value when considering your next step. We encourage you to let us know in the comments below what course or software you choose and any results or observations you find helpful for the community to consider.
Additionally, if you have any other suggestions for the best programs out there, feel free to leave a comment!