So you are an author, or dream of becoming one? Achieving success is not an easy road. You need to have knowledge, the rights tools, and most of all: you need to have passion for writing. You write because it’s your vocation. It’s what you love to do. If you’re serious about self-publishing, you need to arm yourself properly. You wouldn’t go to war unarmed, or with only a pistol, would you?

Writing great, memorable characters is one of the most crucial skills you need to have to write a novel. Do you know who Hermione Granger and Peeta Mellark are? Of course you do. They’re really famous book characters, even more when they’ve had talented actors portray them. But your characters don’t need to go to Hollywood to be memorable. Ever hear of Camryn Bennett or Ellie Carmichael?
In order for me to create great characters, I created a fictional character dossier template. I’ve been developing it for years and now it is on version 4. You can download it here: FCD-v4 (English). Version 3.2 has been taken down because it no longer works with Microsoft Word 2013 and newer. The file looked like a big mess and there was no way to convert it up to the newer versions. Version 4 still works perfectly and looks great, so it’s the only available one now.

This is a screenshot of the Word edition of the template


This category takes quite a bit of space, so I wrote a blog post for it. You can find it here.


Breathing Life Into Your Characters, by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.
By Cunning & Craft, by Peter Selgin
The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (you cannot overlook this one, every writer worth his salt should have a copy)
Getting the Words Right, by Theodore A. Rees Cheney
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, by Marilyn Rose and Sue Collier
Story Structure Architect, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.
The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, by the editors of Writer’s Digest
Let’s Get Digital, 2nd Edition and Let’s Get Visible, by David Gaughran
Gramatically Correct, by Anne Stilman


Here are some people and blogs that you should look into:

Victoria Grefer
The Creative Penn
Theresa Ragan
Book Marketing Secrets
Writer’s Forensics Blog

Indie BookSpot
Jane Friedman
Writer’s Toolbox

These tools should help you get started. If you’re already an author, you may still find some useful knowledge by checking out these books and stopping by the blogs I listed. You should also consider joining Goodreads and Twitter, and launching your own Web site. And remember: authors aren’t in competition. We should help each other to grow and become better writers.
UPDATE: I just found another great resource for authors aspiring to self-publish. There’s an important note there worth mentioning: some authors want to know whether they need to pay to self-publish. My answer is NO. You can (and would be well advised to) spend money on cover art, editing, and marketing. However, I strongly advise you against paying someone to self-publish your work. That’s not self-publishing; that’s subsidy publishing. Think of it this way: writing is your job. Do people with a job pay someone to do it? No, they get paid to do it.


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