Whether you're an author or a publisher or both, your best resources will always be your knowledge of your target market(s) and your mechanisms for understanding and communicating with targeted readers, including relatively new tools such as email newsletters, websites and social media posts and time-tested tools such as talks, events, and plain old conversations in person and by phone.
The resources described below will help in a variety of ways as you work to reach your target markets and to navigate – and stay afloat in -- today’s complex publishing world.
The Authors Guild
The best bread-and-butter group for professional writers, The Authors Guild gives its members access to a broad range of benefits, including contract review and advice, insurance services, discussions and programs about issues affecting authors, a feisty and informative newsletter, and help with publishing disputes. Authors of published books, freelance writers and self-published writers who meet specified earnings criteria qualify for membership.
Poets & Writers, Inc.
A nonprofit organization that serves poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, P&W publishes Poets & Writers magazine, which offers how-to pieces, profiles, and comprehensive lists of literary grants and awards, deadlines, and prize winners, among other things. And it has a website that includes databases of literary magazines and journals, small and independent presses, literary agents, MFA programs, and writing contests.
IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association
Open to self-publishers as well as to independent publishers of all other descriptions, the Independent Book Publishers Association, formerly known as PMA, provides a cornucopia of marketing opportunities and how-to advice designed to make it easier to manage the publishing process. Check the website for specifics about member benefits.
Book Industry Study Group
The only association that serves the full book publishing industry, BISG concentrates on standardized best practices, research and education as it works to facilitate solutions to common problems, advance new ideas, and make the industry more efficient and profitable. Publishers (including self-publishers) who become members have a chance to shape the industry’s tools and processes by participating in BISG committees.
Editorial Freelancers Association
When you need an editor, copy editor or other expert but don't want to hire an employee, try EFA. Its online member directory includes editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, and translators. As always and of course, you should check references and make sure the terms of all assignments are clear and in writing. Also of course, you might join to be listed if you want to sell relevant services (see also mediabistro.com).
Michael Cader's website is a masterpiece designed for publishing professionals. Once you pay the modest fee, you can use its databases to get information about specific deals, dealmakers, agents, editors and more, and you’ll also get the Deluxe version of Publishers Lunch, Cader's incisive daily e-newsletter. A free version of Lunch is available too but the money you spend for the Deluxe version and all the marketplace data promises to be money well spent.
Digital Book World’s Daily
Billed as a one-stop shop for the daily information you need to build your digital publishing business and career, the DBW newsletter presents introductory snippets from a variety of informative articles and links to the full text.
Joel Friedlander provides "practical advice to help build better books" via his site, his blog and the books he himself has written, including A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish, The Self-Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide (which he wrote with Betty Kelly Sargent), and The Self-Publisher’s Quick & Easy Guide to Print on Demand.
Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers, by Thomas Woll.
Drawing on his experiences as a publisher and as a consultant to publishers, Tom Woll created a book crammed with solid nuts-and-bolts advice about everything from acquisitions to metadata and sales for everyone who runs or wants to run a publishing business. Information about Woll's consulting company: Cross River Publishing Consultants, Inc., is available at pubconsultants.com.
Self-Publishers Legal Handbook, by Helen Sedwick
This step-by-step guide for handling legal issues related to self-publishing and blogging deals with setting up a business, using self-publishing service companies, hiring designers, editors, and other freelancers, and a panoply of intellectual property issues that may arise. Helen Sedwick’s blog posts are accessible on her site and offer a wealth of information too.
“The Legal Side of Endorsements and Testimonials” and other articles by Steve Gillen
A partner in the intellectual property firm of Wood Herron & Evans, Steve Gillen has focused his practice on publishing and media matters for thirty-five years. Look here for advice about dealing with piracy, negotiating with printers, using third-party photographs, making foreign-rights deals, and more.
Handbook for Academic Authors, by Beth Luey
A comprehensive, comprehensible guide for anyone who’s working on articles for scholarly journals or on textbooks and other books for the academic market in today’s digital world.
Encyclopedia of Associations
A stellar source of information about readers you may well need to reach, this is a conduit to more than 23,000 groups committed to all sorts of causes and activities. You can get it at your library and use the key word index to zero in on the people who will welcome news of your book and help you spread the word about it.
American Book Trade Directory
Look here for information about more than 20,000 book retailers and more than 800 wholesalers. Try your library for a copy and take advantage of the Types-of-Stores Index to identify places where your work should sell well.
Pushcart's Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections: A History of Insult, a Solace to Writers, edited by Bill Henderson and André Bernard.
This is a great pick-me-up for those times when turndowns get you down, Entries show you what editors said as they spurned The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Lolita and a host of other titles they must have gone on to kick themselves about, along with what critics said in reviews they must have regretted.