Advice for Fellow Indie Writers

Here you can find advice directly from J.V.R. to her fellow Indie authors. This advice will ALWAYS be free. J.V.R. is NOT being paid to promote ANY items, software, or services that are talked about on this page. Also, MOST of the products, software, or services talked about here are FREE and therefore give you (the author) a new tool in your belt to improve yourself as a writer and/or to create more presence online, as well as asserting your rights to your work(s).

We hope you’ll find this page useful. If you have any questions about certain posts please fill out a form on the Contacts & Links page here on this site.




Many indie authors I’ve come across have one really big issue…their book cover. Most of them end up asking me: “Who does your book covers?” and “How much did you pay for them?”

The answer to the first is, I do my own book covers. The answer to the second is it was free.

It can be very difficult to find an illustrator who is willing to do book covers for an author on a budget (which most of us indies are), not to mention all the many websites who claim that their photos are copyright free so you can use them, but in the info section of their websites they always say “if any issues of copyright come up contact us” which basically means they have no definite proof that the photo you’re gonna use is truly copyright free. Which in turn can lead to you being dragged into court and sued for copyright infringement just because you didn’t inquire fully which the website doesn’t really let you do to begin with.

So, what is a writer to do? How do you keep from getting sued? How do you get the look you want? How do you create a cover? And how the heck do you do it for free?

Answer: Gimp.

Gimp is a software that is completely FREE! It works similar to the very expensive program called Photoshop. You can create different images, drawings, add filters, and other artistic ideas to create the look you’re looking for.

There are many free plugins that you can download such as different kinds of brushes, colored pencils, or filters that create a specific type of artistic design based off of algorithms for you to use with simple clicks of your mouse.

If you are lost or confused, there are many tutorials both on their site as well as YouTube.

Search for: “How to make flame words with Gimp”  on YouTube and this video comes up:

It’s fast paced but free and works.


Play around with the program, learn and discover a new way to get the result you wish without running a risk of copyright infringement lawsuit, and without pouring out money to an artist who may not get the correct feel for your work.

I have used this program for several years and haven’t had a problem with it yet. I use it for my book covers as well as my book trailers. I highly recommend it. (I am not being asked or being paid to promote this item by anyone).

Here is the website for the software:

I’d love to see some of the ideas you come up with using this program. Feel free to message our Facebook page or use the “Contacts and Links” page through this website.

This tip is posted here as a reference guide I hold no legal responsibility if you decide to use it and if any issues may arise!

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My fellow writers, I have recently come across many websites claiming to sell my book for FREE through their sites or through services that their sites are subscribed to. Here is one example, this website is claiming that anyone can just download a pdf file of my book:

website trying to sell my book

At first, you make think that this would be a great thing: “Oh, another site I can gain sales from.”

If that’s what you’re thinking you’d be wrong! This site has NO intentions on actually paying for the product. The “customer” in this case would be getting your hard worked material (my series for example took years to create) for FREE if they sign up for a service through their sites provider. In other words…you get NOTHING and the people who acquire your book through this site cannot give you reviews via Amazon even if they loved it.

This is what’s called “Copyright Infringement” unauthorized use of your intellectual property.

Personally my book is ONLY allowed to be advertised by me, JVR the copyright holder, and it is ONLY  allowed to be sold through and it certainly isn’t free!

So…what do you do? How do you make sure that your rights aren’t being violated, how do you find out if this is happening to your material?

  • Q-1: How do I find out if this is happening to my material?

A-1:  Google yourself. Yes, it sounds egocentric and cheesy but it’s the best way to find out if there are “other” sites online that are distributing or even claiming to distribute you material. Make sure that the sight(s) you have found hasn’t been allowed by you in the past. For example, a friend posted on their about your material on their site two years ago but you gave them permission, this sort of thing will pop up on your search even if it was 5 years ago. Be sure (as memory serves) that you have not given the site(s) you’ve found permission to show, sell, or advertise your material(s).


  • Q-2: I’ve found a site that has no authorization to sell or advertise my book, what do I do now?

A-1: Almost ALL of these sites have what’s called a DMCA page here’s an example:

website trying to sell my book-2

Sometimes it’s hidden at the very bottom of the website too, you may have to hunt for it.

Once you have found the DMCA page left click on it and select in the pop up side box “Open in new tab.”

In this new tab, it will give you detailed instructions of what to do if you feel your rights have been violated.


website trying to sell my book-3


Now this is a REALLY long list of what they need and to prove who you are ect.

I have come up with a “generic” email that has proven effective and so far all the sites that the email I’ve sent to have taken down the page giving away my book without permission.

Just for my fellow indie writers and friends here who just happen to read my new page I’ll post the email here.

Note: You will need to prove that you are who you say you are. Scan a copy of your Copyright page from the Copyright office and black out all the private information using your “Paint” program on your computer. Here’s an example:

website trying to sell my book-5


Be sure to have “Copy” written clearly at the top of the paper. For privacy reasons I have not posted the picture of the entire document in this post but when you copy it into your email to them you will need to do so.


  • Q-3: Ok so I’ve scanned my copyright proof, blacked out all the private info, found their DMCA page…now what?

A-3: You will need to look for their email address, here is an example:

website trying to sell my book-4


Now go into your email account and type out in the “Send to:” section their email address. For proof of sending it to them you might want to “CC” a copy of the email to yourself as well.

In the Subject: line write “Copyright Infringement!”

Here is the email you could use when sending :


The name of your material here is NOT free, and is NOT authorized to be sold or advertised on or through any site without authorization of the copyright holder your name here.

You are hereby warned to correct your error immediately! Remove ALL books by your name here from your site! If you fail to take action to correct this error on your part you put this site in legal jeopardy.

In good faith, I your name here believe that the use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by me the copyright owner, and I consider your offing of my book to constitute copyright infringement of my work on your part. Pasted into this email is a COPY of the Certificate of Registration from the United States Copyright office in my name alone. Cease and desist offering ANY works by me, your name here on this site or any other of your sites immediately!

This was your sites link: Paste here the URL of the page that showed your book on their site

This is my email: Write your contact email here

Paste (not attach) the picture of your copyright proof here



NOTE This is my own personal creation if this email does not work for you feel free to change it or to seek legal advice. This email is posted here as a reference guide I hold no legal responsibility if you decide to use it and if any issues may arise!

That being said I hope you find this information useful, and I hope it helps keep what is rightfully yours, yours. Till next time my fellow writers.

I’ll try to write an article every two weeks or so. Ta

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