If you’re wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you’re in the right place.
These are my top five pics for laser-focused, practical advice for everything from finding your story to deciding what type of publishing to pursue.
Books you should read if you want to publish a book
I’ve arranged my “books you should read” recommendations into a bit of a road map: figuring out what to write, outlining and drafting, deciding whether to self-publish or pursue traditional publishing, collaborating with other writers and influencers and getting book reviews. It’s the publishing journey if you will. The actual writing, that’s up to you.
This book could be for the writer who isn’t exactly sure HOW to write a book. Yes, it’s that practical. It could also be for the writer who has an idealistic outlook on what writing and publishing will be like.
Kind of a reality check without being a jerk about it.
When it comes to writing, we can develop our skills and boost our talent through thoughtful practice…. By continuing to write, we build stamina and patience, eventually exceeding our own standards to the extend that we can raise them.The Creative Compass (117)
What I learned: every idea starts with passion, meets with discouragement and must be battled with persistence.
When writing the most important thing is to find a way to keep going despite the hard work, stress, lack of confidence and insecurity.
DREAM, DRAFT, DEVELOP, REFINE, SHARE
I spent a lot of time in the last third of the book. I underlined, wrote notes, even wrote “Amen!” beside especially good quotes (“If a sentence expresses an essential idea, advances plot, reveals character, or conveys relevant sensory detail that contributes to emotional effect or atmosphere then it’s probably worth keeping…. If not—snip, snip” Amen! ).
Even if you don’t call yourself a writer you might want to write a book. There are so many stories waiting to be told and, who knows, you might be the person to tell it.
What’s great about author Denise Jaden’s latest book Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days is she makes you feel like digging out the story deep inside you is possible.
And the 30 days thing? Bonus.
I’ve wanted to write a book for a while now, maybe forever. As a kid I drafted a 100-page Choose Your Own Adventure of twin girls who get lost in Mexico while trying to find an orphanage (scary part—I experienced this trip IRL 10 years later with a friend…) and for the last two years I have felt like it’s time to try for real.
And I have. Tried that is. But I keep getting stuck and I have never known why.
Fast Fiction tells me why: I didn’t know how to write a book. I didn’t plan it beforehand, I just sat down at the computer and expected it to come together.
After reading Jaden’s book I finally get it. I do have a book in me I just didn’t have the tools to dig it out.
Although the title aptly summarizes the six chapters, I wanted to add it’s not just for those wondering which method of publishing to pursue.
This book works to change the question from “Which one should I choose?” to “How can I utilize these tools best to support my goals?”
I loved Rachelle Gardner’s straightforward approach to this complex question. She spends time analysing the pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing. As well she works to dispel common self-publishing myths and makes it crystal clear that self-publishing should not be an excuse to publish poor writing.
This short read is packed with material and is perfect for people who aren’t quite sure where to start with publishing, people who want to understand all the different publishing options, and people looking for credible resources to get started.
Did I mention chapter six is all about resources?
In my opinion, this is where the real value of this book comes in. It lists further information on self-publishing, how to get an agent, where to look for editors, reputable book cover designers and more.
The Internet says collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. OK, that makes sense.
And Kirsten Oliphant says it’s like roller derby. I had to think about this for a bit because I don’t know anything about roller derby but I think I get it: you stop being a lone wolf and instead become a teammate.
You work with others to achieve a common goal.
That sounds nice in theory, but isn’t setting up creative collaborations with your competitors risky?
The risks: You could get burned, you could have your work stolen, you could be let down. All of this could happen when you work with others.
However, there are also potential benefits:
- You could grow strategic partnerships that bring you further than you could go on your own
- Also, you could make new friends
- Another possibility is you could join a tribe where you feel encouraged, strengthened and inspired to keep moving forward
Throughout Creative Collaborations, Oliphant overviews different types of collaborations, builds an argument for why we need creative collaborations, teaches the difference between good and bad collaborations, cautions about legal implications when collaborating, and gives tips for creating life-changing collaborations.
If you’re wondering how collaborations can change your business (and maybe your life), you will love this book.
How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers) (Volume 3)
Why you need reviews (I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well):
Reviews are platform builders
Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.
Reviews are resources for endorsements
Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get them with book reviews!
Reviews can be networking tools
Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.
Once you’re convinced you should get book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for.
It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.
If it’s time to do marketing, get this book.
These are my top five books you should read
All five of these books you should read recommendations are quick and practical with a ton of actionable advice.
The big idea is you’ll read through them and then apply what you learn. My hope is you’ll move the needle forward as a result of reading these books.
One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.