Want to Publish? 5 Books You Should Read First

If you’re wondering what books you should read to advance your authorship dreams then you’re in the right place.

5 Books You Should Read If You Want to Publish a Book. 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 book recommendations.

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. So yeah, that’s why I think these are books you should read if you want to publish a book.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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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.


The Creative Compass

The Creative Compass: Writing Your Way from Inspiration to Publication

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! [175]).

Fast Fiction

Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First-Draft Novel in Thirty Days

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.

self-publishing versus traditional publishing Review Header

How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing (A Field Guide for Authors)

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.

Creative Collaborations

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy

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

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.

5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. 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.

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.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. 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.
5 Books You Should Read if You Want to Publish a Book. 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.

How to Write a Book | 4 Steps to Get Started

If you want to know how to write a book you’re in the right place.

is it time to write your book | 4 steps to get started

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place.

And if you know you need a solid plan in order to write your book then I’m your biggest fan.

Would you like free writing tips? Sign up for my weekly tips & tricks, from one writer to another at robynroste.com/writing-tips.
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So you’ve decided to write a book

For better or worse, I’m results-driven more than idea-driven. I love finishing.

Therefore, when a great idea comes up, the first thing I do is break it down into smaller pieces and figure out how to make it happen.

I know this approach isn’t as exciting as allowing adrenaline to fuel your writing passion. But what’s the goal here, to feel good or to finish writing your book?

Over the years I’ve helped organizations and individuals publish many, many pieces (articles, books, magazines and more) on deadline. Which is more difficult than you may think.

More often than not the writing part of the process comes down to four steps:

  • Find your why
  • Choose your theme
  • Find your genre
  • Schedule writing time

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

Do you want the worksheets that go with this training?

I’ve created worksheets to complement this training, available for download. This is a free resource but it’s part of my resource library and you’ll need a password. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the resource library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Now, on to the training.

How to write a book

Step one: Find your why

Think about why you want to write a book and also why you’re the right person to do it. If you take a few minutes to figure out your why you may find you have many reasons. Try and choose a main (primary) reason. This primary why will help you create the rest of your book-writing (and marketing) plan.

Here are examples of possible why’s:

  • Build an audience or platform
  • Be known as an authority in your area
  • Make money
  • Tell an important story people need to hear

There are no wrong answers here. One person’s why isn’t morally superior to another’s why. Be honest and figure out the primary reason behind why you want to write a book.

Write it down.

This will help keep you motivated when it stops being fun and starts being hard work.

Elements in a well-rounded author platform

Step two: Choose your theme

The next step is choosing your book’s theme. Every story has a theme—an overarching point. In her book Story Sparks, author Denise Jaden asks writers to review seven simple themes and choose the one that they’d most like to read a book about.

  1. Love
  2. Faith
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Trust
  5. Survival
  6. Honour
  7. Acceptance

From here, once you have a focus word, you can take it deeper. Instead of “love” your theme may become “love conquers all” or “love comes at a price.”

Find that driving point behind your story an write it down. This will help you develop your story line and characters down the road.

Step three: Find your genre

This step is super practical. You need to know which genre your book fits into so you know what your word count should be. Because, yes, there are rules and the word count change based on your genre.

In general, the main objections I hear to this step are around following the rules or choosing just one genre. Trust me when I say, in general you should follow the rules. Please. For everyone’s sake. Also, this step will help you SO MUCH with step four.

Once you know your genre then you’ll have a word count range for your book. If you’re at this stage, check out the genre/word count list I’ve curated.

(Psst it’s also in the worksheets in my resource library.)

You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet

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Step four: create a writing schedule

Once you know what genre your book is you’ll know more or less how many words you need to write. See? Super practical! Your next step is decide when you want to complete your first draft. This can be arbitrary but it should be realistic. Once you have a date in mind, work backwards, breaking your word count goals into months and then days.

A few things to keep in mind

First, figure out how many words per day you can write. It’s different for everyone so learn what works best for you and build your schedule around it.

Second, build a realistic writing schedule. To write a book you need blocks of focused time. How much do you have available? What do you need to put in place to protect it?

Third, create strategies so you stick to your schedule. There will be days you don’t feel like writing. Find ways to write anyway.

When creating a writing schedule make sure to answer these questions:

  • What’s your deadline for finishing your first draft?
  • How many words is your book going to be?
  • Break it down, how many days per week are you going to write?
  • How many words can you write per day?
  • How many words per day do you need to write to meet your deadline?

If you want more on this, check out my training on creating a writing schedule.

if you want to write a book, following these four steps will help you accomplish your goal

I work as a project manager for my day job, which often looks like bossing people around and saying no to things.

In reality, a project manager brings big ideas to life and organizes tasks in a way that makes it possible for the team to get things done.

This role helps people prioritize and keeps an eye on the big picture. It’s a thankless job but an important one, nonetheless.

When I first took on this role it took me a while to realize most people don’t think like I do. Motivated by enthusiasm and emotion, people tend to dive into exciting tasks without thinking about how it will go or when it should end.

Then, when it becomes cumbersome and less fun…and other projects come up…it gets put aside, unfinished.

The people I’ve met at my workshops and speaking events are much the same.

They get a great idea for a book and dive into writing with little (or no) regard to when they want to finish or how long it’s going to be. And then, when the project becomes messy or other ideas crop up…the great idea gets left behind on the hard drive, unfinished.

My goal is to help more people finish their big, exciting projects by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable and realistic steps. I hope this training has helped you! Please let me know how you fare.

By the way, I taught this workshop from June 13 to 15, 2019 at Write Canada.

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

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.

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If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next, you’re in the right place. This workbook will guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing.

Wondering about a Literary Agent? Here are the Benefits

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor.

While it’s not required to have an agent to get a traditional book deal, most writers recommend having one.

Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

Benefits of having a literary agent

Since they’re up-to-date with the latest book publishing trends and have in-depth market knowledge, literary agents are positioned to handle the business end of writing—allowing you to focus on the writing end of writing.

I met an author who told me how he got a book deal without an agent. I’m glad to meet someone who had a positive publishing experience this way but I have questions.

  • Why did he skip this step?
  • What made him want to pursue traditional publishing on his own?
  • Would he do it again for his next book?

Free download: Is It time to write your book?

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next then this is the right worksheet for you. First, I’ll guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing. Then I’ll help you determine why you’re writing a book, decide on your theme and genre and schedule writing time.

This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by signing up here. Just pop your email address into the form below. Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Here are a few ways having a literary agent benefits a writer

Legitimate agents work on commission so they don’t get paid unless you do. Talk about common interests! You can rest assured they have your best interests at heart.

Agents have a strong knowledge of the publishing business and have access to major publishing houses. They know they right people working in the right places and can get those doors open quicker than you can.

They read a lot and know what sells. Literary agents know good writing, they know the market and they know what editors are looking for. They know what you need to do to get a book deal.

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Recommended!

And my personal favourite

Think of a literary agent as a connector. They connect authors with the appropriate publisher, negotiate the best deals possible and mediate any issues between the writer and editor that may arise during the book publishing process.

If you want a literary agent take some time researching the different ones out there and make a list of ones you think are a good fit for you and your writing. You find a literary agent through querying your book. While there aren’t really “types” of literary agents they all have different areas of expertise and preferred genre.

Obtaining a literary agent isn’t necessary if you’re self-publishing a book. You may consider hiring a publicist or business coach, but these are different roles than what a literary agent plays.

Other posts you’ll find helpful

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Highly recommended!

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.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. Highly recommended!
it's not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal

When to Query a Book | Fiction and Non-Fiction

On this long and winding road called the publishing journey there’s the question of when to query a book. The answer isn’t too mind blowing but it comes up enough that it’s worth covering.

When to query a book

The answer of when to query a book is different for fiction and non-fiction, and there are different answers within non-fiction as well. Here are the basics.

When to query a book: fiction

If you’re querying a fiction book it both needs to be 100 per cent finished and revised/edited. In other words, your book needs to be complete.

One pub tip I read from an agent read she shouldn’t be the first person to read your book. Good advice!

When to query a book: non-fiction

This is a bit trickier to answer but I’ll try. The best advice is to check out the agent or editor you’re querying and see what their requirements are—because it seems like all non-fiction agents/editors want similar yet different things.

If you’re writing memoir or narrative non-fiction then your manuscript needs to be complete before querying (same as fiction).

However, if you’re writing prescriptive non-fiction then you do not need to have a finished manuscript before querying.

elevator pitch templates

By the way, are you stumped for how to put together a pitch about your book? I’ve created two elevator pitch templates as a free download to my resource library. They’re versatile and can work for any project.

This is a freebie you’ll need a password to access the library itself. You can get the password by popping your email address into the form below.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the “freelancing” section and look for “Elevator Pitch Templates.”

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I’m pleased about the prescriptive non-fiction rules because it’s what I’m writing but I’ve learned you still need to have the book figured out and, like, thought through because you need an amazing book proposal should you get past the query stage.

And another hitch with prescriptive non-fiction is you need a significant platform in order to get an agent or editor. I know. But you just do.

Since learning this I can see many reasons for holding off on querying even if you’re manuscript or proposal is ready.

Because getting an agent or editor isn’t the only moving target in this adventure—there is so much more to consider.

So. We’re all excited and just want to query the heck out of our books. But I challenge you to ask yourself if you’re really ready.

Is your manuscript ready? Is your platform ready? Are you ready?

If you have considered these questions then you know when to query a book.

Extra credit: What are the best times to query a literary agent? from Writer’s Digest

More about non-fiction publishing

On this long and winding road called the publishing journey there's the question of when to query a book. The answer is changes for fiction and non-fiction.

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.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
On this long and winding road called the publishing journey there's the question of when to query a book. The answer is changes for fiction and non-fiction.

Self-Published? 4 Book Promotion Tips for Authors

You’ve worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That’s a lot of work. So…now what do you do?

Self-published now what

In an ideal world you, the author, would have worked out your marketing plan before you wrote and self-published your book.

But from what I see and hear from the authors I know and work with…it doesn’t happen that way.

The drive to write and publish becomes a hyper-focal point and no “you should plan your marketing!” bird chirping in the background will make any difference.

And if the entire goal is to get the book done and self-published then this is an awesome accomplishment.

However, if selling the book is the goal then there are a few more steps to take. Well, maybe a lot more.

…Or maybe you’re thinking about writing a book, but you haven’t yet

If you want to write a book but don’t know what to do next then this is the right workshop for you.

First, I’ll guide you through the four steps you need to take BEFORE you start writing. Then I’ll help you determine why you’re writing a book, decide on your theme and genre and schedule writing time.

I have a free mini-worksheet available in my resource library. Just pop your email address into the form below and I’ll email you the password. Once you’re in the library, navigate to the writing section and look for “You’ve Decided to Write a Book Worksheet.”

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Once you’ve self-published your book the next step is to market it to your ideal readers

In essence this is simple—put your book in front of the people who will love it.

Except finding those people is not always easy.

You have to dissect your book and figure out what type of reader would be interested in your writing style and subject matter.

And then you need to find them…

  • What stores do they shop in?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What is their favourite social media platform?
  • What are their biggest fears?
  • Another thing, what do they care most about?
  • And what type of marketing will they best respond to?

There are a lot of ways you can find your ideal reader (or book buyer, however you want to see it) so it’s important not just to parrot what you see others doing online but to find something that works for you and feels natural.

Self-Published? 4 Book Promotion Tips for Authors

If you are stuck for ideas here are a few you can consider to help market your self-published book.

  • If you’re looking to find new readers make the e-version of your book free and find a way to add them to your email list. This way you can nurture them and (hopefully) sell them your next book
  • Need sales fast? Run ads on platforms where your ideal readers are—consider Facebook, Amazon, BookBub, KDP Countdown, etc.
    If you want to dive deeper into ads here’s a helpful post from David Gaughran
  • Set up local readings or offer to speak free at local events in order to promote your book
  • Go on an online book tour (wondering how to set it up? Here’s a guide from Book Marketing Tools)

Other posts authors will like

You've worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! But now what do you do?

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.

Get Access to My Free Resource Library

* indicates required
You've worked hard for a while writing your book and then you worked hard and self-published your book. Wow! Well done! That's a lot of work. So...now what do you do? #writing #selfpublish