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.

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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.

Home Made Lovely [Book Review] | Simple Design Tips

Home Made Lovely, written by Toronto interior designer Shannon Acheson, makes creating a beautiful home accessible for even the most design-inept.

Image is a styled, minimalist photograph of a white table with a teal coffee cup, a small cactus, and a white picture frame on it. Overlaid is an image of the book cover for Home Made Lovely by Shannon Acheson.

Design-inept people like me!

Decorating and styling are things I try to stay away from if I can, mostly because I’m so insecure about my taste. As in, do I have any?

Although to be honest, interior design is something I have an urge to figure out. Because I love how colour and decor and placement can make such a huge and special impact on the way people feel.

Interior surroundings have the ability to evoke either a negative or positive emotional response. Everything from colors, to natural elements, to ceiling height and lighting affects how we feel when we walk into a room.

Home Made Lovely, 17

Seems like magic. I want to do magic.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGaBTMBA2KU/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Home Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted Review

The book’s beautiful cover, the blurb and the subtitle’s promise I could create the home I’ve always dreamed of were the trifecta. I needed to read this book.

And when Home Made Lovely arrived I dove right in, flipping to find all the exciting and modern inspo I’ve been craving, especially since being stuck at home for the past year.

And…quickly learned this is more of a words-driven book than images-driven book. Like, there are some, but not many.

I don’t know why, but I expected lots of styled images to demonstrate the decorating tips and tricks. I guess because that’s what I’m used to in design books.

So I set the book aside for a bit until I had more time to go through the text-heavy glossy pages with more mindful intention.

Good news though, I came back to it. Because I really do want to figure out this design thing. And what I mean by that: I want a low-maintenence, comfortable and inviting home I want to hang out in and am proud of.

Here’s what I discovered.

Author Shannon Acheson says there are four steps to creating a lovely home.

  1. Decide to love where you live
  2. Declutter and make room for life
  3. Decorate in an uncomplicated way
  4. Embrace lovely, “scruffy” hospitality

I’ve written before about how I’m a nervous host. Like, I do enjoy hosting people (deep, deep down) but I get all in my head about it, stressing about everything ahead of time and then worrying during the visit.

  • Are they having fun?
  • Are they bored?
  • Did I do something wrong/offensive/etc.?

A bit later in this section, Acheson says the right kind of decor can calm even the most anxious heart. I love the idea of creating a safe space that can have this powerful positive effect. (For myself and others.)

Can I do that on my own? Is it possible? Do I have the creative wiles?

Before getting into the actual prescriptive “how to make your home lovely” tips, there’s a chapter on learning how to be grateful for your current home. There’s even space to write down what you DO love about your home.

I love the idea of focusing on abundance rather than lack. Such a good place to start.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFcONtpnijx/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The 3-Step Decorating Process

Part three of Home Made Lovely focuses on these steps.

  • Find Your Decorating Style (Step 1)
  • Create Your Master Plan (Step 2)
  • Decorate One Room at a Time (Step 3)

In Step 1 you learn about the different home styles and design styles, as well as what shapes, colours and decorations help represent that style. There is space to jot down your personal preferences and discover your style.

In Step 2 you learn about colour…and colour theory…and how to create a colour scheme. So helpful!

And in Step 3 it’s decorating time! There are lots of lighting tips as well as some review of wall coverings and art. While there are some sketches and photos, I would have definitely loved more examples here. This is where I really struggle with design insecurity.

Do these items go together? Does this work? Is this cluttered?

The final section of Home Made Lovely focuses on hospitality. There are all sorts of tips for creating a space for entertaining visitors in a way that is comfortable and relaxing for everyone.

I love this section so much. I thought I was looking for design tips (and, well, I am) but I think figuring out how to create some “house rules” and welcoming spaces is going to make more impact that what colour I paint or which lamp shape I end up choosing for my sitting room.

Acheson says a big part of the “lovely home experience” is, in fact, the experience. But many of us (ME) make excuses to avoid inviting people into our spaces because we think our homes and hospitality should look a way we aren’t managing to pull off.

Decorating should be about those who live there, rather than making your home into a magazine-worthy spread.

Instead, what if we focused on creating a welcoming space?

Somewhere people feel like they can relax and be themselves…and where you can too. Isn’t that better than having the most up-to-date styling and Instagrammable wall coverings?

To me? Yes.

Home Made Lovely: Creating the Home You’ve Always Wanted SYnopsis

Everyone wants a home that is beautiful and clutter free. But most of us are unsure how to get there without breaking the bank. Popular interior designer Shannon Acheson takes the guesswork out of creating a lovely home. Home Made Lovely is a mind-set: decorating should be about those who live there, rather than making your home into a magazine-worthy spread. Shannon walks you through how to

  • decorate in a way that suits your family’s real life
  • declutter in seven simple steps
  • perform a house blessing to dedicate your home to God
  • be thankful for your current home and what you already have
  • brush up on hospitality with more than 20 actionable ideas that will make anyone feel welcome and loved in your home

In Home Made Lovely, Shannon meets you right where you are on your home-decorating journey, helping you share the peace of Christ with family members and guests.

About Shannon Acheson

Shannon Acheson is a mostly self-taught designer, decorator, writer, and stylist. Although she has completed her interior design training, she’d much rather teach you how to decorate your own home than do it for you. She is the editor and designer behind the design and lifestyle company and blog HomeMadeLovely.com. Her happy place is in the suburbs of Toronto, where she is a Homebody with a capital H, a Jesus girl, a happy wife to Dean, and a homeschooling mom of three teenagers. Learn more at www.homemadelovely.com.

Other Book Reviews

Home Made Lovely, written by Toronto interior designer Shannon Acheson, makes creating a beautiful home accessible for even the most design-inept. Design-inept people like me! Decorating and styling are things I try to stay away from if I can, mostly because I'm so insecure about my taste. As in, do I have any?

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

Thanks to Graf-Martin Communications for providing a review copy of Home Made Lovely.

You Should Be Writing [Book Review]

No matter if you’re a professional or a hobbyist, you know you should be writing. It’s like an internal drumbeat. Always there, always beating, never relenting.

You Should Be Writing by Brenda Knight and Nita Sweeney. Book with lavendar on the cover

So, what do you do about it?

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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A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving Forward

I love craft books. At any time of the year. But this one is especially intriguing because it’s a bit off the beaten path. For me.

Slotted in the “quotation reference” genre.

It’s a thing!

Also, the pitch is great! It says it’s a book to help me “write to document, reflect and heal.”

This isn’t my usual approach to the craft, since I do this as my profession. I write to eat, live and work.

So you understand why I want to explore a different, more emotional side.

There isn’t much to the book, subtitled as “a journal of inspiration and instruction to keep your pen moving.” There’s a bit of intro and then pages and pages of lines, waiting for you to fill them.

Each page begins with an inspirational quote. And the quotes are organized into topical sections.

You’ll be encouraged to find the topic or quote that inspires that creative spark. And then…it’s time to write.

If you’re a bit blocked or are looking for a book of prompts to aid your creative exploration, this is an excellent option.

You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration and Instruction to Keep Your Pen MOving Synopsis

From famous all-time-great poets like T.S. Eliot to modern creatives like Roxane Gay, the selected writing quotes in this journal aim to instruct and inspire you to become a better writer.

Writing Inspiration from Incredible Authors

Gathered by Brenda Knight and writing coach Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving TargetYou Should Be Writing provides you with writing wisdom from a variety of accomplished authors.

Writing Practice on Every Page

This journal is a must-have for writers everywhere. With quotes from a diverse group of historical and modern authors to use as creative prompts on every page, you’ll be able to bring your writing inspiration with you wherever you go. You’ll find plenty of great advice, such as Toni Morrison’s encouragement, “As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure―which is important; some people don’t―and fix it.”

Creative Writing Practice for Every Genre

This writing journal with prompts helps you practice a wide variety of writing skills. The excerpts and prompts include:

  • General advice: “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” —Zadie Smith
  • Helpful instructions: “If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your reader will surely feel that you care nothing about them.” —Kurt Vonnegut
  • Genre-specific writing ideas and tips for particular areas of writing, such as poetry or storytelling: “For those whose bucket-list entails seeing their name on the spine of a book, it boils down to the power of persistence.” —Marlene Wagman-Geller

If you were inspired by the creative writing prompts and advice in 642 Things to Write AboutComplete the Story Journal, or Piccadilly 300 Writing Prompts, you’ll love Brenda’s and Nita’s You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving.

You Should Be Writing was published on June 16, 2020 by Mango Publishing.

Other Literary posts you may like

No matter if you're a professional or a hobbyist, you know you should be writing. It's like an internal drumbeat. Always there, always beating, never relenting. So, what do you do about it? This quotation reference book will help.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy 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

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No matter if you're a professional or a hobbyist, you know you should be writing. It's like an internal drumbeat. Always there, always beating, never relenting. So, what do you do about it? This quotation reference book will help.

The Author’s Checklist by Elizabeth Kracht Book Review

The Author’s Checklist is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, helpful list.

The Author’s Checklist An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript

Agent, editor and author Elizabeth Kracht based her book on common issues she noticed in the thousands of manuscripts she has read over the years.

There is a significant gap between manuscripts that writers believe to be ready for publication and those that agents or other publishing professionals do.

Elizabeth K. Kracht

Kracht came to the publishing industry from the author side. Now on the agent side, she wants to bridge the gap between authors and agents.

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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The Author’s Checklist helps authors identify weak points in their manuscript. The goal? Kracht wants to empower writers to fix common writing errors. Why? So they can become published authors.

Offering tips for authors at every stage of their writing journey, the A-Z headings contain short snippets of helpful advice and recommendations.

Some sections are definitions explaining concepts and jargon. Others act more like warnings. (For example, under “Word Count” the first sentence reads, “Word count matters.”) Other headings include “Proofreading,” “Collections,” and “Voice.”

Here’s an excerpt from one of the tips about how unsolicited queries go. Found under “Agency Guidelines,” I found it especially enlightening.

At most agencies, unsolicited submissions are first read by an intern or reader rather than by an agent. Often these readers are highly educated English majors seeking to enter the publishing industry. Such readers can be less tolerant of mistakes such as typographical errors and failure to follow submission guidelines.

Elizabeth K. Kracht

Hmm.

I think I relate to this piece in particular because I’ve eased up with my stringent editing/gatekeeping as I’ve matured in my career. And I’m only just realizing it.

I was SO picky when I was a new writer/editor taking submissions. I wanted everything perfect. Just so. No, exactly so.

Now? Decidedly more tolerant. Interesting. And a good nugget to keep in mind.

Anyway, the tips included in this book aren’t overbearing or too bossy.

They’re handy for catching slippery errors and making them right. The tips are also excellent explanations for what to expect when you’re querying. And there’s some good advice for how to make your book better in general.

The simple solution? Don’t take shortcuts. No matter how much urgency you feel to get your book out there. Do it right. Think through every aspect of your writing and prepare to dive deep. You’ll get there, you just have to do the work.

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript was published on February 4, 2020 by New World Library.

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, totally helpful checklist.

The Author’s Checklist Synopsis

An Indispensable Guide for All Writers in All Genres

The bad news: even really good manuscripts have weak spots that are enough to garner rejections from agents and publishers. The good news: most of these problems are easy to fix—once the writer sees and understands them. After several years of evaluating manuscripts, literary agent Elizabeth Kracht noticed that many submissions had similar problems, so she began to make a list of the pitfalls. The Author’s Checklist offers her short, easy-to-implement bites of advice, illustrated by inspiring—and cautionary—real-world examples. Most aspiring authors yearn for a friend in book publishing. The Author’s Checklist is just that.

Other writing-related book reviews

The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, totally helpful checklist.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy 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 with you. As I learn new tips and tricks about writing and marketing I make sure to add new resources to the library.

While this is a free resource, I do require a password to access the library to keep it exclusive for my email subscribers. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.

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Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us [Book Review]

This March commemorates the 85th annual Boekenweek. It’s a festival celebrating Dutch and Flemish literature and this year’s theme is “rebels and dissenters.” How wonderful!

Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us

Boekenweek | The Darkness that Divides Us

Thanks to World Editions, I’m participating in Boekenweek by reading and reviewing The Darkness that Divides Us by Renate Dorrestein, an important contemporary writer from the Netherlands.

This is a gripping tale of Lucy, a young Dutch child, whose life is changed forever when an incident on a stormy night sends her mother to prison for murder.

I found the story both chilling and captivating. And shrouded in mystery.

Broken into three parts, the first is told from the voice of observers, so the reader isn’t quite sure what happened to Lucy (then age 6) on that fateful night.

When the narrator switches to Lucy in the second part, the reader doesn’t learn much more. Turns out Lucy, now 12, is wilfully forgetting the past. Or perhaps repressing her memories.

It’s not until the final part when Lucy at age 18 finally confronts her past, her memories and her guilt. We all learn together what happened when she was an innocent six-year-old child. I cheered in hope that the truth would finally set her free so she could face the future with her former zeal.

The Darkness that Divides Us quote page 322

The Darkness that Divides us asks an important question about whether looking back or moving forward is the important thing. It also circles around the themes of how keeping secrets separates you from freedom and telling the truth, although horrible at the time perhaps, will save you from prison, real or imagined.

I found the literary devices Dorrestein chose intriguing (she writes the first section as a collective “we”—three six-year-olds!). Her writing challenges me to try new, more daring writing styles.

This is not something I would normally read but I’m glad I did, for many reasons.

The Darkness that Divides Us Synopsis

Beautiful, happy people? No.

Lucy is the most popular girl in the local elementary school of an idyllic Dutch housing estate. When a bizarre crime rocks her world and sends her mother to prison, Lucy is turned into an outcast and her childhood becomes an ordeal of constant, vicious bullying. After her mother’s release, Lucy’s family decides to escape and make a clean start on a rugged Scottish island. But even here, in this remote corner of the world, Lucy’s past holds a firm grip on her. Told in the alternating voices of the bullies and Lucy, this darkly atmospheric and emotionally gripping story is part family drama and part mystery.

About Boekenweek

In the Netherlands, Boekenweek (Book Week) is an annual celebration of literature, happening every Spring since 1935. Events are held across the country during Boekenweek, and include book signings, readings, and panel discussions. Every year, a well-known Dutch author is asked to write a novella specifically for Boekenweek that is given out for free in bookstores to each customer who purchases a book. These books then act as tickets for a free train ride anywhere in the country. In 2016, World Editions author Esther Gerritsen (RoxyCraving) wrote the Boekenweek gift of which 600,000 copies were handed out.

Other Fiction Reviews

Thanks to World Editions, I'm participating in Boekenweek by reading and reviewing The Darkness that Divides Us by author Renate Dorrestein, an important contemporary writer from the Netherlands.

One more thing. I think you’ll enjoy 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

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