New writers often ask what is the best how-to book out there, from which they might learn, well, everything. And I am no different. A lifelong learner and former teacher of English, I naturally look for a book when I need information. And I have found quite a few, both traditionally published so that I can hold them in my hands, and e-books that are easy to carry around on my iPad.
9 How-To Books for Writers on my iPad
- Write Away: One Writer’s Approach to the Novel by Elizabeth George
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
- Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Sue Viders et al
- The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins
- 20 High Octane Book Writing, Publishing and Marketing Tips by Judy Cullins
- Profit, Passion and Partnership: Entrepreneur Success Strategies edited by Gail Martin
- Getting Started Writing Children’s Picture Books: A Step-by-Step Miniguide by Laura Backes
- Sexy Self Promotion: The Art of Blogger Outreach by Amy Schmittauer
12 How-To Books for Writers on my Book Shelves
- How To Write and Sell Your First Novel by Oscar Collier
- How I Write by Janet Evanovich
- A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins
- How to Get a Literary Agent by Larsen
- Get Published! by Driscoll and Gedymin
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Browne and King
- Self Publishing in Canada by Suzanne Anderson
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (I have both the e-book and the paperback)
- This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley
- Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
I hesitate to tell readers which of these have been most useful as I believe that each of us comes to the writing desk with individual abilities. I don’t really need a book about grammar usage as my early education took care of that. (But I still have Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.) Conversely my background did not prepare me for the publishing world so you will see a number of books about ways to publish.
Nevertheless, there are books here which have elicited epiphanies from me and I go back to them again and again. Collier’s book was my first foray into novel writing and I hoovered it, soaking up the one true way (I thought) to write a publishable book. Since then, I’ve learned much more from such writers as Anne Lamott, with her famous Bird by Bird, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King. These books assume you know a lot already and take you much farther into your writing journey.
A couple of the books here I have not finished as I’m always reading more than one at a time and just lose sight of one upon the exciting discovery of another. There are some in my lists which I will never finish as they just don’t suit my individual needs or they are just too elementary. King’s On Writing is special both for its information and the fact that it’s written by a very successful writer. Who else should we listen to?
I keep adding to my collection as I’m sure all writers do, both to add to my knowledge and to revel in the words of other people who love the written word.
What is your favorite book on writing? Is there one good tip you learned which has totally changed some part of your writing? Consider leaving a comment below.