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7 Must-Have Books For Writers

How To Write A BookThere are all sorts of books for writers. Here are my reviews on seven of them I consider truly important in no particular order:

  1. The Well-Fed Writer – probably now a classic, but an extremely practical one, Peter Bowerman introduces corporate writing and tells you both how to do it and how to sell it. Even if you think you don’t want to do corporate writing, you need the marketing information in this book because it can be used for any type of writing.
  2. The Well-Fed Self-Publisher – here Bowerman tells you how to be a successful self or independent publisher. Contains one of the best descriptions of trade publishing I’ve ever read. A must for anyone even remotely considering self-publishing. And even if you’ve got a book contract, you need this book to help you market your book – you need to market your book no matter who publishes it.
  3. The Soul of Money is not a book about writing. Of course, every writer I know needs to deal with money; this book can inform and transform your relationship with money.

  4. Mainstream Author Self Publishes – there are actually two books reviewed here, one by Stephen Covey and the other by Steve Weber. Both are worth reading. It’s also important to think about how self- or independent publishing is changing the world of both writers and books.
  5. Writer’s Market is the annual that keeps writers in touch with the ever-changing market for article writers and book writers. The deluxe edition comes with an online membership which provides constantly updated marketing information.
  6. Bird by Bird – you don’t have to postpone reading this classic as long as I did. It’s both fun and helpful to read, one of those books I dip into whenever I need a writing lift.
  7. 1001 Ways to Market Your Book is just that, over a thousand ways you can market your book. You’re unlikely to get through every one, but using any of them will increase your sales.

Which are your favorite books more or less about writing?


{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Thanks Anne,

    Wow – I’m honored to make the top 2 slots! I’m glad you found them so best-of-list-worthy! 😉 And, of course, The Well-Fed Writer was updated last year so it’s pretty current.

    Great books suggested here, and I have a lot of them as well. Only one I didn’t see mentioned and which is (and has always been) my MOST-used reference on my shelf by far, and The Mother of All Thesauri… Rodale’s Synonym Finder.

    You’ll thank me for this one…;)


  • 1. The Courage to Write – Ralph Keyes
    2. On Writing – Stephen King
    3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Brown and King
    4. Eats, Shoots and Leaves (forgot author and I’m too lazy to get up and look, LOL!)
    5. Write Tight – William Brohaugh

    Those are my favorites right now. There was another one, “Don’t Sabotage Your Submission,” (forgot person again), which helped me immeasurably in revision.
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Shiny New =-.

  • I was very happy to see this list. “Bird by Bird” is always on my bedside table and I re-read it often. I am currently making my way through “The Well-Fed Writer” as well. Then, I’ll check out some of the others.

    • Anne

      Love it when people agree with me – 😉

  • Love your list, Anne. I have a few of those myself.

    The Elements of Style. We should practice, and study, our craft every day.

    Also, I’m a fan of Harbrace College Handbook. It’s great going through it in little bits to play with grammar and test my own ability.

  • I wish I had this list a few weeks ago when I was looking for business books to buy myself for my birthday!

    Fortunately, I do have some of these. It looks like I’ll just have to start another wish list for myself…
    .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Are You Trapped in the Writing Web? =-.

    • Anne

      I love my wishlist over at Amazon… often I’ve totally forgotten what I put there so it’s a wonderful surprise.

  • Anne,

    Great List! I’d like to add three super writing books by great newspapermen. Each has tips and strategies that work for all writing, not just newspapers.

    A Writer’s Coach by Jack Hart. Jack is a newspaper writing coach, and he definately delivers on his tagline: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies That Work.

    A second one would be Writing for Your Readers by Donald Murray, which is chock full of advice and tips.

    And third :Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. This gem includes excercises that help you put your newly learned skills to work immediately.

    • Anne

      Obviously I have some reading to do!

  • Great stuff, Anne and everyone sharing their stuff. For your electronic bookshelf, you must have Jennifer Mattern’s Web Writer’s Guide, Press Releases Made Easy and You Can Attract New Freelance Writing Clients (Even in a Recession), Also Yolander Prinzel’s You Found Your Specialty, Now What?
    .-= Jessie Haynes / JHaynesWriter´s last blog ..Formula Alone is Not Enough – A Freelance Writer is More than a Word Robot =-.

    • Anne

      Amazing how much good stuff is out there!

  • Tracey – Good choice with Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It’s actually on my living room end table now. Not only is the book a good teacher, but it allows for plenty of chuckles. One of my favorites.
    .-= Deb Ng´s last blog ..How to Raise Your Freelace Writing Bar and Get the Big Bucks =-.

    • Anne

      Love books that entertain while teaching.

  • Tracey

    On Writing by Stephen King

    The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

    Spider, Spin Me a Web: A Handbook for Fiction Writers and Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, both by Lawrence Block

    The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

    Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Connor

    The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication edited by Therese Eiben and Mary Gannon, with the staff of Poets & Writers Magazine

    The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes

    Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

    Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block by Jane Anne Staw, Ph.D.

    On Writing Well by William Zinsser

    • Anne

      Oh yes, Block’s books on writing, even tho’ I’ve never gotten that mystery written. And The Courage to Write reminds me of The Courage to Create by Rollo May. Another good one that’s not about writing.

  • “Bird by Bird” is one of my favorites as well. I also love Stephen King’s “On Writing,” Ray Bradbury’s “Zen in the Art of Writing,” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” All great reads!
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom review =-.

  • I second King’s “On Writing” and would also like to add a couple of truly oldy but goodies:
    “The Art of Readable Writing by Rudolf Flesch” and “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. Nice list, Anne.
    .-= Deb Ng´s last blog ..How to Raise Your Freelace Writing Bar and Get the Big Bucks =-.

    • Anne

      Hmm, Deb. I don’t know those… thanks

  • I like On Writing by Stephen King and The Wealthy Writer by Michael Meanwell.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Procrastination Kills Your Freelance Writing Business =-.

  • MAKING A LITERARY LIFE by Carolyn See (my absolute favorite)



    THUNDER AND LIGHTNING by Natalie Goldberg
    .-= Devon Ellington´s last blog ..Tuesday, February 23, 2010 =-.

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