The best artist always looks to improve their craft, whether they are just starting out or have many years of experience. And for those of us who self-publish, we not only have to continually improve our craft, we also have to stay ahead of the game on how to publish and market our work. The good news is that there’s lots of advice out there. The bad news is that there’s lots of advice out there. Finding out what works for you can be difficult. I’ve read many books over the past few years, some were incredibly helpful, others less so.
The problem is that writing is a very individual task. Advice that works for one person will be useless for another. However, despite that I thought I’d share the books that have helped me the most, both with my writing and to help publish and market my books. I hope you find them as useful as I have.
You will notice I’ve not recommended On Writing by Stephen King. This isn’t because it isn’t useful (it is), but because everybody recommends it so if you haven’t read it by now, it’s unlikely you ever will!
Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman
This is an excellent book that helps a writer go from telling to showing. It lists a series of emotions and then lists examples of how it manifests physically, internally, the mental responses it provokes, cues to long-term exposure to the emotion and cues that somebody is suppression the emotion.
I found this incredibly useful when starting out and also after having written for a while and catching myself using the same phrasings on multiple occasions.
To buy The Emotion Thesaurus from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy The Emotion Thesaurus from Amazon.com click here
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
This is a great, how-to guide on the steps to go through to edit your own work, whether to get it into shape before passing it on to an editor, or to go on to publish. It helped provided much needed structure when editing my first book and I still follow its principles today.
To buy Self-Editing for Fiction Writers from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Self-Editing for Fiction Writers from Amazon.com click here
2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron
Want to speed up your productivity? This book gives no-nonsense, concise and practical advice on how to improve your daily word count, with the added bonus of also going through the whole writing process to boot. I read it in an afternoon and it was probably the best afternoon’s read I’ve ever had.
To buy 2,000 to 10,000 from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy 2,000 to 10,000 from Amazon.com click here
How not to write a novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark
This is a very funny guide to the many mistakes a writer can make when writing a novel. The book is split into sections on plot, character, style, perspective and voice, world building and selling your novel, with excellent made-up examples to demonstrate the points made. While reading this book can be occasionally painful (as in, “my God I do that”) it is always helpful and never patronising.
To buy How not to write a novel from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy How not to write a novel from Amazon.com click here
While this book gives good advice, its real strength lies in the very successful Lamont’s openness about her insecurities and fears about her own writing (even now), and the struggles she underwent before becoming successful. By the end you’ll be reassured that the doubts you have about your writing abilities are completely natural.
To buy Bird by Bird from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Bird by Bird from Amazon.com click here
Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
In this newly revised book, Gaughran rakes you through the nuts and bolts of how to self-publish with clear instruction that anybody could follow. It then moves on to how to market your book, and ends with a series of stories from self-published authors who started with nothing and went on to become a success. Then, if that wasn’t enough, come a series of appendices including checklists leading up to and post-publishing, how to set up mailing lists, advice on how to create paperback books and specific support for authors of short stories. If you are serious about self-publishing, you should own this book.
To buy Let’s Get Digital from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Let’s Get Digital from Amazon.com click here
Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran
The follow up to Let’s Get Digital, in this book Gaughran provides clear, concise advice about how to give your book the best chance to be seen through knowledge of Amazon’s search and ranking systems. I used this book extensively when setting up my novels on Amazon and it helped me both understand how Amazon rankings worked as well as made sure I avoided any pitfalls that could have had my books disappear into the black hole of oblivion.
To buy Let’s Get Visible from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Let’s Get Visible from Amazon.com click here
Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant
This book was an eye-opener. The good news is that it provides a great guide on the best (but not guaranteed) way to build a self-publishing career. The bad news is that there are no short cuts and no magic beans. It’s all down to working hard, treating writing as a job and producing lots of high quality content.
To buy Write, Publish, Repeat from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Write, Publish, Repeat from Amazon.com click here
10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book: Online Book Marketing on Any Budget by Scott Hughes
This book is a quick and easy guide to book promotion. The steps are clearly described and achievable – although step 1 is by far the hardest one of all. The only step I would query is around guest blogs, only because from my experience and the feedback of many other authors, it doesn’t deliver the results that other activities do for the same amount of work. However, this is just one small gripe. There is a little bit of self- (or should I say website) promotion in the book but I have no problem with that considering it was free. Overall, a good simple guide, especially useful for those starting on the self-publishing path.
To buy 10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy 10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book from Amazon.com click here
Your first 1000 copies by Tim Grahl
This book is all about marketing your book and gives a step-by-step guide to establishing a connection system which will help you sell your first 1000 books. The steps are straightforward but as with many other books I’ve read, a lot of it is down to hard work. However, for the serious self-publisher, this book is a must.
To buy Your first 1000 copies from Amazon.co.uk click here
To buy Your first 1000 copies from Amazon.com click here
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