Every week I try to think of something scintillating to write on my blog. (I know – shocker! I do think about it, honest.) This week, as I wracked/racked my brains to think of a topic, any topic, I read somewhere that “blogging comes easily to writers” because apparently it’s what we do. Not true. I mean yes, writers write – but I for one am almost permanently stumped for ideas of things to write on here – which is why it’s now Thursday and you are only just reading my Tuesday blog… I have read many books on all things writerly over the last thirty-five years. And I’ve bought even more (some I still haven’t read). Some of them have changed my life – no exaggeration.
In fact if you do want to make money from writing, there is some to be made in writing how-to books for those with the expertise. There is a vast selection of books available to help us as writers hone our skills in one specialist area or all areas generally.
So this week I thought I would indulge myself – here is a list of all the books about writing and writing technique or self-publishing or promotion that I have found helpful. I hope you do too – I heartily recommend these, and if any of the authors mentioned below are reading this – bribes are now acceptable by pay pal.
In no particular order:
Stephen King – On Writing – (everyone raves about this book, with justification. Honest, sometimes painfully.)
Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter – What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers (great prompting)
Douglas Wynn – The Crime Writer’s Handbook (I’ve got lots of page markers in this one) (get a used copy – the new one is listed at £81 on Amazon!!!)
Michael Boxwell – Make An Ebook (fab straightforward easy stuff for the average Joe or Josephine who wants to go it alone in the eBook world)
Ruby Barnes – The New Author (more brill stuff for ePublication and ‘new media’)
Barry Turner (Editor) – The Writer’s Handbook Guide to Crime Writing (also really expensive new! But full of great stuff.)
Robert R Ray and Jack Remick – The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery (for me – worked well but not on its own – see Louise Doughty below)
Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs – See Jane Write (brilliant and hilarious)
Carole Blake – From Pitch To Publication (the serious biz)
Dorothea Brande – Becoming A Writer (this is the one that changed my life and showed me how to become a writer when those around me said I couldn’t; some critics have complained about its exercises – I found them helpful, especially in the beginning. It is still in print after 80 years – that tells you something! I hope the same can one day be said for a book of mine. Once I fell asleep writing morning pages as per this book, and woke up with the notebook on my chest, a pen in one hand and my alarm clock in the other; the worst thing was, I couldn’t remember all the wonderful stuff I wrote in my dream!)
Mary Wibberley – To Writers With Love – (I think only used copies available – but I found it helpful even though it is intended as a guide for authors of romance in the old-school style (1970s.) I particularly liked her bit about not tinkering with your draft until it’s finished!)
Andre Jute – Writing a Thriller
Louise Doughty – A Novel In a Year (I used in conjunction with The Weekend Novelist as above; and found it very useful in finding a new approach to characters)
Seumas Gallacher – self-publishing steps to successful sales (an alliteration nightmare but one of the most useful books I’ve read on the topic of platform-building and promotions)
James Scott Bell – Write your novel from the middle (interesting and very helpful and inspiring.)
K S Brooks – Indies Unlimited’s Tutorials and Tools for prospering in a digital age vol 2 – (this is probably the most useful book I have read concerning how us writers can put down our pen and notebooks and get out there in the virtual world – I have referred to this time and again and only got it two months ago – there are other publications by them and I will definitely get those in due course.)
Nancy J Cohen – Writing the Cozy Mystery – (shortish, sweet, and practical. Loved it.)
Them’s all you need! Anything else is just icing on the cake. I’ve got quite a few others, these are the ones that actually helped. If there is a book I haven’t mentioned that you found really helpful, please let me know, I’ll give it a go!