Want to become a better writer?

While I have always loved to read, I started writing later in life without the benefit of an education in literature. Since I began my career as an author, I have been devouring books to improve my craft.

Here are some of the books I have read and recommend to my fellow authors:

Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should 

By David Gaughran

For any author on the self-publishing journey, this book introduces you to the basics. It is a great starter book that simplifies the journey and highlights the most important aspects.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

By Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott welcomes you into her life and bares her mind to you in this book. This is no easy task for most of us. It is almost like shedding one’s clothes and allowing the world to see you vulnerable.

Anne shows a budding writer how to do this with humor and self-deprecation. There is nothing earth-shattering revealed in this book about writing. Most of the advice offered here would be familiar to any aspiring writer or an experienced writer wanting to improve their craft.

Still, I found it useful to read this book, if only to know my struggles as a writer are not unique to me.

Recommend: For aspiring and experienced writers who want to hone their craft. 

Characters and Viewpoint 

By Orson Scott Card

As an author, I like to read books that help me improve my craft. This book is written in an easy-to-read style while imparting a lot of knowledge. I enjoyed the writing samples sprinkled throughout the book that conveyed information more readily.
For my Land of Magadha series, I choose first-person POV because a few fantasies I had read used it. This book discussed all the POV and its merits. I might use third-person limited POV for my next series based on what I learned here.
I recommend this book for aspiring writers and current writers.

Writing the Blockbuster Novel

By Albert Zuckerman

As an author, I am constantly looking to improve my craft. This book gave me a lot to think about.

Daily Meditations: Writer Tips For 100 Days

By David Garland

This book is available for free on the author’s website. I read it slowly, about a chapter or two a day. Lots of nuggets for writers on how to become better. Highly recommend for novice writers.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

By Orson Scott Card

I write historical fiction currently. I plan to write a historical fantasy series soon, so I decided to read this book. While the marketing sections are outdated, the craft of writing SF/Fantasy is still very relevant and has many useful tidbits about world-building.

Recommend for new authors or new to SFF authors.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

By Stephen King

f you read one book on writing, make it this. An authentic voice is such an elusive thing. Stephen King does it so effortlessly. 

To imagine him facing near-death halfway through the text and still producing such a great book speaks to his skills as an author.

I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it to all my author friends.

Wired for Story

By Lisa Cron

Stories have been with us since we lived in caves. We crave them and know instinctively as a reader what makes a good story. But this skill does not translate so easily when we are writing. 

I realized this when I wrote the first draft of Heir to Malla. I knew the story, characters, and plot very well. I could imagine each scene vividly. But when I wrote it down, I left key parts out. My mind filled the blanks. Unfortunately, since my readers cannot read my mind, they were left in the dark. Thankfully, with the help of my editor, I fixed this in subsequent drafts. 

This book spells it all out for us authors—how to craft a story that resonates with our readers—along with common pitfalls to avoid—plus an insight into the human brain.

I recommend this book to all my fellow authors who want to better their craft. 

Story Genius

By Lisa Cron

Nothing in this book is earth-shattering. As readers, we instinctively recognize a great story. But that same instinct does not serve us well while writing our first (or fourth) novel. Writing seems to require a different set of thinking neurons. 

Author Lisa Cron gives readers a step-by-step blueprint to write a layered, nuanced, and engaging novel.

As we write more books, we will develop our own shortcuts. In the meantime, the techniques mentioned in this book, especially asking Why, will serve authors well.

Recommend for aspiring authors and for ones interested in improving their craft.

Newsletter Ninja

By Tammi Labrecque

Recommend this book to all authors who want to start a newsletter and to authors struggling to engage readers in their current newsletter.

In easy-to-understand terms, Tammi shows us how to engage and keep our fans happy. And unlike other social media, newsletters use one of our existing talents as writers, our ability to create magic with words.

This book is a keeper on my bookshelves.

How To Market A Book

By Joanna Penn

While several of the tactics mentioned in the book are outdated, the overall strategies are still very valid for marketing fiction and non-fiction books. The other neat thing is this book highlights the other books, websites, podcasts, and blogs so an author like me can continue improving our craft.