Top 12 Books For Writers: Step Up Your Game, Improve Your Craft, & Get Published
While not all readers are writers, all writers must be readers. Whether you write non-fiction, young adult, editorial content, online blogs, or something totally different, every writer needs a select few books on their shelves. And I don’t just mean Stephen King novels. Beyond the dreaded MLA Handbook or even the oft recommended and best-selling book The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, you can find easy-to-digest reference books for every facet of the writer life. Ready to step up your game, improve your craft, and get published? Here is your definitive shortlist of the top 10 books for writers.
Books for Writers On Style, Reference, and Grammar
You can’t fly before you crawl, so we have to start with the basics (please, stifle your scoffs). Every writer had the essential rules drilled into them throughout grade school, but the rules of language are constantly changing. Merriam Webster adds new words every year and grammar rules are changing, too.
Keep up with the classics with The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition and The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment.
One can’t forget, however, that rules can only go so far.
Style has just as much to do with the quality of writing as the basic structure, syntax, and organization. A Writer’s Reference walks the line of a refresher course, style guide, and rulebook all at the same time.
The next book by Roy Peter Clark is a game changer. Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer tackles tons of different aspects of writing. Roy took the time to organize content into sections with fun titles such as:
- “Nuts and Bolts”
- “Special Effects”
- “Blueprints for Stories”
- “Useful Habits”
No matter what your focus may be, you still use words, grammar, and organization in your work. Every writer needs a pick-me-up every now and then!
Books For Writers on Blogging & Online Media
Some writers may feel that blogging is not in their wheelhouse or that it can’t be useful regarding research and academics. Regardless of outward appearances, blogging for your own personal growth can be an effective tool to spur the creative process and increase productivity. Not only can you expand or focus your brand, and create a substantial portfolio of work, but you can even generate revenue with blogging.
The Badass Blog Planner is a great resource for “middle of the road” bloggers in that it gives you guidance regarding the following aspects:
- Content creation
- Content calendars
- Clarity of message and brand
- Social media guidance
- Comparative brainstorm assistance
For those writers who may be less experienced, but want to break into the world of blogging, try How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul. Don’t let the title scare you off; this book contains tons of juicy tips and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited for free!
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites is for those writers who want to make themselves even more marketable. What’s better than an awesome writer with top notch grammar skills? A writer who can code. Throw in some SEO knowledge, and you become quite the dangerous (and successful) freelancer.
Books for Writers On Publishing
Not all writers are content with online content or ad revenue. Some prefer to “kick it old school” and get published. Now, more than ever, it is the time for writers to pursue publishing opportunities for themselves.
Start with the book Writer’s Market 2017: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published. It’s a #1 bestseller — and for good reason. It’s basically a huge cheat sheet! There are even special editions for novel and short story writers, poets, and songwriters among others. However, getting published is one feat to accomplish, but getting to a point where you can pursue publishing is another matter entirely.
Whether you are a full-time freelancer or you just write in your free time, getting published on a budget can be a huge challenge. The book Writer on a Budget: Insider Tips & Resources to Help You Write, Polish, Publish, and Market Your Book At Minimal Cost aims at focusing on the financial requirements of being a writer while also helping you get published.
Books for Writers on Work, Routine, & Freelancing
Lastly, if you’re a freelance writer, you’re going to want these two books which cover the overall lifestyle of writers. It may come as a shock to people new to the writing biz, but this creative process can be very draining. Writer’s Block or procrastination are both symptoms of not giving your mind the rest it needs to recharge. The book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind has a very long title, but a great message. Self-care, routine, and mindfulness can really amp up your writing.
The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms will come in handy for those of us who may have to write different kinds of content over any given week. Freelancers often work on tons of different projects, so you have to approach each one with a different mindset. Again, self-care, routine, and mindfulness can transform a stressful schedule into an effortless creative adventure! Well….maybe not effortless. Let’s say “productive” instead.
Here’s a quick bonus book to add to your shelves: The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work. It’s not like the Annie Dillard book because these stories come from various acclaimed writers, rather than just one. It comes from a long-running Washington Post column and gives voice to the numerous experiences we writers undergo on our creative journeys. You can learn from their mistakes or just revel in the vindication and validation. Regardless, if you’re missing even one of these books — good news! — they are all available on Amazon.
Have any recommendations for other must-have books for writers? Let us know in the comments below!