Books about how to write/publish

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EntityMarin

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So my friend recommended "Become a successful Indie Author by: Criag Martelle" and its a lot of info but it really tells you everything you have to do and everything you can do to help you self-publish. What are books you have read that has helped you on this journey?
 

Unimportant

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How to write and how to publish are two different areas.

For the former, I recommend:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Renny & King)
Word Painting (McClanahan)
On Writing (S King)
The Elements of Style (Strunk & White)

On Absolute Write:
Learning to Plot
Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 1
Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, Volume 2
(yeah, they're long, but well worth reading in their entirety. Uncle Jim is James Macdonald, a highly successful and respected F/SF writer)

Genre-specific:
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (OS Card)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (DW Jones)
 
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lorna_w

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I couldn't even list all the craft books I've found useful. (or remember them!) Story Engineering, Techniques of the Selling Writer, and Save the Cat all helped me grasp plot/structure. I really like Lisa Cron's two newish books on brain research and how that tells us what works about story, one being Wired for Story. I think it was an older O.S. Card book that helped me grasp POV better back when I was but a pup.

Business? That's harder because business changes. For self-publishers, I like Gaughran's Let's Get Digital because he keeps it updated. James Scott Bell has self-published one How To Make a Living as a Writer, which is getting a little old, but he's usually right about everything he says, and another of his that's about what it's title suggest it's about: The Mental Game of Writing, I have on my Kindle and dip back into now and again.

I've also read a whole lot of entrepreneurship books that are not specific to books. Atomic Habits is good on productivity. I've read the 80/20 books, and the thought is good, and yet you can grasp the basics by reading the wikipedia article instead.
 
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Thecla

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Seconding Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasy Land, 'cos a) it's by DWJ and b) it is hilarious and spot on.

I'd also suggest Ursula K. le Guin's Steering the Craft. It is helpful and not didactic. She is very good at showing the different ways in which writing can be done. It's the single most useful book on writing I've read.

I also like Christopher Booker's The Seven Basic Plots. I don't always agree with it (or him) but I found it useful when thinking about stories in their entirety. Others find books about how to put them together useful, story beats, and scenes, graphical outlines, and so on, but I never have. Maybe I think backwards, rather than forwards, being a pantser not a plotter. Horses for courses. It's the product that matters, not the process.

No idea on how to publish. There must be books that talk one through the nuts and bolts of putting a book together for self pubbing but others will have to name them. Sorry.
 
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Pat Waldron

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Whenever I see a discussion of how to write books I have to mention Dean Wesley Smith. He has authored over 200 novels and he does it using right-brained thinking and a few tricks, like fixing problems as soon as you think of them, not worrying, writing the next sentence, and keeping short notes on chapters after they're written.

Another book is mine, somebody mention it for me, please? I think there's a rule against self-promotion here. Is it showing up in my signature, yet?
 

Maryn

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It does show in your signature, Pat. Your memory’s solid about not using AW to self promote, but congratulations on its completion.

Maryn, away from home and wildly overheated
 

dickson

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It’s true that, of books on how to write, there is no end. Even so, I benefited from reading a few:

1. Walter Mosely’s This is the year you write your novel. A quick read, witty, good advice. When I read it, I was surprised to learn that even W. Mosely gets rejections. Now, not so much . . .

2. Howard Mittelmark’s How not to write a novel. Mittelmark must have had a blast concocting examples of awful writing. Glad to say I laughed more than I winced, reading it.

3. Finally, here’s a plug for Graves and Hodge’s classic Reader over your Shoulder. This is not so much about writing fiction as it is about what makes good writing.