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Books I Recommend to Writer Friends

I recently completed an eight-part series answering the question “How does one go about getting a book published?” Some of my writer friends are now asking, “What books would you recommend to get us started, and keep us moving, toward that goal of book publication?”

I’m glad someone asked, expressing their confidence in my opinion about this question. I often find myself drawn to other writers’ lists of what books they have found helpful. Perhaps the books they found helped them will also help me in some way. Among those many lists, however, I’ve noticed two kinds of books that have been most helpful to me.

First, there are some books that consistently are included in practically every writer’s list. Generally, these are what have become “classics” among writers. My list includes several of those.

Second, every once in a while, a title shows up in a list that I have never seen in any other list. I’m especially interested in those, and I check them out. Sometimes they prove to be duds, helpful only to the person who listed them, speaking to their individual writing need at that moment. But other times they are real keepers for me. My list includes some of those, too.

Following are ten books I would recommend to every writer or wannabe. They have helped me, and I think they might help you, too.

Realize, however, that this list might change tomorrow, because I’m always reading and just might run across a book that deserves to supplant one or two on this list. But I don’t think that’s likely because the following books are evergreens. They’ve proven to be helpful to an awful lot of writers over a long period of time.

First on my list is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White (yes, the E.B. White who wrote Charlotte’s Web).

Second, Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.  (Spoiler alert: It has absolutely nothing to do with Buddhism.)

Third, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.

Fourth, Writing With Quiet Hands by Paula Munier.

Fifth, Called to Create by Jordan Raynor. (This is especially applicable to Christian writers.)

Sixth, A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld.

Seventh, The On-Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy. (This is not technically a book on writing, but it will help writers get, and keep, “on purpose” with their writing.)

Eighth, On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

Ninth, Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest Books.  (Just be sure to use the current edition. Editors change positions quickly, and publishers’ needs change over time.)

Tenth, Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press. (I learned on the 14th edition and still prefer it, but they seem to come out with a new edition every year, and I simply can’t afford to upgrade as often as they change.)

Do you have other titles that have helped you as a writer? Share your own list with other readers of this blog in the comments section below.

Successful reading–and writing!

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