If you’ve set yourself a New Year’s resolution to write a novel or short story for the first time during 2015, it’s very easy to be daunted by such a task.
There are so many things to learn! Plot structure, outlining, story beats – and what the heck is a pantser anyway?
On top of the actual writing, you’re going to want to start learning about the businessof writing – the marketing aspects, pitching to publishers if you intend to follow the traditional route, gaining a following on social media, etc.
Where on earth do you begin?
Don’t panic, for a start. Next, have a look at some of the writing advice guides on the market. These are perfect for any writer, regardless of experience, and particularly for those not able to afford to join a writing centre or courses.
Listed below are some of the books about the writing business that I’ve discovered over the past couple of years, and I continue to dip into these because they’re all written in such a great, no-nonsense way that I expect to have these in my ‘go to’ library for quite some time!
You can click on the images below to access the Amazon pages for these recommendations:
Chuck Sambuchino – Create Your Writer Platform
I read this for the first time last Christmas, and have recommended it to numerous other writers.
Chuck Sambuchino is an author and editor who you might have discovered on the Writers Digest blog.
This book was truly an eye-opener for me – I’m looking at my copy on the desk now and it’s covered in blue sticky flags and Post-it notes.
As well as covering the basics of having a website, social media pages, and a blog, Create Your Writer Platform goes into greater detail about search engine optimisation, content marketing, and creating an online voice for your writing.
On the social media side of things, Sambuchino takes you through the basics of such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest, as well as showcasing some of the tricks involved in using these.
In addition, there are heaps of detailed case studies in the book, from authors of all different backgrounds – from fiction, memoir and non-fiction (including cookery, health and education), so there is something for all writers here.
Joanna Penn – Business for Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur
I’d already read and enjoyed Joanna Penn’s excellent How to Market a Book last year and bookmarked the majority of the pages, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one when it was released last year.
Business for Authors does exactly what it says – it takes you through the steps required to market and sell your work, as well as covering the importance of having a plan so you have some sort of framework to guide you.
Note that this isn’t a financial or legal guide, but a great way to learn how to approach your writing as a business.
The book is broken down into logical sections and the author conveys the information in such a way that you don’t feel swamped by it all, but are left feeling rather inspired instead – perfect!
If you’re starting out, I think this is a great book to read because once you’ve completed your current project, you’re going to be ahead of the game when it comes to making the most of that opportunity.
Sean Platt, Johnny B Truant and David Wright –Write. Publish. Repeat.
Confession time. When I was waiting for my editor to review Before Nightfall last year, I basically bummed around and did nothing, then spent a few weeks organising all the promotional stuff required for the book’s release.
I now look back at those weeks as wasted time. What I should have been doing was writing the next book. Luckily I saw the error of my ways once the book was out, and have since created some new habits, but I really wish I’d read this book in January of last year!
Write. Publish. Repeat is a fun book to read – the way the authors write is in such a entertaining, irreverent way that you forget they’re kicking you up the backside to do exactly what the title says.
Except it’s more than that, because they drum into you the importance of having writing projects lined up at different stages too. Trust me, Write. Publish. Repeat. is a keeper.
There you go – a clutch of books to help fire you up about your writing this year. Hopefully the above will go some way to help your realise your writing resolutions for 2015 – I’d love to hear from you to know how you’re getting on!