It's safe to say that writers are usually prolific readers too. Over in the AskALLi team, we thought we would collate a mid-year reading list for you, whether you're on a beach, or huddled up by a fire, this mega-list will help to stock up your e-readers and bookshelves full of books every indie should read. This is ALLi's books for indie authors.
Writing Craft Books
We all want to sell more books, but without being able to write a solid novel with a great storyline, characters that draw readers in and story that hooks a reader, we won't sell many copies. Craft is the basis of being an author. In our selection below, are a range of craft books from plotting and understanding story structure through to character creation and prose.
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder recommended by Tim Lewis, the perfect book for helping you plot your story using Hollywood techniques.
The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger recommended by Sara Rosett because it gave her a new way of looking at story and plot. “Turns out, I was writing the heroine journey all along and didn’t know it!”
Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith, recommended by Val Neil. Val says “It's a good book if you’re a discovery writer but feeling guilty about it. My only caveat is it’s a very short read, like 40 pages.
Plot. Write. Promote: Writing And Selling Your Novel by Jane Holland. Recommended by EM Powell. EM's Goodreads review says: “Jane's warts-and-all descriptions of some of the issues she's faced in her career are great fun but also a valuable insight into the ups and downs of publishing.”
Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn, recommended by Dan Holloway. Dan says, “This is the book that gave us the term “portal fantasy”, for anyone whose work involves characters that cross any threshold, magical, real, or metaphorical this is the one book you have to read.”
Mindset is the basis of every successful long term business. Grit is required by every creative to get through the dark days, the low sales months, and equally, to keep your feet on the ground when the sales boom, the positive reviews pour in and the praise is plentiful. Good days or bad, mindset is everything when it comes to creating a prospering creative business.
Messy by Tim Harford. Recommended by Dan Holloway, Dan says “The book that tells you it's not only OK not to be a planner but that it can be positively beneficial”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn. Both recommended by Tiffany Dickinson. Tiffany says:
“I read both twice, then gifted The War of Art to two creatives I know. Pressfield kicked me in the butt while making me laugh, and I appreciate Penn's transparency and realism in her non-fiction.”
The Indie Author Mindset by Adam Croft
Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca Syme
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Whether we like it or not, money is a crucial part of a business. We need to earn it, save it, invest it and use it wisely. But positive money mindset is hard to come by, as is money education. These books will help you build the foundations of your financial knowledge.
Marketing can be a topic riddled with resistance. We're creatives, selling But, to sell books, we must learn to market. Whether it's advertising, platform building, branding or social media, we must find a way to market and promote our books. This list will help you grow your marketing knowledge.
Influence by Robert Cialdini recommended by Tim Lewis, this book gives you a great understanding of the psychology of influencing others.
Release Strategies by Craig Martelle, recommended by Val Neil. Val says, “He [Martelle] breaks down various release strategies so you can figure out which one works best for you. He also includes extremely detailed pre-launch checklists.”
Susan Appleyard recommends any of David Gaughran‘s books, Susan says, “David Gaughran writes with a thoroughly-researched knowledge of his subject and a dose of humour.”
Becci Lousie agrees with Susan, but specifically recommends Following by David Gaughran “I loved this book!”
The Smarter Screen by Shlomo Benartzi, and recommended by Dan Holloway. “Takes online marketing down to the real mechanics by looking at the science of what people look at first when presented with a website”
Also recommended by Becci is Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque. A firm favorite by anyone wanting to improve their newsletter skills.
Wide for the Win and Killing it on Kobo by Mark Lefebvre. If you want to take your books wide, this book is for you. Packed with advice and strategies, it's a fantastic guide to wide marketing and mindset.
Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen
Romance Your Brand: Building a Marketable Genre Fiction Series by Zoe York
How to Write A Series: A Guide to Series Types and Structure plus Troubleshooting Tips and Marketing Tactics by Sara Rosett
How to Market a Book by Ricardo Fayet
Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart: A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media by Janet Murray
The moment you publish a book, the moment you sell your first copy, you're in business. Many creatives recoil from that fact, but it's important to embrace your creative business and nurture it until it prospers. This list of books will help you foster growth in your creative business.
- Creative Self-Publishing
- Choosing the Best Self-Publishing Services
- How Authors Sell Publishing Rights
- Your Book in Bookstores
- 150 Self-Publishing Questions Answered
Classic Writing Books
“Classics” in the classical sense can be marmite, some people love them some hate them. When it comes to writing, there are some classic books filled with rich writing advice that truly are a must read. Here's a list of both modern and not so modern classic writing books the AskALLi team collated for you.
- Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood
- Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
- On Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art by Willa Cather
- How to Write Like Tolstoy: A Journey into the Minds of Our Greatest Writers by Richard Cohen
- Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron
- Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat
- The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde
- My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs: The Nobel Lecture by Kazuo Ishiguro
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- Words Are My Matter: Writings on Life and Books by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner
- A Writer’s Notebook by W. Somerset Maugham
- Letters to a Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice by Colum McCann
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
- A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders
- The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby
- Poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge
- A Writer’s Diary By Virginia Woolf
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
I’ve begun wondering about a How to Write Humour book and looking at these lists, there might be a gap in the market – hurrah!!
(Probably isn’t but I’m remaining positive because there’s probably a book in here that says that’s a good idea)
Thanks for the mention of Sizzling Synopsis, y’all! 🙂
keep on sizzlin’ 🙂