Weekend Reading: Books for Authors

This week we're going to do something a little bit different for the Weekend Reading series. Instead of pointing you to a few blog posts, I'd like to share a few recommended books for authors.

Some of these are specific to either fiction or nonfiction authors. Others are beneficial no matter what kinds of books you write. These are just five examples, pulled from some of my most-referenced books on my bookshelf, to give you a place to start.


The Well-Fed Self-Publisher

By Peter Bowerman

This book is hands-down the best book I've ever read about self publishing. Peter Bowerman is already well-known among freelance writers in this community because of his book and blog, The Well-Fed Writer. But if you want to learn how to really self publish like a professional, you can't afford to skip this book.

If indie publishing is a business (and it is), this should be your manual.

Get yours.

First Draft in 30 Days

By Karen Wiesner

I'm a big fan of Karen Wiesner's books for writers and have had her as a guest here several times. This was the first book of hers that I came across, and it played a significant role in helping me come up with my own book outline process.

If you're trying to figure out how to outline your novels and get your story laid out quickly, I highly recommend this book as a starting place.

Get yours.

The Author Training Manual

By Nina Amir

When it comes to book marketing, authors often make mistakes even before they get started. They don't know who their book is really for. And they don't know if a demand even exists. One of the things I like most about this book is the fact that Nina Amir covers those issues pretty thoroughly.

The planning you do up front is infinitely more valuable than any marketing tactics you throw behind your book after it's written. Follow Nina's advice to get it right from the beginning.

Get yours.

Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?

By Marc McCutcheon

Here's one of my favorite books specifically for nonfiction authors. It's more inspirational than anything. It shares examples of "ordinary people... raking in $100,000 or more writing nonfiction books." It kicks off with a huge list of bestselling books and how many copies were sold (at the time this book was published).

The point is that many of them cover fairly basic, everyday topics -- things maybe you could have written.

Even if it doesn't inspire you with any ideas of your own, there's plenty of practical advice too, from working with agents to writing book proposals (something I recommend even indies do so you're forced to think about each book and its market potential both from the author and publisher perspective).

Get yours.

Writing the Fiction Series

By Karen Wiesner

Here's another great book from Karen Wiesner, this time focused on writing a series. I love series both as a writer and as a reader. But I never came across much information about writing series as opposed to writing individual books. This book fills that void, covering everything from handling series arcs to marketing your novel series.

Get yours.

Are there any books you would recommend to other indie authors? Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Books for Authors”

  1. Thanks so much for recommending The Author Training Manual! I feel so strongly that it truly provides the “author training” and the process necessary to produce books that sell. And, for that reason, I’m very proud of that book!


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