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Some of my very favorite BOOKS about Writing, Publishing, & Creativity:
Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole. So many books on writing cover the same ideas, but this book contains information I haven’t read anywhere else. Also check out Mary Kole’s extremely helpful website. Seriously, if you’re writing for a YA or MG audience, you need to spend some time with Mary Kole.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need by Jessica Brody. I keep a copy of this book on my desk and refer to it constantly. And, coming in July 2023 from Jessica Brody, Save the Cat! Writes a Young Adult Novel: The Ultimate Guide to Writing a YA Bestseller.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. The classic bestselling handbook to discovering or re-discovering your creativity. A healing book for the creative soul.
Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book by Courtney Maum. The ultimate handbook, from revising a manuscript to finding an agent to signing a book contract and going on tour. Brutally honest and well-researched, this book will tell you all the things you don’t even know you don’t know about publishing.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This brutally-honest book is sprinkled with wise little gems of advice. Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers of our time; it’s interesting to read about his struggles, and learn how he creates his work. Speaking of Stephen King, I love this comic from Zen Pencils about King’s writing desk.
The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby. Although I find Truby’s 22 Steps to be a little bit too prescriptive, this book gave me a lot to think about, and I often find myself coming back to this book when I’m feeling stuck.
Refuse to Be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts by Matt Bell. Lots of helpful tips, especially for your first time writing a novel.
Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin, the award-winning sci-fi/fantasy author. This little handbook contains ten unique, lovely, and deceptively simple writing exercises that Le Guin used in her in-person writing workshops. Writers of any experience level can use these exercises to improve their writing.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth Gilbert is a master of storytelling, writing, and creativity. Learn from her in this big-hearted guide to being good to your creative self.
Helpful WEBSITES about Writing & Publishing:
- Daniel David Wallace has a PhD in Creative Writing. He’s an editor, a writing instructor, and a novelist with a free e-course on how to write a character-first story.
- Literary Rambles provides agent and author interviews and publishing advice for kidlit writers (picture books through YA).
- New Pages has all the info for submitting to literary magazines and journals.
- Poets & Writers is also a great resource for finding out about writing contests, grants, and calls for submissions.
- Query Shark is run by agent Janet Reid. On this website, people submit their query letter drafts and she
rips them to piecescomments on them. You can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes.
- Jane Friedman is “helping writers and publishers make smart decisions in the digital age.” Her website is full of writing and publishing advice, including how to get your novel traditionally published and how to self-publish.
- Nathan Bransford is a Middle Grade novelist and the author of the book How to Write a Novel. He’s got a ton of posts about writing, publishing, and promoting books. Also, nominate your first page or your query letter for a critique on his blog.
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is a professional organization with lots to offer to aspiring and established kidlit authors and illustrators. For $80 a year you get access to their resource library, grants, discussion boards, conferences, and more. Belonging to SCBWI is a great way to find a critique group or critique partners, and there are regional chapters all over the country that put on events to help you make connections with local children’s writers.
- This Ultimate Fiction Writing Guide has a ton of resources broken up into easy-to-find sections such as writing exercises and prompts, novel-writing resources, character resources, and more.
My FAVORITE PODCASTS about Writing & Publishing:
(Be sure to browse through their backlists to find episodes that interest you!)
- The Manuscript Academy Podcast– Hosted by an author and the agent responsible for creating Manuscript Wishlist, this podcast features interviews with top agents, editors and authors on the craft, business, and community of publishing.
- The Good Story Podcast– Hosted by former kid lit agent Mary Kole, this podcast is all about writing, the craft, submission, publishing, and career-building for writers of all kinds and ability levels.
- First Draft with Sarah Enni– Weekly conversations with storytellers about how their art informs their lives.
- Track Changes– A podcast series (also from Sarah Enni) that lays out how a book goes from your laptop to the bookshelf.
- Queries, Qualms, and Quirks – Published authors share their successful query letter and discuss their journey from first spark to day of publication. Author Sarah Nicolas interviews authors of all genres about how they got started writing, how they got their book deal, and their experiences with publication.
- Hit Send Podcast— Two writers discuss behind the scenes workings of the publishing industry, with occasional guests.
- The Shit No One Tells You About Writing– A podcast for emerging writers, who are looking to improve their work with an aim to having it published, or for anyone who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry.
- Writer Mother Monster– A conversation series devoted to dismantling the myth of having it all and offering writer-moms solidarity, support, and advice as we make space for creative endeavors.
And don’t forget to read my posts about writing!