Best Books on Writing

My favorite books … for Writing Memoir

Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature 

It’s illuminating to read respected authors’ views on the reliability of memoir, the ethics of disclosure, protecting privacy, and more essential issues of memoir. These are rarely seen, inspiring perspectives.


The Autobiographer’s Handbook 

You’ll probably go back to this book again and again, as each chapter focuses on a different aspect of memoir writing and features first-person accounts by memoirists describing how they handled the various aspects in their work. Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) are among the writers included.


The Situation and The Story: The Art of Personal Narrative 

An intellectual exploration of a key component of memoir: the situation and the story.


Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction 

Emily Dickinson’s words, “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant,” inspired this book’s title. The book is filled with information about how to move beyond cold fact to create nonfiction that makes the most of your personal slant on the world.


Your Life As Story: Discovering the “New Autobiography” and Writing Memoir as Literature 

An accessible approach to finding the important messages in your life and shaping those stories into dramatic and compelling narratives.


The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story 

For a guide through the journey of memoir writing for emotional or physical healing, this book is a stellar resource, by a memoirist and psychotherapist who knows of what she speaks.


The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present 

Fifty top writers inspire as they show various styles and forms.


My favorite books … for Waking Up the Muse


Legacy: A Step By Step Guide to Writing the Personal Essay

This book is filled with good questions on various topics to stimulate new writing.


Writing for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds

A step-by-step guide into the inner worlds of creativity with exercises that can evoke new ideas for memoir.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within 

This bestselling author specializes in opening the doors to memory through freestyle, associative writing practice.


On Writing

I’m not a fan of frightening, but Stephen King’s book On Writing is anything but that. It’s part memoir of his writing career and part writing lessons from the field. And I have to say, it’s quite a page turner.

My favorite books … for Getting Published

Writer’s Market 2018

Updated annually, this industry standard has existed since 1921 as a comprehensive directory for finding publishers (books and magazines), literary agents, book competitions, and writing conferences. Be sure to read the articles in each edition about important aspects of the business.


Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over

This book is a stand-out among books of its type. It is annually updated by its creator, a respected literary agent in his own right, but because Herman includes agent-supplied details about personal interests, giving readers the opportunity to find a good match not only regarding their book but regarding their personality and approach.


Write the Book Perfect Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why 

These literary agents have sold hundreds of titles and know what makes a flawless book proposal publishers can’t resist.


The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters

Besides attending writers’ conferences to learn about the query letter writing and book pitch process from literary agents, this book is an excellent recommended resource.


Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook 

An invaluable resource for anyone ready to self-publish. Written by a business attorney and author, the book covers everything from setting up your business to maximizing tax deductions, in beautifully accessible language. To be read with a highlighter in hand.


The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published
A quality guide by industry insiders, one of them a literary agent.


About Suzanne

Suzanne Sherman is a veteran publishing professional, with thirty-five years in the field and a specialization in memoir and other nonfiction. Her clients have published with Wiley & Sons, Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and a number of smaller publishers. She has also helped many authors successfully self-publish. Some of Suzanne’s memoir students and coaching clients prefer to write for personal pleasure or to create books for family, and they call her an invaluable guide.


Start Writing Right!

These 7 easy-to-follow essentials can get you started right or help you fine-tune your writing in progress. It’s a short, info-packed resource to help you improve on a good idea and give you the tools to build your exceptional story.