Best Books on Writing

My favorite books about ... Memoir Writing

Dani Shapiro: Still Writing

You’ll want to read this collection of short pieces with a yellow highlight pen in hand. This best-selling author takes a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. At once a memoir, meditation on the artistic process, and advice on craft, the book is filled with hard-won wisdom and advice for staying the course.

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.

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.

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.

The Situation and The Story: The Art of Personal Narrative 

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

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 inspirational 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

How to Write a Book Proposal
Writing a book proposal requires an understanding of how publishers work and how to brand yourself, build a platform, and structure your book. This book teaches all about it in a top-to-bottom revision of the classic best-seller.
Small Presses & Independent Publishers
This book is for you if you have:
  • finished writing your book;
  • given up on finding an agent;
  • waited months for an agent to call you back;
  • longed for an editor to validate your creativity
  • recoiled at the thought of self-publishing.
Writer’s Market 

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 Perfect Book 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.

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 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.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published

A quality guide by industry insiders, one of them a literary agent.

Best Books on Writing December 18, 2017