Terrible Writing Advice – 23 Myths and Mistakes to Avoid

Any author is bound to read a lot of terrible writing advice.

The kind of advice that makes you feel inferior.

The kind that makes you feel you’ll never be ‘good enough’ to get your work out there.

But don’t feel disheartened!

Instead of giving up and letting your writing dreams die, here are 23 better perspectives.

1 – Write whenever you can fit it in

If you’re like many writers, you were probably guilty of this mistake, at least when you first started writing. 

Most writing careers start out more like hobbies. You feel very passionate about writing, but see it as less important than other things in your life. If you can fit it in, great. But it often isn’t a priority. 

This approach is fine for people looking to write on a casual basis. But if you’re reading this, that probably isn’t you.

You should instead make a writing routine that works for you. Block out a dedicated time for focused writing work. If something unavoidable crops up, reschedule it. 

2 – Don’t share your work until it is perfect

It’s natural to feel a little insecure or uncertain about your writing. 

After all, our craft is deeply personal. The thought of others reading and judging your work might make you strive for perfection before putting anything out into the world. 

As understandable as this idea is, it’s also deeply mistaken. Your work will never be perfect. But it can be improved! 

However, that improvement only occurs when you come out of your comfort zone and get feedback. Bite the bullet and get your work out there. It will benefit you immensely. 

3 – Make your first writing project a novel

Becoming a novelist is probably the ultimate goal for most creative writers.

But while this might be your ultimate aim, it isn’t necessarily the best place to start.

You might find it better to start by working on your craft skills and building up to bigger projects. Methodically learn and practice different elements of writing until you feel confident enough to take things further.

After you feel comfortable enough with your craft, consider writing articles, short stories, and novellas. These are great ways of training for a full novel. 

4 – Multitask while working

There’s nothing worse for deeply creative work than being distracted. 

Trying to make progress on your word count while your attention is being dragged in every other direction is a nightmare.

A lot of writers suggest fully turning off your phone while you write, but that of course isn’t possible for everyone. If you need to be available for an emergency, consider only allowing certain notifications through. 

You don’t need to write in total silence or isolation though unless that’s what you prefer. Writing in a cafe might boost your creativity. Just stay on task, wherever you happen to be!

5 – Copy the routines of your favorite writers

It’s interesting to learn about the habits, routines, and lifestyles of your favorite writers. But that doesn’t mean you need to copy them verbatim.

What works for someone else might not work for you. Instead, use famous writing routines as ideas to test. But don’t stick with them if you find you aren’t getting the results you hoped for. 

The best way forward is to try different things until you settle on your bespoke writing routine. Even then, don’t be afraid to mix things up as needed. 

6 – Use your normal writing app 

Unlike a lot of creative pursuits, writing has the advantage of not requiring expensive equipment to get started. Great authors need nothing more than a pen and paper to practice their craft.

But, just because you can write with almost anything, it doesn’t mean you should.

Plenty of specialist writing tools and apps exist with special features that go above and beyond regular word processors. Take the time to explore your writing software options and settle on the one that’s the best fit for your needs and budget. 

7 – Your writing exists in isolation

Sometimes, there’s a kind of romantic notion that writers are capable of working on nothing but inspiration and coffee. 

The reality of the situation is that everything about your physical and mental state impacts your work. Being rested, calm, and hydrated all play a part in being able to write well. 

If you’re finding it difficult to write, check in with yourself. Do you need a mental break? A glass of water? A walk outside?

Over time, you’ll learn the external factors that affect your work the most and learn how to get in your zone of peak performance. 

8 – Writing is an innate talent 

Too many people see writing ability as something you either do or don’t have. 

While certain people may be more inclined towards writing than others, absolutely everyone is capable of improving, no matter their starting skill level. 

Don’t use this myth as an excuse to avoid working. Instead, accept that writing is a learnable skill like any other. Make a plan to improve your weak points rather than blaming things on a lack of innate ability. 

9 – Write with other forms of media in mind

Some writers write with a focus on what their words might eventually become.

If your dream is to have your work adapted, this might be a sensible approach. But even then it’s often the wrong way to go. Most great books are adapted because they are amazing stories. Not because they were written with the screen in mind.

When you write, you should only ever orient your words towards your intended reader. Make your book perfect for them. If it’s good enough, other forms of media might well take notice. 

10 – Spend every available minute writing 

Let’s face it. If you love writing, it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time. There’s nothing quite like getting into a flow state and making serious progress on a project. 

But if you write too often, you run the risk of several problems. You might burn out and lose your love of the craft. You will almost certainly find that your quality suffers after some time. 

Instead, it’s best to balance writing with other activities. Make time for reading and anything that stimulates your mind and replenishes your creativity. 

11 – Don’t write for anyone other than yourself 

There’s an elitist point of view out there that suggests writing with a market in mind is somehow sleazy or wrong. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no harm at all in identifying a group of readers you want to serve and writing with them in mind. 

The only time this advice is kind of true is when there’s a total mismatch between your interests and your writing. If you have no interest or enthusiasm for your subject, your work is bound to suffer. 

12 – Write from the perspective of any character you can imagine

This is a controversial tip related to fiction writing. It’s important to understand both sides of the debate here.

On the one hand, a lot of people have the view that pure creative freedom overrides everything else. Writers should have total liberty to step into the shoes of anyone they can imagine.

On the other hand, it can be problematic when writers try to showcase cultures, ethnicities, or sexualities other than their own. There are ways of doing it, but it should be treated with immense sensitivity. 

This isn’t to say that some types of characters are fully off limits to you. Instead, think carefully about your characters and how to portray them in the most sensitive way possible. 

13 – You need a formal writing education before beginning 

A large portion of the writing world is still based around snobbery and elitism. 

While it’s true that some people will only take your work seriously if you have a certain type of formal writing education, you really shouldn’t worry about these people at all. 

Learning how to write well is incredibly important. It’s something you should never stop pursuing. But that doesn’t have to happen in a formal context. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

14 – Don’t take any days off

Have you come across the ‘hustle culture’? 

It’s popular on social media and implies that any time not pursuing your goals is wasted time.

That’s pretty much nonsense. Even in a conventional work setting, it’s been shown that working fewer days doesn’t lead to a drop in productivity. 

If you want to write each day, by all means, do it. But don’t be afraid to take time off whenever you feel you should. It’s more likely to refresh and inspire your writing than harm it. Just don’t take time off to the extent that your overall writing goals suffer. 

15 – Avoid writing genre fiction

This piece of terrible advice, like a lot of others on the list, comes from nothing but snobbery. 

Some fiction authors think only literary writing is worthy of praise. Genre fiction is somehow unworthy of being considered good writing.

This is so untrue. Some of the most enjoyable books out there fall into the category of genre fiction. 

If you want to write this type of fiction, go ahead. Have fun and don’t worry about what the critics say.

16 – Use whichever tone you prefer 

One of the fastest ways for good writing to be badly received is by taking the wrong tone. 

It’s important to match your tone to what your readers expect. While you should always write in your authentic voice, you should be capable of expressing this in different tones. 

The fastest way to get a feel for the right tone is to read examples of the best work in that genre. Identify as many commonalities as possible. Can you authentically hit that tone in your own voice? Unless you can, it’s probably not the best type of writing for you to pursue. 

17 – Only write if you feel genuine passion

Is it good to have an overall passion for writing? Absolutely. Are you going to feel passionate every time you write? Absolutely not!

If you limit yourself to writing when you feel moments of peak passion, you probably won’t get a lot done. 

Sometimes, writing will feel like a grind. That’s OK. Nothing feels good all of the time.

When you make your peace with the fact that you won’t always feel passionate about your writing, you are more likely to be able to write no matter how you feel at the time. 

18 – Write without worrying about marketing 

While you shouldn’t let your writing be dictated by marketing, you also shouldn’t treat it as an afterthought. 

Thinking about the readers you will market to, and how you will delight them, can inspire and inform your writing. 

For example, visual marketing elements like your book cover might inspire the content of your words. You might choose chapter titles with marketing in mind. 

Marketing should never be the main driving force behind your book. But it also shouldn’t be ignored. Strike a balance to achieve the best results for your work. 

19 – Spend all your time talking about being a writer on social media

OK, this is a little bit sarcastic. 

But if you’ve spent a lot of time around the writing world you’ll know it’s not entirely untrue.

Sadly, it seems like a lot of writers love the identity of being a writer more than the actual process of writing. 

There’s no harm in smartly using social media to form connections and promote your work. But only if the majority of your effort and energy is spent on actually writing!

20 – Avoid referencing pop culture 

Some writers get given the advice that they should never reference anything contemporary in their work. 

This stems from not wanting a book to seem dated to future audiences. But is it always true?

It depends entirely on the objective of your book. If you’re writing fiction and you want your story to seem timeless, this tip makes sense. But if you want it to have a definite sense of time, references from that period help.

With nonfiction, similar advice applies. If you want to write a book about productivity that will be relevant for decades, talking about today’s technology probably isn’t a great approach. But if you want to speak to the readers of today, rather than the future, focusing on contemporary references doesn’t hurt at all.  

21 – There’s only one way to write

You should always be wary of people who claim to know the one true path towards anything. That includes writing.

Writers come in all shapes and sizes. We have different personalities. What is a good fit for someone else might not be a good fit for you.

For example, it might be true that a lot of incredible writers worked first thing in the morning. But plenty also worked at night!

While there isn’t one best way for everyone, there probably is a best way for you. Find your perfect writing location, routine, and tool. Don’t worry about what other people say. 

22 – Never give up on a writing project

Have you ever come across the myth that giving up on a writing project is somehow failing?

In truth, it’s sometimes the right option to quit and give up on a project entirely. If you’re not making progress, or it doesn’t serve your goals anymore, you shouldn’t complete it just for the sake of doing so. 

That’s not to say you should stop as soon as it gets difficult. But if a particular project no longer serves your overall aims, don’t be afraid to divert your energy elsewhere. 

23 – Don’t ever use adverbs or diverse dialogue tags 

This is one of the most commonly repeated pieces of fiction writing advice out there. 

While the core idea is true, it shouldn’t be taken so extremely. 

Too many adverbs or dialogue tags other than said are distracting and annoying. But used sparingly they can enhance your work. Just be conscious about their purpose and keep them to a minimum. 

How To Write An Author Bio – Ideas from Bestsellers

Your author bio is the perfect chance to let readers know more about you, your background, and why you’ve written your books.

But how do you make sure your bio engages people rather than repelling them?

What are the technical aspects of an author bio you need to know?

And what are some shining examples you can use to inform your own bio?

We’ve gathered together some examples to help you sell more books and turn your readers into fans. 

  1. What is an author bio?
  2. Where is an author bio used?
  3. What are the benefits of an author bio?
  4. How do you write an author bio?
  5. Author bio examples – Hal Elrod
  6. Author bio examples – Ramy Vance
  7. Author bio examples – Tony Robbins 
  8. Action steps for your author bio

What is an author bio?

An author bio is a short piece of writing, usually between 150 and 300 words, that lets readers know more about the author whose book they are thinking of reading. 

A good author bio establishes not only who an author is, and a little bit about their life, but also why they have written the book and some of their professional achievements. 

Where is an author bio used?

There are lots of places where an author bio can be featured. 

Some of the most common include:

  • Books. It’s rare to find a book without some kind of author bio in. This helps both readers browsing in a bookstore to know if your book is right for them, as well as people who have read the book to learn more about you.
  • Retailers. A lot of online book retailers allow you to upload a bio. Amazon Author Central is a great example, but it’s common to a lot of other bookstores as well. 
  • Social media. You might feature your full bio on social media, or have extracts, for example in a Twitter bio. You can also use parts of your bio as visual content, for example on Pinterest or Instagram. 
  • Author websites. For established authors, a full website is a must-have. Any good author website should have a bio section where interested people can find out more. 
  • Blogging biographies. If you want to post on other authors’ blogs as a guest writer, a shortened version of your bio should feature at the end of your posts and contain links to your author platform. 

A version of your bio is useful anywhere and everywhere you can think of that potential readers might want to learn more about you.

What are the benefits of an author bio?

So if you’re going to take the time to write a good author bio, how can you expect to benefit? What makes it worth taking the time to craft the best bio possible?

Here are four powerful benefits of a good author bio. 

  1. Differentiation. It’s unlikely that your book is unique among all the books out there. Hopefully, it has a unique and fresh angle, but there are probably similar books on offer. However, there’s only one you! Your author bio makes your book stand out from others like it.
  1. Credibility. Your bio is a chance to show exactly why you are qualified to write that book in particular. Have you won awards? Do you have a certain educational or professional background that makes you suitable? Don’t brag, but calmly and clearly state your relevant achievements. 
  1. Connection. You can also use your author bio as a way to offer a bit of flavor about your life and who you are. If you’re humorous, show it! You can form a sense of connection with readers by authentically expressing your personality and who you are.
  1. Platform. An author bio is also the perfect place to promote your wider platform. You can include links to your author website, social media handles, Goodreads page, or anywhere else that people can deepen their connection to you.

 Of course, you only get these benefits if you write your bio the right way. A bad or boring author bio only risks alienating readers and dissuading them from checking out your book further. 

How do you write an author bio?

Now that you know exactly what an author bio is, and how it can help you succeed, let’s check out exactly how to create one.

To write an author bio, simply follow these five simple steps.

Step 1 – Read relevant bios 

It’s difficult to get a feel for the type of content found in an author bio unless you read some relevant examples in a careful, considered way. 

Take the time to read five or ten bios of authors you admire who write the same type of book as you. 

What do you notice? Is there a particular tone they all seem to take? Are the bios structured similarly? Which strike a chord with you the most, and why is that?

This step isn’t about plagiarising or copying. 

Instead, it’s about finding the type of author bio you like and find effective and then creating your own authentic version of that.  

Step 2 – Brainstorm your key points

Before you write a draft of your bio, make a list of the must-have information it will contain. 

This could include your most pertinent biographical details, lists of your awards and achievements, and a few little flavorful details to show your personality and create some rapport with your reader.

Step 3 – Draft your bio 

Now that you’ve got the list of key points to include, it’s time to shape them into a readable draft of your bio. 

But what kind of structure should you use?

As a guideline, you might find this template to be a good starting point:

  1. Start with a powerful and gripping introductory sentence
  2. State your background and how it is relevant to the book you are writing
  3. Show your credibility by mentioning awards and other professional achievements 
  4. Sprinkle in a little flavor and personality 
  5. End your bio on a funny note or include a link to a part of your author platform 

After you’ve finished drafting, read back over your bio. Make sure it fits with the word count guidelines and includes all the key points you hoped for. 

Step 4 – Create alternative versions 

Because author bios are fairly short, you have the luxury of being able to create several alternative versions and deciding on the best. 

You can also have slightly different bios for different purposes, such as some that are more professional and others that lean into humor to a greater extent. 

If you don’t see any value in this step, feel free to skip it. 

Step 5 – Get feedback and refine

Now that you have a series of alternative reader bios, or even just a solid draft of a single version, it’s time to get some feedback and make improvements. 

If you already have people in your network you feel would be suitable to get feedback from, by all means reach out and ask them. But don’t take the feedback of just anyone. You want to avoid people who will sugarcoat or aim to please you, as well as those who don’t read the type of book you are working on. 

Step 6 – Update your bio as needed

Your author bio isn’t something you should write and forget about. Instead, be sure to update it over time as you achieve new things. This isn’t to say that you should constantly tweak it. That would be annoying. But give it a refresh from time to time, both in terms of its content, and also to make sure it still conveys the tone you want to get across. 

Author bio examples

While it’s one thing to read some best practice tips on writing your author bio, it’s another entirely to see some effective examples from the real world. 

To get your author bio juices flowing, here are some examples from bestselling authors. 

Hal Elrod 

Hal Elrod is one of the best-known modern motivational and self-help authors. Let’s take a look at Hal’s author bio. 

“Hal Elrod is on a mission to Elevate the Consciousness of Humanity, One Person at a Time. 

As the author of one of the highest rated books on Amazon, “The Miracle Morning” (which has been translated into 37 languages, has over 3,000 five-star reviews and has impacted the lives of over 2,000,000 people in more than 70 countries)… he is doing exactly that.

What’s incredible is that Hal literally died at age 20. His car was hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour, his heart stopped beating for 6 minutes, he broke 11 bones and woke up after being in a coma for 6 days to be told by his doctors that he would probably never walk again.

Not only did Hal walk, he ran a 52-mile ultra-marathon and went on to became a hall of fame business achiever, international keynote speaker, author, and grateful husband & father-all before he turned 30.

Then, in November of 2016, Hal nearly died again – his kidneys, lungs, and heart were failing, and he was diagnosed with a rare, and very aggressive form of cancer and given a 30% chance of living.

After enduring the most difficult year of his life, Hal is now cancer-free and furthering his mission as the founder of The Miracle Morning book series, host of the “Achieve Your Goals” podcast, creator of the Best Year Ever [Blueprint] LIVE event, and Executive Producer of The Miracle Morning MOVIE – a documentary that reveals the morning rituals of some of the world’s most successful people.

Hal is grateful to be alive and living his mission alongside his wife and their two young children in Austin, TX.

To contact Hal about media appearances, speaking at your event, or if you just want to receive free training videos and resources, visit www.HalElrod.com.”

As you can see, Hal Elrod’s bio touches on a lot of the ideas we found in this article. 

Some of the things we most liked about it include:

  • First sentence. Hal Elrod’s bio has a first sentence that is concise and tells you everything you need to know about his personal mission. 
  • Emotionally engaging. By sharing details of Hal’s life, his bio takes you on an emotional journey. This makes you admire Hal and feel inspired to learn from him. 
  • Small personal touches. Aside from the deeper emotional aspects, the bio contains some of the more usual personal information, such as living in Austin with his wife and kids. 
  • Call to action. This bio ends with a clear call to action to visit Hal’s author website.

Ramy Vance

Ramy Vance is a self-publishing rockstar. Let’s take a look at his author bio. 

“Ramy Vance is the creator of the GoneGod World – a universe dedicated to myth, magic, mischief and mayhem. 

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, demonic baby, monstrous 5-year old and imaginary dog.

Terrified, he pretty much stays in his office and writes.”

  • Funny. This is a genuinely hilarious bio. It not only uses jokes but the humor ties in with his writing by using words like demonic and monstrous. 
  • Punchy. Vance’s bio is one of the shortest on the list, clocking in at under 50 words. This is shorter than recommended, but it does a good job for a brief bio. 
  • Light personal touches. You learn a little bit about Ramy’s life here, but it doesn’t bore you or give too many details. 

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is probably one of the best-known motivators and self-help gurus (although he doesn’t use that word) in the world. Let’s see what his author bio contains. 

“Tony Robbins is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. 

For more than thirty-nine years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor, and transformational power of Mr. Robbins’s business and personal development events. 

He is the nation’s #1 life and business strategist. He’s called upon to consult and coach some of the world’s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations. 

Robbins is the chairman of a holding company comprised of more than a dozen businesses with combined sales exceeding five billion dollars a year. 

His philanthropic efforts helped provide more than 100 million meals in the last year alone. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida.”

  • Credible. Tony Robbins’ bio drips with credibility. It makes big claims but backs them up with convincing justifications. 
  • Quantified. Tony’s use of numbers is great here. Mentioning “five billion dollars” and “100 million meals” is very effective. 
  • Tone. The tone of Robbins’ bio is professional and concise. It’s businesslike and straight to the point. 

Action steps for your author bio

Hopefully, you’ve taken a lot from this guide to crafting an effective author bio. 

If you’re ready to take action and start working on your own bio, follow these five simple steps:

  1. Identify 10 relevant bios to read and make notes on. 
  2. Combine and summarize your author bio notes, looking for commonalities. 
  3. Bullet point the essential info for your bio. 
  4. Draft a bio using the structure shown above.
  5. List 5 people in your network you will reach out to for feedback when you have a full bio ready.

After you’ve taken that initial action, you’ll have plenty of momentum to build upon to write the full thing.

An effective author bio really can help you sell more books, so why not get started right away?

How to Co-Author a Book – Steps for Success

Are you looking to become a co-author?

Working with another writer can help you achieve more together than you could apart.

But only if you work in the right way. 

Writing a book is hard enough as it is. But writing alongside another author adds a layer of complexity to the process.

It’s important to have a series of steps to follow to co-author a book successfully. 

Otherwise, it’s better to stick to a solo book, especially if it’s your first attempt. 

But if you can’t get the urgent out to collaborate out of your system?

Here’s a way that works.

  1. What is the difference between an author and co-author?
  2. How do you become a co-author?
  3. Step 1 – Get on the same page creatively
  4. Step 2 – Agree on a project plan
  5. Step 3 – Divide up responsibilities 
  6. Step 4 – Determine your budget 
  7. Step 5 – Choose your writing tools 
  8. Step 6 – Establish a communications cadence
  9. Step 7 – Consider future projects

What is the difference between an author and co-author?

If this seems obvious, feel free to skip ahead! But there’s no harm in getting clear on the basics. 

The term author applies to anyone who writes a book. A co-author is someone who writes a book in conjunction with another author.

Sometimes, a distinction is made between co-writers and co-authors. Co-authors are sometimes seen as having equal planning responsibility with the main author. Co-writers on the other hand write alongside someone else, but might not have any other responsibilities on the project. 

How do you become a co-author?

Becoming a co-author is as simple as finding someone you want to write a book with!

Of course, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Not everyone will be enthusiastic about the idea of writing a book collaboratively, and some of the people who are might not be a great fit for you.

So what are some ways to find suitable writers to co-author with?

  • Online writing circles. If you’re a member of an online writing circle, you probably already have a good idea of which writers in the group you would work well with, and who would be interested in writing with you. Why not invite anyone in the circle who is interested to talk to you about co-authoring a book?
  • Offline writing groups. Writing groups that meet offline are also great places to find potential co-authors. Having face to face contact with someone is one of the best ways to know if they will be a good fit for the book you want to write.
  • Reaching out. Cold outreach can sometimes work. If there’s a writer you admire, why not contact them? It never hurts to ask, and the worst you will get is a no. Just make sure the two of you would be a good match for writing a book together. 
  • Look on forums. Forums dedicated to writing are good places to try and find collaborators for a book project. Some have dedicated sections for writers who want to work together. Just make sure to take the time to get to know the other writer before committing to a project together. 
  • Check social media. A lot of writers are active on social media, making it a great way to connect with potential co-authors outside your immediate circle. You might even be able to use hashtags to find writers seeking co-authors. 

Don’t rush into seeking another writer to co-author with. It’s a big commitment so being careful at the start can save a lot of frustration later on. 

So now that you have some places to seek out potential co-authors, how do you go about co-authoring a book?

Step 1 – Get on the same page creatively 

One of the keys to co-authoring a book successfully is to make sure you share expectations from the get go.

Just because you feel that someone is on the same page as you creatively, you can’t assume that this is the case. 

So what are some of the things you need to agree on with your coauthor before you get started?

  • Your aims. What do you both want to get out of writing this book? There mustn’t be a conflict here. For example, if one of you is primarily focused on making money, and the other is looking to price the book low to generate leads, you’re going to run into trouble. Make sure that you have the same aim for the book, or at least aims that aren’t in conflict, before you get started.
  • Your intended readers. You should have a shared vision for your intended readership. A book that aims to please everybody ends up pleasing nobody. What kind of reader do you want to reach? Which of their problems are you trying to solve? If you’re writing fiction, what type of fanbase do you want to reach? How will you meet their expectations and delight them?
  • Your tone. What tone will your book take? Do you need to make sure you write in a similar tone, or can it be a little different? For fiction co-authors, sometimes each writer writes from the perspective of a different main character. This can allow for slightly different tones between writers.
  • Your marketing approach. Marketing should never be treated as an afterthought. Discuss your intended approach to marketing before you even start writing. Do you share a similar vision? Are you in agreement on the type of marketing you want to carry out?
  • Your contingency plan. Things don’t always go to plan. It’s important to discuss contingencies before you start writing. If someone wants to drop out of the project, how will that work? Will the other co-author still be able to work on the same book? You can avoid potential conflict by reaching an agreement early on. 

After you’ve reached an understanding with your co-author on all of the above, it’s time to plan your book. 

Step 2 – Agree on a project plan

Although it’s a cliche, failing to plan is planning to fail. 

Writing a book is never easy, and when you are co-authoring, some other complexities come into play. 

It’s important to have a solid, stage by stage plan of how your book will be produced and when different aspects need to be completed by. This ensures that proper time is allocated to everything and nothing is overlooked. 

The exact project plan you settle on might end up looking a little different, but feel free to use the following example as a guideline. 

  1. Research. What kind of research will need to be conducted for your book? Which sources will you use, and how will your findings be stored? Will you divide up topics with your co-author, or will you both research the same things and share your findings?
  2. Outlining. After you’ve researched your book idea in detail, you probably have a good idea of the topics it should cover. Turn these into an outline by creating a list of chapter titles or main chapter ideas. 
  3. Drafting. How many drafts will your book need? Agree on both the number of drafts and the deadlines for them. Also, have a plan in place for what to do if one co-author needs longer to complete a draft than expected.
  4. Editing. Editing is one of the most important parts of making your book the best it can be. Agree on the types of editing you will invest in, either the editors you will hire or at least the places you will seek them, and the timescale for editing to be complete.  
  5. Pre-publication. After editing is complete, you should have a clear checklist of everything that needs to happen before publication. Things to consider include your book cover, formatting, uploading to book retailers, and having a system in place to track sales and revenue. 
  6. Launch. Launching your book the right way is one of the major reasons it will either sink or swim. Think about the number of reviews you need to get and where you will get them from, if you will use any email marketing, if book promotion sites could help you at the time of launch, and if you will invest in paid marketing. 
  7. Ongoing marketing. Too many authors overlook marketing beyond the launch period. This inevitably leads to a spike in sales at the start and then a big drop-off after. Think about how you and your co-author will market your book on an ongoing basis. Will you have ongoing paid ad campaigns? Will you use guest blogging? When would you decide that actively marketing this particular book is no longer worth it?

After you know what each stage of your project should look like, map it out. Consider using a project planning tool that syncs across devices so you and your co-author can work on the project together in real time. 

Step 3 – Divide up responsibilities 

Now that you know what your book project looks like on the whole, it’s time to get clear on exactly who will be responsible for what. 

It’s worth setting aside the time to have a dedicated, unrushed meeting with your coauthor to divide up tasks. 

It’s important to divide up both the writing of the book and also the other tasks needed to make it happen. 

When it comes to dividing up writing, you can take several approaches. If you’re writing nonfiction, you might decide to write alternate chapters. Or, one writer might be responsible for a chapter containing several sections, and the same for the other writer. Another approach is to both write each chapter but split it into sections.

For tasks outside of writing, successful division is down to both strengths and availabilities. Which coauthor has the best skillset for any given task? Who feels the most enthusiastic about carrying it out? Are there some tasks you will work on together, or will every task have a separate owner? 

This might not be the most exciting part of your book project, but you also can’t overlook it. Knowing exactly who will be doing what is crucial. 

Step 4 – Determine your budget 

Take the time to get clear with your co-author about the financial aspects of your book project before it begins. 

Every book will have a slightly different set of expenses, but some of the costs to plan for include:

  • Editing. Investing in editing is one of the best uses of your book budget. After you know the type of editing you will need, get a feel for how much it will cost. Spend whatever it takes to get the quality you are looking for. 
  • Book cover creation. Don’t skimp on your book cover! Having an attractive and genre-appropriate cover is vital. Check out book cover designers with similar books to yours in their portfolio. Compare costs and see who is available and interested. 
  • Paid marketing. Decide how much you want to spend on paid marketing. This could include CPC ads, paid book promotion services, and influencer marketing. 
  • Distribution. What is your plan for getting your book out there into the hands of readers? Do you intend to manually distribute it to different retailers, or will you use a paid distribution service? 
  • Alternative format creation. How much will it cost to offer your book in different formats? For example, you might want to look into audiobook costs or hardcover printing services. 

Having a clear budget is important as you can then calculate how many sales you will need to break even and eventually make your book profitable. 

Step 5 – Choose your writing tools

While it’s not essential to both use the same apps and software, it sure helps. 

It can be frustrating if one author is writing on Pages, for example, and another is using Google Docs. While there’s always a way to convert file types, it’s often a lot smoother to stick to one. 

To help version control, you should make sure you and your co-author know exactly which documents to work on at any given time. 

Make use of the Cloud to collaborate with your co-author. Using Google Drive can be a great way to seamlessly share files and notify each other when changes occur. 

Don’t spend too long on this step! There are lots of different options that can work well. Just get in alignment on which you will use from the start and make sure both authors are comfortable and confident in using them. 

Step 6 – Establish a communications cadence

A lot of writers like to go into a deep state of focus while working. A certain amount of solitude can be very conducive to the writing process. But this is only possible if you know exactly when and how you will communicate with your co-author.

This is one of the fastest ways to feel frustrated with the project. If one co-author feels the other is either over or under communicating it can be very annoying.

So what are some of the things to get clear on before the project is in full swing?

  • Frequency. Will you check in with each other daily or less often? Under what circumstances should you reach out to your co-author if something crops up? How soon do you expect each other to reply?
  • Medium. Will you use a chat app like Slack to talk, or will email suffice? Do you need to have a regular Zoom call? Would it be advantageous to meet up in person from time to time throughout the project?
  • Content. What type of communication do you expect to engage in? Will you have a formal structure for your meetings, or simply see what needs to be discussed at any given time?

Don’t be afraid to adjust this cadence as your project progresses. But having shared expectations in place from the start is essential.  

Step 7 – Consider Future Projects

Although it might feel like looking too far ahead, it’s never too early to start considering potential future projects!

If you plan on co-authoring a series, either fiction or nonfiction, this is a step you can’t overlook. But it’s worth thinking about even if you don’t intend to release a series at this stage.

What kind of results would make you consider this book a success? How will you assess its performance? What lessons do you want to take from the experience of writing it? 

Don’t let your ideas for the future distract you from your focus in the present, but keep them in the back of your mind. 

Are you ready to become a co-author?

Congratulations! You now have all the information you need to successfully co-author a book. 

It’s time to take action and make it happen. If you’ve made it this far, why not brainstorm a list of book topics you would love to co-author? Or how about taking the time to reach out to five potential collaborators? 

There’s nothing more exciting than embarking on a new book project, and we wish you every success with yours!

how to print your book

How to Print Your Book: 10 Essential Tips to Know

Authors spend a huge amount of time and energy writing their books, but for many self-published authors the final hurdle—designing and printing your book—can be an afterthought…and a daunting one at that.

Most self-published authors opt for an e-book, allowing them to bridge the gap between aspiring author and self-published reality. However, with physical book sales still hugely outselling e-books, authors who print their books will enjoy a significant advantage over their digital competitors.  

There’s no need to feel nervous about turning your manuscript into a physical book. With a few top tips from print designer Grace Fussell, creative director of InDesignSkills.com, you can prepare your book for professional printing, and have store-ready copies of your book in no time. 

Let’s get printing!

This guide on how to print your book contains:

  1. Find your perfect POD match
  2. Use a local print specialist
  3. Consider using a designer 
  4. Choose a size that’s the right fit
  5. Typeset the inside pages before designing your cover
  6. Know your cover options
  7. Ask for paper samples
  8. Ask your printer for the (right!) spine width 
  9. Consider quantity and cost-per-unit
  10. Request a proof 
  11. A quick-start way to design professional books

Psst…InDesignSkills have just released the Self-Publish Starter Kit, aimed at helping self-publishers create their own pro-standard printed books. The bundle includes a range of Adobe InDesign book templates for both covers and inside pages, in a range of standard sizes and with seven stylish cover options.   

The Self-Publish Starter Kit also comes complete with instructions for exporting your book as a reflowable or fixed-layout EPUB (e-book), ready for uploading to retailers such as Apple Store, Kindle Store, Kobo and Google Play.

Save 20% on the kit with promo code SELFPUBLISH20. Simply enter your code at checkout.

Tip 1: Find your perfect POD (print on demand) match

Print on demand (POD) has revolutionised the book industry, with digital technology enabling printers to offer smaller batches of copies at a lower price point. This has been particularly beneficial for ambitious self-publishers, who are able to take advantage of better-value printing. 

The quality of POD books is generally excellent, and improving all the time—most books you see in stores will have been printed using digital printing rather than traditional lithographic printing. 

Today, you can find an increasing range of online companies offering POD services for authors. Lulu , Blurb and BookBaby offer user-friendly book-printing services, and provide InDesign templates for covers and inside pages.

Tip 2: Use a local print specialist

While online POD services are low-cost and easy to use, first-time authors can benefit from the reassurance and expertise of a one-on-one service. A local print specialist can offer you a more personalised printing experience, able to offer advice, paper samples (see Tip 7, below) and discuss your needs in person. 

There are plenty of local friendly printers out there who would love to talk about your project and share their recommendations. They will also be able to advise you on suitable paper stock as well as provide proof copies (which are usually free of charge) for you to assess alongside them. 

Printers can also provide technical assistance, helping you to get your artwork files press-ready. If you’re not sure about something, don’t be afraid to ask—more often than not your friendly neighborhood printer will be more than happy to share their experience, helping you achieve the best result for your book. 

Some printshops don’t offer book-printing services, so search on Google for local book printing or bookbinding specialists. 

Tip 3: Consider using a designer

Think about a big publishing house and the departments within it. Editors, marketers, designers and distributors all have their own specialist roles. Self-publishers can quickly find themselves bogged down in trying to balance all of these roles at once, and the quality of your print book can suffer as a result. 

Admitting you need a little expert help in some areas isn’t defeatist—it can help you to focus on the things that you’re better at doing and feel more confident with (e.g. writing and editing your book!).  

A graphic designer with experience in publishing design can help turn your ideas about cover design, typography and color palettes into reality, while also bringing a fresh eye and their own design experience to the table. 

Alternatively, if you have access to Adobe InDesign, you can achieve professional results using a pre-created template, without the steep designer fees. Try the Self-Publish Starter Kit from InDesignSkills for the discounted price of $39.99 with coupon code SELFPUBLISH20, and achieve a store-quality design for the cover and inside pages of your book quickly and easily.

Tip 4: Choose a size that’s the right fit

Printed books come in a vast variety of sizes, but there are still widely used ‘standard’ sizes that are chosen by publishers for several reasons. Firstly, books that are roughly the same size are easier to store, transport and stack on bookshelves in-store. Book genres and categories often have their own preferred sizes, which are recognised as appropriate by the target audience. 

For example, a small Pocket Book size (4.25 in by 6.87 in) is the right fit for airport fiction. It fits neatly in a back pocket and is cheap to print and buy. Hardcovers, which are more expensive to print, tend to be larger than paperbacks and are often displayed face-forward on store shelves. The large size is used so that readers can recognise the book as premium fiction, and hardcovers will often feature particularly eye-catching cover designs to maximise their display potential. 

When it comes to choosing the right size for your own book, it pays to do your research. Track down examples of other books which are similar to your own in terms of category (fiction or nonfiction) and genre (thriller, sport biography etc), and bring out the ruler! It’s likely your chosen book will match one of a limited number of standard sizes. Discover the full list of standard sizes here.    

If you’re using a POD or printer service they can also help you to find the perfect size, with many sites recommending commonly-used sizes, such as Digest or Trade, at the start of the process.

Tip 5: Typeset the inside pages before designing your cover

Designing the perfect cover for your book is one of the most exciting parts of the self-publishing journey, but while you may be brimming with creative ideas, it’s always best to start with the design of the inside pages first. Why? The number of pages inside your book will dictate the width of the spine, and you’re unlikely to know the final page count until the book has been typeset. 

While this doesn’t stop you from thinking about ideas for your cover, it’s useful to know whether you will be designing with a wide or narrow spine in mind, which can impact on the feel of a cover design. You will also need to know the precise spine width (see Tip 8 below) before you finalise your cover artwork. 

Another reason for typesetting the inside pages first? Typesetting pages can be surprisingly time-consuming (which is why a professional designer or typesetter is always useful to know). You’ll need the time to make decisions about fonts, the size of your type, margin widths, as well as chapters and sectioning. 

Once your inside pages are ready, you should also rope in an editor (or diligent pal) to read over the typeset pages, looking out for any errors in the spelling, chapter and page numbering or any missed instances of italic or bolded text. 

Tip 6: Know your cover options

Once you have your inside pages typeset and ready, you can start to think about pulling together a cover design for your book. You might have a strong idea in mind of a concept, or perhaps you’re grappling with a number of different ideas. In need of inspiration? The Book Cover Archive is a fantastic resource of beautiful book cover designs. 

If design isn’t your strong point, a graphic designer or specialist book cover designer can help you to think through your ideas, as well as bring a professional approach to the typography, image choice and palette of your cover. 

The format of your cover, i.e. whether it is softcover (paperback) or hardcover (hardback), will inform the overall look and feel of the design, so think carefully about the ideal cover look you’d like to achieve and assess whether a softcover or hardcover format will make a better fit.  

Paperbacks are cheaper to print and can be as equally stylish as pricier hardbacks, but the cover design will need to be punchier and bolder to attract the eye. The design of a paperback’s spine can be surprisingly important, as these are often stacked spine outwards on store shelves, so consider how you can maximise color, type or graphics on this small area.

While hardcovers are more expensive to print, traditionally putting them beyond the budgets of many self-publishers, more POD services are now offering these cover types at a lower price point per unit. Keep in mind that the expense can escalate further if you opt for a separate dust jacket, which wraps around the whole cover and includes flaps that tuck into the inside of the front and back cover. However, some self-published authors will weigh up that the visual impact of a luxurious hardcover is well worth the extra cost. 

Tip 7: Ask for paper samples

Print designers can get pretty nerdy about paper. While authors don’t need to become paper geeks overnight, it’s important to have at least some idea about the type of paper you’d like to use in your print book. 

The two key things to know are that paper stock is available in different weights (measured in GSM, grams per square metre) and can be coated or uncoated

The weight of the paper will affect the feel of the pages in your book (anything too thin will feel cheap and flimsy). Uncoated paper has a more natural finish, while coatings come in a variety of finishes, such as matte, semi-gloss, gloss or pearl. Coated, heavier papers are usually used for printing covers and dust jackets, and while gloss coatings can make colors appear crisper and more vivid, matte coatings can give covers a more contemporary feel. 

With so much choice of paper, it’s near impossible to make a decision without seeing and touching samples. Your print provider will be happy to provide paper samples on request…so don’t hesitate to ask. 

Tip 8: Ask your printer for the (right!) spine width

There are plenty of spine calculators available online which take the page count and approximate paper weight of your inside pages into account to generate a spine width. While these are useful for giving you a rough idea of the width of your book’s spine, they shouldn’t be used for your final calculation. 

Once you have your inside pages typeset, and have decided on the paper stock you’ll be using for the print run, ask your printer to provide you with the correct spine width. The printer always knows best. 

Now you can set up your cover artwork with the right spine width, safe in the knowledge that there won’t be any unexpected hiccups post-printing. 

Tip 9: Consider quantity and cost-per-unit

We’ve already touched on the fact that POD (print on demand) services are increasingly offering great value and quality for self-publishers, but even online POD sites will usually offer a cheaper cost-per-unit for larger print runs. For example, Lulu offers a lower cost-per-unit for bulk orders (which they quantify as 100 copies). IngramSpark and Blurb also offer discounts on higher-volume orders.

Printers generally prefer bulk orders because this means they can charge for more copies but still only set up one print run. So if you think you could consider printing a few more copies to make a bigger saving overall, it’s well worth asking your printer about their quantity tiers.   

Tip 10: Request a proof

You’ve checked (and double-checked, triple-checked…) the PDFs for your inside pages and cover, you’ve sent the files to the printer and you’re feeling ready to get this book finally printed!

Hold up. There’s nothing more disheartening than receiving a box of books at your front door, only to find that there’s a now blaringly obvious spelling mistake on the blurb or that the color on the cover doesn’t look right. 

Always, always, always request a proof of your book. This pre-press copy is usually provided free of charge, and from this you can assess the technical quality of the printing, as well as hunt down any stray typos you may have overlooked. 

If something’s not right on the first proof, don’t be afraid to ask for a second one. This is your book, the result of months, if not years, of hard work. Once you’re completely happy with the proof copy, sign it and give the printer the go-ahead. 

Now you can sit back, have a well-deserved rest and wait for your beautiful printed books to be delivered! 

A quick-start way to design professional books

Self-published authors don’t benefit from the luxury of in-house design departments, but that doesn’t mean a self-published book can’t look as professional as one produced by a publishing house. With the goal in mind of bridging the gap between self-publishing and professional book design, the team at InDesignSkills created the Self-Publish Starter Kit

Drawing on her decade of experience in publishing design, lead designer Grace Fussell has created a set of InDesign templates that allow self-publishers to create the book design of their dreams. 

Exclusive to Self Publishing School, you can download the kit at the discounted price of $39.99. Save 20% on the kit today with promo code SELFPUBLISH20. Simply enter your code at checkout.

How to Find a Great Book Publicist for Your Next Book

Marketing and publicity are often the things self-publishing authors struggle with the most. Doing this job yourself will only take you to a certain point in the process. Plus, consistent self-promotion and marketing can take their toll. Working with a book publicist means you can rest assured that a professional will help you achieve your goals. 

While book distributors take care of some of the marketing, they don’t have the same influence as a publicist. In short, distributors focus more on the relationship with retailers while publicists handle media coverage. They work towards getting influential people talking about you and your book. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at precisely what a book publicist does and how you can find the right one for you. 

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Here’s a list of everything you need to know about finding a great book publicist:

  1. What does a book publicist do?
  2. What does the process look like?
  3. What you don’t get from a book publicist
  4. Publicity as a self-publishing author vs. traditional publishers
  5. How do you know if you should hire a book publicist?
  6. When to get a book publicist involved
  7. Tips on how to find and work with a publicist

What does a book publicist do?

Put simply, a publicist’s job is to make a book or an author newsworthy. Traditionally, that meant getting relevant media coverage for your book. Depending on your budget and target audience, it can include newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and events. However, in today’s digital age, their role goes far beyond the traditional media platforms (although they’re also included in the scope). 

The modern book publicist also works with various social media platforms, websites, blogs, podcasts, etc. They can help you avoid marketing tactics that are problematic by pointing you in the right direction. And they offer tools and guidance in an ever-changing digital marketing age. Good publicists understand the media so they can recognize which stories certain journalists want to write about. 

So, what does the marketing process look like? 

Typically, a book publicist starts with having an in-depth conversation with the author. They’ll ask about things like your goals, your writing, and your ideal target audience. From there, they’re able to build a campaign and create strategies to reach relevant media outlets. They usually work within two business models, traditional fee-based or pay-for-performance. The first means that the publicist gives you a fee based on what they’ll do and the job’s timeframe. Pay-for-performance means that they charge a set-up fee, then you pay on a per-placement basis. For example, a feature in a high-prestige magazine will cost more than an interview on your local radio station.  

To sum it up, what can you expect to get out of a campaign? The result of a successful campaign may be one, or a few, of the following:

  • Book reviews
  • Recommendations and excerpts
  • Feature stories
  • Print and broadcast interviews 
  • Bylined articles
  • Press releases
how to find a book publicist cover image

What you don’t get from a book publicist 

Although publicists should be included in your marketing plan, strictly speaking, they’re not marketers. They don’t provide any advertising, such as billboards, social media ads, or Google ads. 

They’re PR specialists, a term that falls under the marketing umbrella but with a slightly different focus. As PR specialists, their focus is to raise awareness of you and your book in publications that matter in your niche. While marketers focus on promoting or selling a specific product, a publicist works with strategic communication to build and maintain your reputation as an author. 

Publicity as a self-publishing author vs. traditional publishers

For traditional publishers, the publicity campaign usually looks slightly different from one of a self-publishing author. Their focus for the publicity is around a book’s launch date, usually with a window of three to six months. 

The reason for this is the bookstore’s retail models. Publishers want to sell as much as possible right after the book hits the stores, to avoid bookstores’ returns. Self-published books, on the other hand, aren’t typically distributed in high-volume to bookstores. Print-on-demand services (like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing) mean that there isn’t any pressure to avoid returns, so the timeframe for success can stretch over a more extended period.  

How do you know if you should hire a book publicist? 

First of all, book publicists are generally expensive. Especially the good ones. So, that raises the question – can you afford one? An experienced publicist can charge upward of $5,000 per month. With a good campaign running for at least two-three months, you’re looking at around $15,000. In saying that – if your budget allows it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t hire a book publicist. 

And if you’re in two minds about it, you could ask yourself a few questions to make the decision easier:

  • Is your goal to reach a large audience with your book? Nation-wide, or even globally?
  • Do you want to have a long-term career as an author? 
  • Are you willing to put in the work yourself when it comes to promotion and marketing?
  • Can you afford the initial investment? 
  • Are you willing to pay the money without any guarantees?

If you’ve answered yes to most of those questions – you should start looking for a publicist. An option, if you’re on a tight budget, is to work with a local publicist. They typically charge less since there are fewer media outlets. Of course, this also means that you won’t get national coverage.

Note that some publicists don’t work with self-publishing authors, so make sure you check this when doing your research. 

A book publicist offers no guarantees 

What many authors don’t realize, and what can also hold some of them back, is that a publicity campaign doesn’t come with any guarantees. Many factors determine your campaign’s success, such as your publicist’s expertise and your story’s quality. 

Traditional outlets, like radio and print, have shrunk while the number of published books has increased. That means the competition is fierce. So the harsh truth is that no matter how much money you put into a campaign, you can’t rely on getting traditional reviews or being featured in a big magazine. You can, however, increase your chances significantly. 

Also, marketing and publicity is a process that will take time. You very rarely see any overnight success. Sure, you may see results in the first three months, but it can also take years. A pro tip is to consider a publicist as an investment in your career rather than focusing on getting the money back and boosting your sales within a few months. 

It’s about getting people to recognize you in an over-saturated industry – about getting your name out there and start building your reputation. Think of the long-term results and the bigger picture. 

When to get a book publicist involved

You should begin doing your research and get in touch with a publicist as soon as you start planning your marketing strategy i.e., a few months before your launch date. There are a few reasons for this: 

  • Availability. Good publicists are usually booked out, so if you’re late, you may need to settle for one that’s less in demand. 
  • Research time. You’re going to need plenty of time to find the best publicist for your book. 
  • Strategy planning. Your publicist needs time to create a strategy and start putting it in action, i.e., contacting media outlets, distributing advance review copies, etc. 

A good campaign comes into play two or three months before your book launch, which should be the peak of your campaign. However, you don’t want to bring a publicist too early either. Make sure you have a draft of your book and a timeline for when you want to publish it. That gives them more to work with in terms of pricing and planning. 

Bear in mind that even if you’re hiring a publicist, you still need to learn how to market your book. Publicity and marketing is a team effort, and the more work you put in – the better results you’ll see. 

Publicity tasks you can do on your own (DIY Book Marketing) 

The most successful authors are generally the ones who know their target audience and already have a platform (such as blog readers, social media followers, or podcast listeners). That way, when the publicist comes into the picture, they’re not starting from zero. The foundations are already in place. 

Here are some things you can do before bringing in a publicist (and during the campaign). 

  • Learn the social media platforms. Find out where your target audience hangs out on social media. Reach out to them and grow your audience. 
  • Understand who your competition is. Do some research and find out who’s writing in your niche. These authors are potentially reaching the same target audience as yours. A great place to research books and authors is Goodreads. 
  • Connect with authors in your genre. Use your social media platform(s) to talk about other author’s books and reach out to them on social media. Try building a community of support instead of seeing them as your competition. 

Tips on how to find and work with a publicist

To wrap things up, we want to give you some final tips on finding and working with a publicist. Since it’s such a significant investment, you want to get as much as possible out of the relationship. After all, it can be the way towards sky-rocketing your author career. 

  • Make a list. List the goals and outcomes you want to achieve from working with a publicist. Share this list with the publicist you’re looking to hire and ask for a proposal with fees included. 
  • Do a background check. Research other campaigns they’ve worked on. If possible, talk to their former clients. Find out if they’ve achieved the results you want. 
  • Have open communication. When you’ve found a publicist and got the ball rolling, make sure that you keep the communication open between you. You may find that parts of the campaign aren’t working, and you’ll need to put your focus elsewhere. Check in with each other regularly to determine what’s working and what isn’t. 

Is a book publicist worth it?

A book publicist is worth it if hiring one makes sense for your book budget and allows your resources to be better used elsewhere.

As always, knowledge is power. The more you know about marketing and publicity yourself, the easier it will be to find the right publicist and have a successful campaign. And remember, marketing isn’t a one-off job, even though your campaign runs for a limited time only. Marketing continues for as long as your book can sell or as long as you have an author career. 

Ready to go to the next level with your author journey? Swap one hour of Netflix with this free training to get your book published.

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author platform

Author Platform: How to Build & Grow Your Author Platform

Becoming an author is a thrilling journey. You work hard for months to write a book, get it out there—through self-publishing or traditional—and if you have done your research, readers are ready to buy from you.

This is easier said than done, but what does streamline the process is having a platform to launch from.

Not every author has a platform, and if we are talking about self-publishing, most authors come into the game with a book idea and nothing more. Back in the day not so long ago, you had to have excellent writing skills and be able to approach a publisher to sell your idea.

The traditional publisher has a lot to do with platform building by featuring the author on their site. Now, while writing skills are still most definitely needed, as a self-publisher your platform is entirely up to you.

But the question that many first time authors ask after the fact is, “What is an author platform, and, how do I go about building one?

Building a platform is a long-term process that doesn’t end, you can move at your own pace, using only those tools and strategies you feel comfortable with. The good news is, you don’t have to be everywhere, doing everything, shooting life Facebook videos as you’re walking your dog.

Regardless if you’re a first-time author or you have several books already published without any platform, it’s never too late to start. The best time to begin was yesterday, but the next best time is right now, with where you are and what you have.

Here’s what you should know to start creating your author platform today:

In this post, we will answer that question and provide you with a framework so that—even as a beginner—you can start to piece together your platform and prepare your author career for bigger success in the near future.

What is an author platform?

An author platform can be drilled down to your ability to sell books based on who you are, the type of content you create, and how that content engages with a specific audience. You might be targeting a very niche audience, or you could be broad and have a wide reader base of multiple avatars.

Your author platform is how you engage with your audience. It is the way in which you connect with readers and the tools and strategies you employ for building your audience. You want your books to sell, right? Yes! So to make this happen, you need to get noticed.

When we look at famous authors such as John Grisham, Danielle Steele, or Dan Brown it is obvious they have a huge platform of published books and millions of followers. But it didn’t start out this way. Everyone starts with one book, two books, and the business grows from there. Authors—just like any business—must build as they grow.

Your author platform is the foundation of your business. Now, writing might be still a hobby for you, or a side gig where you earn extra cash. Or it could be something much bigger if you are gravitating towards becoming a full time author. Your author platform is a combination of several core elements that we will dive into later.

Basically it’s made up of:

  1. Your audience. This includes your social media and email list. Your audience are the people, subscribers and fanbase that read and engage with your written content.
  2. Your books and/or products. You have a book or books on your author line and may have additional services and or products such as courses, workshops, etc…
  3. Online presence. This includes your website—or homebase—where readers can find out everything about you, sign up to your newsletter, or visit your blog.
  4. Marketing outreach. Yes, as self-published authors we have to market our books. These are skills that will make you money over the years, so the best way to get started here is to learn about Amazon Advertising and the Bookbub Platform.

6 Pillars of the Author Platform

Let’s break down your author platform into what I call the six pillars of your foundation. Your author platform should consist of the following components (but may not have everything):

1. Email list/subscriber newsletter. I think this is not optional. You need an email list so you can build your own in-house marketing and promotion. They say that the money is in the list, well, the core of your business growth is here. To start building your list

2. Author Website. This might not be necessary right away, but at the very least, you should have a landing page to your book. You can set this up through Mailerlite landing pages or LeadPages. Your Author Website is something you can build later, but it is better to start with something than nothing.

3. Catalogue of Books. The best way to build your author brand is to have multiple books published to grow your business, regardless if you are fiction or nonfiction. A series of books works exceptionally well if you get the branding right. You can check out sci-fi author John Scalzi, or for nonfiction, Thibaut Meurisse with his Mastery series.

4. Distribution Model. You can go exclusively with Amazon by signing up with KDP Select. Or, go wide and get your book onto other book platforms outside of the Amazon publishing model. Whichever way you go, be aware of the pros and cons to KDP vs. Going Wide.

5. Courses and/or Training. This largely depends on the type of content you create. Courses are optional, but can be a great way to leverage and diversify your platform. 

6. Personal Branding. Yes, the colors, images, text font, and the style of content you are creating. All of it is about branding. Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books, through your personality, your voice, and your promise to your readers. Branding is how you connect with readers through your voice and message.

Author Platform Beginnings: Where do I Start?

Start Now. You might think you have to wait until you get a few books out there, or wait until you have an email list. But actually, you want to start now in building your platform. What you can do to start is create a system where you are investing time into your business. It begins with a system of habits that accumulate into a book catalogue and an email list. Your book catalogue becomes your backlist, so whenever you publish a new book, you already have other books to cross promote.

Connect with authors. The other strategy that is very important is connecting with authors in your genre. Although writing itself can be a very isolating experience, you should be intentional with building out author connections. This will definitely help when you launch new books for cross promotions as well as joining author swaps. An author swap is a strategy when a group of authors join forces to cross promote each other’s books. This can be done through a free or 0.99 book promotion. But if they don’t know about you, chances are you won’t get an invitation. 

Begin blogging. This might be something new to you, but blogging is a great tool for several reasons.

  1. It is practice writing. That’s right, by blogging you are honing in on your craft as an author. If you make mistakes, blog posts can easily be fixed. This isn’t to say that quality doesn’t matter because it does.
  2. You publish content regularly. A book can take months to write and publish. But a blog post you can write and publish within a few hours or days.
  3. Keeps readers in the loop. Yes, if readers don’t hear from you for a while, they become disinterested and forget who you are. They might unsubscribe from your list for lack of interest. Regular blog posts keep them engaged and up to date on what you have coming down the funnel.

You can set up a free blog through WordPress or Medium.com. If you don’t have a website yet, you can add in a blog later. Your blog content will depend on the focus of your work. For fiction, you might write about publishing strategies or crafting the perfect story or characters. Nonfiction writers might focus on specific strategies they discuss in their books. 

Write Guest Posts. Yes, not only can you blog on your site or post elsewhere for free, but get onto other sites as a guest post blogger. This is usually free marketing for your platform, and it adds value to the site owner’s platform.

To write a guest post for another website and/or blogger, simply visit their website and initiate conversation through the contact page (if there is one). Many bloggers will have a set of requirements listed for guest post blog submission.

Market research. This comes down to knowing who your audience is. You can begin market research by following and subscribing to the authors in your genre.

We recommend reading their books and engaging with the community, too. By modeling the writers in your genre that are already in that place you want to be, you will discover many things about your market as well. Your audience is not everyone, but a specific niche or interested people, even if it is a broad audience.

For example, readers of romance novels most likely will not be your choice market if you write urban fantasy or sci-fi. Readers could cross over if they read various genres but this would be the rarity and not the norm. 

Narrowing your audience and knowing the details behind who they are and how they live can help you sell more books, refine the way you communicate to your audience, and determine how best to invest your time, effort and money.

Social Media Connections. Once you have identified the established and best-selling books within your genre, look at who is engaging with these authors on social media.

You can gain a lot of information by looking at the interactions, posts and discussion feed. Watch for the demographics, trends, and particular habits that might not be obvious, but can provide clues as to what your audience is looking for.

Pay attention to the kinds of questions they ask, the solutions they are seeking, or the pain points they have that they need help with.

Another strategy for social media is to connect with groups and online communities that have shared interests.

Run a search on Facebook for groups who are interested in books similar to yours. Facebook groups such as 20booksto50k with David Guaghran or the Self Publishing School community are great places to check out.

Essential Author Platform Tools

In the previous section, we looked at the pillars for building your author platform. Now let7s look at the best tools of the trade for putting these 

Buy a domain. Even if you don’t have a website or presence, get your domain now. You will need it later. Ideally your domain could be your author name with a .com URL. You can use your book title. You might decide to use a domain name for your author business that isn’t your author name. But readers and subscribers recognize the branding as yours.

For example, https://www.developgoodhabits.com/ is a habit-themed blog and website that is run by bestselling self-publisher Steve (S.J.) Scott, who has written multiple books in this genre.

Bestselling author of Mini-Habits Stephen Guise uses https://stephenguise.com/ as his homebase. His platform mainly consists of his blog post that he delivers consistently every week. He has multiple books that he promotes through his channel, too. But his homebase is the website where you can sign up for free stuff and join the newsletter.

Chandler Bolt of Self Publishing School has his company domain as: https://self-publishingschool.com/. Here you can find the various top-notch courses and services provided by Self Publishing School and sign up on the site, or schedule a call with someone.

How do you get a domain name?

You can purchase a domain name through a website host server such as Bluehost or Hostgator. I registered my domain through Name.com, but you can find a host of places to get your domain. Where you buy it isn’t as important as what your domain name is and what it stands for. 

Other domain names you might recognize:

Here are a few tips on coming up with a domain name:

  1. Keep the domain name simple. Try to avoid domain names that use hyphens or strange characters, which make remembering and properly entering the domain name more difficult. A domain name should be easy to remember. Don’t get fancy. Keep it simple and clean.
  2. Acquire more than one domain name. Yes, you can have more than one domain if you are doing fiction and nonfiction. Or you might have a separate domain name for your course platform to separate from your books.
  3. Brand representation. Your domain name should represent what you do, or what your company provides. So if you are an author, a domain is either your author name, or the name of your company. For example, John Lee Dumas of Fire Nation created Entrepreneurs on Fire. Professional blogger Darren Rowse created https://problogger.com/ 
  4. Keyword specific domain. Include a keyword in your domain name, if possible. This is also helpful if the domain of your name is already owned by someone else. Every link to your site that’s placed online will contain your domain name, so reinforcing a keyword linked with your site can increase your chances of SEO love long-term.

Sign Up with an email service provider.

What is an email platform? 

An email platform is a database that holds your email lists, and allows you to communicate with your subscribers, or fans, in mass.

Just to be clear, an ESP (Email Service Provider) is not gmail or yahoo. 

You need a system that will gather, store and organize your emails when people subscribe to your list. These services are built to provide you with all the necessary tools.

An email list is a list of email addresses of people that have subscribed to your blog, website, or other channel. Email lists give you direct access to communicate with your fans, readers, and/or subscribers, which allows you to build a relationship of trust and value.

Email lists are important because it allows you to continue a relationship with people who are interested in your products and services even after they finish reading your book.

Having direct access to communicate with your fans and readers is powerful, because you can build trust and offer even more value, which places you in a great position to offer even more products, services, and content.

The top 5 recommended email service providers are:

Mailchimp

You might have heard of MailChimp as a good starting email platform, mainly because they offer a free version and you’re looking to build an audience first before you start paying.

Mailerlite

A better solution would be either MailerLite, who offer a similar free plan (first 1,000 subscribers for free). The site has better service and is easier to navigate. But for a more robust platform, you want to eventually use…

Convert Kit

Any free plan you start with will have limitations, which is why I would recommend starting with a paid option. But you get to decide what this looks like for you.

Free or paid, pick one. If you don’t like it, you can always change it later.

Additional options:

Active Campaign

AWeber

We recommend signing up with the cheapest viable option that would be Mailchimp or Mailerlite. You can sign up for free until you hit a number of subscribers and then begin monthly/annual payments.

You can also read this article on our site to learn everything about setting up and managing your email lists:

Tips for Building an Author Platform

In this article we covered the essentials for what you need to build an author platform. There are always those “other things” you can be doing but they are not critical tasks. For example, posting to social media 30x a day sounds productive, but at the end of the day, many authors see better returns by writing more books. If you have the time and want to explore other options that have not been mentioned before, you are welcome to try.

Here are several more tips you can try for marketing and building your author platform. I would not call these tasks you should or need to do.

Create a Mastermind Group. This is a fantastic way to really get to know your readers by setting up a Mastermind community. You can do this through a Facebook group. Or, set up a private Mastermind through ClickFunnels, Kajabi, or a number of sites that can host your program. This could be something to consider after you have built a nice following and you have people to start with in order to get engagement moving.

Attend Writer Conferences. One of the best ways to start learning about your craft and connecting with author communities is attending a writers conference. This can be an event in your local area, in another part of the country, the world, or even online!

Writers conferences can be some of the best investments to make in your writing career. And guess what? There are plenty of writing conferences for authors in North America taking place all year round.

Writers conferences and workshops are available in most cities across North America and you can find one near you to attend this year or in the near future.

Conferences can be hosted according to specific subjects, writing niches, or genres, or they can be targeted towards the broad writing and publishing industry. Attendees are able to network with peers, industry experts, and professionals that provide author services, such as publishing agents, book editors, and illustrators.

Depending on which area of expertise interests you, there are a variety of writers conferences offered throughout the world.

Even if you haven’t published a book yet but are in the middle of a great outline, joining a live event could be the magic sauce to make that happen. Even if writing is a part time job and you want to build your name and platform before taking the leap, attending a writers conference can jump start your career. It builds important connections, expands opportunity, and defines your clarity of purpose!

The Author Advantage Live conference from Self-Publishing School tops our lists of writers conferences for 2021 because it’s truly one-of-a-kind experience, tailored to the demands of today’s digital author (and those aspiring to be!).

For a listing of scheduled writer’s events in 2021, you can check out our article here https://selfpublishing.com/best-writers-conference/ and get ready for a great year of writing!

Here are 3 questions to help you sign up for a writers conference:

  1. What is the best event for me? Is it the Author Advantage Live event or The Muse and the Marketplace?
  2. What is drawing me to a particular event? The speakers? Size of the guest list? Convenient location? Workshop themes?
  3. Am I ready to sign up for an event now?

Joining an event is a no-brainer. You owe it to yourself as an author and a creative to scale up your skills as a writer and meet the people on the same journey as you.

Create a Free Giveaway. By creating a piece of free content that goes with your brand, you can begin right away to build your audience and email list. We recommend this is done using a lead magnet, a free piece of content that could be a downloadable PDF, checklist, audiobook, or a free chapter of your next book. 

Planning to include a lead magnet together with your book makes it super-easy for readers to discover your brand and join your thriving community

Your lead magnet is a great way to attract more customers and scale up your business, but you have to know how to build an effective piece of content that people actually want, and then, present it to them when they need it the most.

The lead magnet has a two-fold purpose.

First, it needs to serve your purpose as an author or business owner. 

Second, it must serve the purpose of your subscribers. Why are they signing up in the first place? You must know why, and be prepared to deliver on that WHY.

Here are some effective lead magnet ideas to consider creating:

  1. Action guide
  2. Checklists
  3. Catalog
  4. Workbooks
  5. Worksheets
  6. Cheatsheet
  7. Templates
  8. Video series
  9. First 3 videos for a paid course
  10. Recipes
  11. Access to an exclusive Facebook community
  12. Toolkit

The lead magnet can be placed in the front and back of your book. You could have the lead magnet page at the back of your book right after the last chapter just to serve as a reminder:“Hey, don’t forget to sign up for your free action guide right here!”

By placing the lead magnet at the front and back, you have all the bases covered.

Link on Your Amazon Author Page

Your lead magnet in a book is not the only place to put it. What many authors fail to see is that the amazon author page serves as a great opportunity for you to build your email list. 

For everything you need to set up your lead magnet and deliver it to your potential readers with best results, check out our article right here: https://selfpublishing.com/lead-magnet/

Author Platform Examples

The best way to learn about building a great platform is to begin researching the platform of successful authors. This depends if you are writing fiction or nonfiction but, remember the basic of your platform is about branding, showcasing your books and products, and thirdly, newsletter signups.

Here are some examples of authors with platforms that do a great job of showcasing and marketing their branding. You may recognize some of these authors in your genre or area of reading interest:

Dean Koontz

Brenda Novak

Nora Roberts

Rachel Howzell Hall

http://www.rachelhowzell.com/

Author Platform: Building an Amazon Author Page

Your Amazon Author Page is basically your personal homepage dedicated to you as an author, and the books you have published. When your book is displayed on Amazon, the author’s name can be hyperlinked, and when the customer or reader clicks on the author’s name, the customer is taken directly to the author’s page. If you don’t have a website, this is a great place to start building your brand.

You can use your Amazon Author Page to personalize a page specifically featuring information about you as an author, and the books you have written.

While it’s a super-powerful platform for indie and self-published authors, it’s also powerful for traditionally published authors. Any author that has written a book that’s sold online or in-store should have an Amazon Author Page.

Setting up and optimizing an Amazon Author Page using Amazon Author Central is a very smart idea for several reasons. First of all, potential readers can take an immediate interest in your work. 

So, who can create an Amazon Author Page? An author with a published book on Amazon!

Yes, as soon as you launch your first book you can get to work on setting up and maintaining your most prolific profile, next to your own website. You don’t have a website yet? Then you definitely need to maximize on your Amazon page.

Author Platform: Ready to Start Building?

No matter where you’re at in the process, today is the best time to start, even if you’re not done with your book yet. You can set up a blog, start your email list with a lead magnet, and set up a Facebook Author Page in just a few minutes.

But what matters is you take action and do something! Every author begins at the same place…the beginning! It doesn’t matter if you’re Stephen King, JK Rowling or Barack Obama. Get started today and let’s see what you can create in the next year.

Have you had some recent success with your author platform and want to tell us about it? Drop your notes below and share your story! We’d love to hear from you…

Book Writing Programs: 18 Tools for Authors

Writing a book is one of the most complex projects any writer can pursue.

There are a lot of stages in the process of going from your initial idea to a published book. Keeping track of all the moving pieces, and making sure they are carried out the right way, is no small challenge. 

Thankfully, there are book writing programs available to make your life easier every step of the way. 

To help you decide on the right options for your book, we’ve gathered together some of the best programs. There is a mixture of paid and free tools for Mac, Windows, mobile devices, and the Cloud.

Are you ready to discover the best book writing programs for your next project?

This guide to book writing programs covers:

  1. Programs for book research
  2. Programs for planning
  3. Programs for book writing 
  4. Programs for editing and style 
  5. Programs for formatting and exporting
  6. Book Writing & Publishing Program

Programs for Book Research

Fiction and nonfiction books alike require careful research to give readers everything they are looking for. 

Depending on the complexity of your book, it can be difficult to keep track of all your notes, research material, and snippets of inspiration.

Some authors prefer to keep all their research material in the same program that they write in, while others like to store everything in a separate app. 

If you want to have a dedicated program to keep all of your book’s research material, here are three great options.

Apple Notes

Apple Notes is one of the best book research solutions for authors who use iPhones, iPads, and Macs to create their books. 

It allows you to quickly jot down a moment of inspiration or save an idea or image while you’re browsing online.

Notes integrates well with all of Apple’s other tools, making it easy to transfer material back and forth between different apps. 

If you are looking for a minimalist, intuitive way to research and store material for your book, Apple Notes could be your perfect program.

Google Keep

Google Keep is a simple and easy to use research tool. It’s a great choice if you prefer to work with Google tools like Docs and Drive. 

Keep has dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS making it easy to jot down your ideas and inspiration on the go and then sync seamlessly across devices. 

You never know when your next great idea will strike. Having a simple program like Google Keep makes sure none of your ideas go to waste.

Simplenote

Simplenote lives up to its name. It’s a minimalist, intuitive place to take notes and store ideas for your book projects. 

You can use Simplenote on almost every operating system and platform available, including Linux, so it’s a great choice for authors working outside of the usual Windows and Apple ecosystems. 

Simplenote uses Markdown, so if you’re already familiar with that way of working, you will find it easy to get started creating book research materials in Simplenote. 

Programs for Planning

After you’ve gathered together the ideas and inspiration that will form your book’s content, it’s important to plan and map out the rest of the project and how it will all fit together. 

Some authors like to go old-school and use sticky notes, whiteboards, and handwritten mind maps to plan out everything their book will contain. Others prefer to use digital programs to keep everything under control.

Here are two great book writing programs for better planning.

Trello

Trello is one of the most intuitive planning tools out there, but it doesn’t compromise on power. 

You can integrate Trello with other apps like Google Calendar to keep your project precisely scheduled out. 

Trello has an incredibly easy to use drag and drop Kanban-style interface. There are desktop and mobile versions of the program that sync, allowing you to check your book plan or outline across multiple devices.

XMind

Creating a mindmap of your book is one of the best ways to organize your ideas. You can always use large pieces of paper or a whiteboard for your mindmap, but there are also apps and programs that offer a lot more functionality.

XMind is a powerful and popular program for creating mindmaps. It supports aesthetically beautiful maps you can customize with different graphics, and it syncs across desktop and mobile. 

Programs for Writing 

The most important program for writers is the tool you use to write your book. Of all the categories in this guide, take the most time to think about your needs here and which app best meets them. 

Some of the factors to weigh up include:

  1. Will you be working on desktop, mobile, or both?
  2. Which operating system will you be using?
  3. What features do you require? 
  4. Are you looking for a simple writing solution, or a complex program offering research and formatting capabilities?
  5. Do you want to take the time to learn a powerful program, or do you want something simple and intuitive you can jump straight into?

Keep those five factors in mind as you browse this selection of eight book writing programs. 

FocusWriter

FocusWriter is an ideal choice if you’re looking for the most minimal and intuitive environment for book writing.

Using FocusWriter allows you to focus entirely on your work. It blocks out everything on your screen except for the words you are crafting, keeping your creative flow free from outside distractions. 

You can download FocusWriter for free on Windows or Linux, but it currently doesn’t work on Mac or mobile. 

Google Docs 

If you already use Google’s suite of tools, you should consider Docs for your book writing program. 

Google Docs has the advantage of storing all your work in the Cloud while also allowing you to work offline when needed. It’s easy to collaborate with proofreaders, editors, and other creatives by sharing a link to a Docs file. 

You can also add a lot of functionality to Docs with its add-ons, allowing you to customize its features to your needs. 

Microsoft Word

A lot of writers have experience using Microsoft Word and find it easier to continue with the program rather than adapting to something new. 

Word might lack a lot of the specialist features found in other writing programs, but it has everything you need to finish your book. 

If you’re already a regular user of Microsoft’s flagship writing tool and don’t feel the need for anything more complex, stick with it to start writing your book as soon as possible. 

Novlr

Novlr manages to blend advanced features for authors with a clear and attractive user interface that is simple to use. 

You can plan out your chapters and scenes using Novlr as well as storing notes and research material. 

Although Novlr isn’t an ideal choice for nonfiction writers, aspiring novelists should check out the free trial on offer to get a feel for what it’s like to work in Novlr compared to other specialist writing programs. 

Scrivener

Scrivener is famous for being one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there.

It’s a powerful solution for every stage of the writing process, from research and planning to formatting and exporting your final book file. 

Although there’s a definite learning curve to Scrivener, it’s great value and comes with one of the best free trials out there. Scrivener is available for Mac, Windows, and iOS. 

Ulysses 

Ulysses is a powerful writing program available exclusively for authors using MacOS or iOS. 

It combines a very focused writing environment with extra features such as the ability to set goals and track your writing stats, attach files and supporting documents to your project, and to publish directly to WordPress and Medium from within the program. 

If you prefer to work using Apple software and hardware, and want a program that allows you to blog as well as write books, Ulysses is worth checking out further. 

yWriter 

yWriter is a free book writing program available for users of Windows and Linux. 

Unlike a lot of other writing apps, yWriter’s creator is both a novelist and a programmer. Because of this background, yWriter is packed with specialist features intended for fiction authors, like the ability to store character and location information directly in the app. 

Nonfiction writers should look elsewhere, but if you’re working on a fiction book in Windows, take the time to check out yWriter. 

Programs for Editing & Style

Although there’s no substitute for working with an experienced human editor, you can make better use of their time by first running your text through a grammar and style checking tool. 

Some tools are well-suited to catching grammar and spelling errors while others are more concerned with tightening your text and improving its readability. 

Here are three programs to help self-edit your book and improve its style. 

Grammarly 

Grammarly is probably the most famous self-editing tool on the market today.

You can use Grammarly to catch errors with your punctuation, fix your grammar slip-ups, and improve the readability of your text. You can check out our full review here.

Grammarly exists as a standalone program, as a Cloud service, and also as an integration for web browsers and other apps. 

Hemingway 

Hemingway is far more focused on improving the style of your writing rather than catching our basic errors.

This program scans your text for complicated word choices, sentences that are too lengthy, and misuses of the passive voice. Our full Hemingway review breaks down exactly what it does. 

You can either use Hemingway in the Cloud or download a standalone app for Mac or Windows. It’s a good idea to use Hemingway in conjunction with Grammarly or ProWritingAid to focus on both errors and style improvements. 

ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is a comprehensive style and grammar checking program.

As well as highlighting any basic errors, ProWritingAid shows you where you repeat certain words or phrases too often, where your sentence lengths aren’t varied enough, and where you use cliched language. 

Both ProWritingAid and Grammarly are powerful self-editing programs. Book writers should compare the two and choose the one which is the best fit for their needs. You can explore ProWritingAid in more detail here

Programs for Formatting & Exporting 

If you’re not only writing a book but looking to format and self-publish it as well, you need to either find a program with the right features or invest in hiring someone to carry out the work.

Some of the programs featured earlier in this guide, such as Scrivener, have formatting and exporting capabilities. 

But what if your writing program isn’t suited for formatting? 

Here are three programs you can use to format your book. 

FastPencil 

FastPencil is more than just a formatting tool. It’s a powerful and fully-featured cloud writing environment that lets you write, format, and market your book online.

As FastPencil offers a lot more than just formatting capabilities, you should be comfortable with using it for your entire book writing process. Check out our full review to decide if it’s right for you. 

Jutoh

Jutoh is a dedicated formatting tool intended for book writers looking to self-publish ebooks. 

You can download Jutoh for Windows, Mac, Linux, or even Raspberry Pi. It exports your book files as ePub or Kindle, allowing you to publish on all the biggest book retailers online. 

Jutoh is available for a one-off purchase price, meaning you don’t need to worry about a monthly subscription for a service you only use from time to time. 

Vellum

Vellum is one of the best-known formatting and export programs available to self-publishers.

You can use Vellum to format both ebook and paperback files as well as exporting them in all of the major file formats. Vellum is available as a one-off purchase, with a slightly more affordable option if you only need to format and export eBook files. Our Vellum review breaks down everything you need to know,

Vellum is only available for Mac at this time.

Complete Book Writing Program

If you’re looking for a complete solution to write and publish a book, there are a number of book publishing courses on today’s digital marketplace.

However, very few of these courses walk you through the entire process on how to write, publish, and market your book.

For a complete book writing and publishing program, we recommend these book writing programs from our partner site, Self-Publishing School.

You can check out our full Self-Publishing School review here.

You now have all the programs you need to write a successful book, from start to finish. 

So what are your next steps?

Choose the right mix of programs for every stage of your project, but don’t take too long to decide. These tools are just a means to an end, allowing you to focus on your book.

After that, it’s time to write! 

There’s nothing more exciting than starting a brand new book project, and the right mix of programs will make it easier every step of the way. 

childrens book publishers

Children’s Book Publishers: 33 Best Publishers for Your Children’s Book

Are you an independent author looking for the best children’s book publishers to submit your work to?

Of all the types of book out there, children’s books are never going away. There will always be a demand for fresh books aimed at youngsters in schools, libraries, and homes.

Related: How to Write a Children’s Book

Finding the right book publisher for your book requires research. Do you like the company’s background and values? Does the publisher have a good reputation for publishing books similar to your own? When you browse their catalog, can you imagine your book alongside the others you see?

To help you find the best children’s book publisher for your work, we’ve gathered together a list of 33 publishers open to submissions from unagented authors. 

Abdo Publishing 

Abdo Publishing started as a small, family-based company based in Minnesota back in 1985. Since then, Abdo has evolved to become one of the biggest providers of educational publishing in America. Abdo Publishing features a wide range of books including picture books, graphic novels, and young adult fiction.

To submit to Abdo, you need to be a fiction author as the publisher isn’t interested in nonfiction at this time. Abdo is looking for proposals related to fiction series consisting of four books. You should send an overview of the series, outlines for the four books, and a few sample chapters from book one.   

Albert Whitman & Company 

Albert Whitman states that its mission is to offer books that are not only worthy of winning an award, but also treat readers with care and respect. The ultimate aim of an Albert Whitman & Company book is to help young readers develop their intellect and emotional maturity. 

You can submit to Albert Whitman if you have a manuscript or proposal for a picture book, middle-grade fiction, or a young adult novel. 

Annick Press 

Annick Press started out back in 1975. They are an indie publisher based in Toronto, Canada. Some of the titles published by Annick include The Paper Bag Princess which has sold over 7 million copies across the globe. If you’re interested in children’s book publishers with a track record of publishing successful books, this is one of them. Books offered by Annick have the ultimate aim of helping a child develop their inner resources and encouraging them to contribute to their community. 

Annick welcomes submissions from authors of picture books, middle-grade fiction, young adult fiction, and non-fiction for young readers of any age. The company is inclusive and particularly welcomes submissions from authors of color, authors with disabilities, and authors who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+.

Arbordale Publishing 

Arbordale Publishing offers young people books that are both educational and fun. Their educational focus is on encouraging a love of STEM topics in their readers. Books published by Arbordale combine a fun but educational story with a practical exercise section at the end to help consolidate learning. 

Arbordale is looking for submissions that are in harmony with its STEM focus. If you’re interested in publishing with Arbordale, read their guidelines carefully, as they break down exactly what they do and don’t want. If you are accepted by Arbordale, you will receive a small advance against your future royalties. 

August House 

August House has a unique angle on children’s book publishing. Their focus is on books based around the folk and oral storytelling traditions of the world. August champions diversity and proudly features writers from every corner of the globe. Over three decades of experience and a large number of prestigious publishing awards are testament to their success. 

You can submit to August House if you have a book for young people that fits with their focus on folklore and oral tradition. Illustrators are also invited to submit to August House.  

Boyds Mills Press

Boyds Mills has over thirty years of experience offering books of various types to young readers. The children’s book publishing company doesn’t have a particular philosophical focus and offers a wide mixture of different titles. However, they state that all their books have the fundamental focus of providing information and entertainment, no matter the age of the reader.

You can see the submissions page for Boyds Mills here. They only open up for submissions periodically, so be sure to check back if they aren’t accepting new books when you check them out.   

Candlewick Press

Candlewick Press started back in the early 90s, originally offering top-quality picture books before expanding to offer many different genres for young readers. It is one of the more commonly known children’s book publishers today. Candlewick are proud of their commitment to truly independent publishing and helping their authors and illustrators to produce books that young readers love.

Candlewick accepts submissions from both authors and illustrators. Sometimes, the company states that they aren’t interested in manuscript or art submissions at a particular time, so be sure to check back if you notice that. 

Cardinal Rule Press

Cardinal Rule Press is a traditional publisher based out of Southeast Michigan. The company has a strong ethical focus, stating that their titles aim to inspire children to be hopeful and courageous as well as promoting the Golden Rule. 

If you want to submit to Cardinal Rule Press, they have a window open until February 1st, 2021. It is unknown when their next submission period will be after the current one ends. 

Charlesbridge

Charlesbridge aims to serve young readers through books that focus on positivity, wonder, and fun. Titles from Charlesbridge aim to engage young readers by encouraging lifelong learning and further activities within the classroom and home. 

If you are interested in publishing with Charlesbridge, you need to submit a digital manuscript as they are not interested in receiving hard copies. 

Chicago Review Press

Chicago Review Press has been active in the independent publishing world for almost 50 years. The company currently has over 1000 titles in print and aims to encourage diversity and inclusivity by championing minority authors of various racial, gender, and disability backgrounds.

If you have a children’s book that is not a picture book, you are eligible to submit to Chicago Review Press. They suggest sending a query rather than a manuscript initially.   

Chronicle Books 

Chronicle is an independent publisher focusing on a wide range of products including books but also journals, desk accessories, and calendars. Chronicle Books offers titles to readers of all ages but also has a dedicated kids and teens imprint. They are a San Francisco publisher that also has a base in London.

To submit to Chronicle, you need to send a physical paper submission. The company isn’t interested in receiving digital submissions, unlike many of the other children’s book publishers. 

David Fickling Books 

David Fickling Books used to be part of Scholastic and later Random House but is now a fully independent book publisher. The company’s values are based around freedom, flexibility, and a commitment to embracing new technology. David Fickling Books offers titles from major authors including Philip Pullman.

Sometimes, David Fickling Books closes their submissions process to authors without agents. Check out their guidelines and reach out to them to make sure. 

Flashlight Press 

Flashlight Press is based around the simple mission of providing books shining a light on family and social situations aimed at young readers. The company has a small core team of six people but offers a wide catalog of books, including many award winners.

Flashlight Press welcomes submissions from both authors and artists. If you have a fictional children’s picture book, reach out to Flashlight and see if it’s a good fit. 

Flying Eye Books 

Flying Eye Books is an imprint of Nobrow aimed at younger readers. The publisher’s main objective is to offer beautifully designed reads based on visual content for children. Flying Eye not only translates their own books into international languages to serve young readers across the globe but also translates the work of international authors to be enjoyed by the Anglosphere. 

If you think your book is a good fit for the Flying Eye and Nobrow approach to publishing, you should check out their submission guidelines. Unlike a lot of other children’s book publishers, Flying Eye promises they will get in touch even if you are rejected.  

Free Spirit Publishing 

Free Spirit Publishing is a children’s book company with a purpose. They aim to do more than entertain young readers with their books – they also want to equip them with the information and skills they need to navigate the difficult moments in life, such as facing bullying and building self-esteem. Former teacher Judy Galbraith founded Free Spirit in 1983 to fill the gap she noticed for books that aimed to nurture young people.

Free Spirit Publishing is open for submissions for both educator resources and children’s and teen books. Check out their guidelines to see if your book is a good fit.  

Hogs Back Books 

Hogs Back Books is based out of Wiltshire, England, and offers a mixture of books for younger readers of various ages. At this time, Hogs Back features picture books for the youngest readers out there, books for readers up to the age of 14, and fiction for teenagers. It is a children’s book publisher that caters to various age levels.

If you have a suitable book aimed at readers of 10 years old or younger, you can check out Hogs Back Books’ submissions guidelines PDF here

Holiday House 

Holiday House has a special place on this list as it is the oldest publisher in America to focus solely on books for younger readers. The company started offering children’s books back in 1935 and hasn’t looked back since. As well as offering books for children and young adults, Holiday House publishes a series of books for people just learning to read titled I Like to Read.

You can check out the full Holiday House submissions guidelines here. They are looking for full manuscripts rather than summaries and are open to physical or digital submissions.   

Immedium

Immedium is a children’s book publisher that aims to inspire young readers to fall in love with reading, writing, and illustration to the extent they go on to produce their own creative work. The company is based in San Francisco and features a lot of titles with an Asian-American focus, such as books exploring the Chinese Zodiac.

If you are an author or an illustrator, you can submit your work to Immedium. You will need to send a physical copy of your manuscript or art as digital submission is not available. 

Kane Miller

Kane Miller offers children’s books that reflect the diversity of the world and aim to explore and celebrate cultural similarities and differences alike. The publisher has a wide selection of titles, featuring everything from books for babies through to a series of official Bear Grylls books for young readers.  

You can submit either artwork or a full manuscript to Kane Miller. Submissions are by email only and Kane Miller aims to respond within 10 to 14 weeks.  

Kids Can Press 

Kids Can Press is based in Canada and has offered socially responsible children’s books since 1973. At this time, Kids Can has a catalog featuring over 600 titles. Some of the themes found in Kids Can books are impressive, tackling issues such as unconscious racial bias in an understandable way that young minds can grasp. 

You can submit your work to Kids Can Press via mail. Kids Can have put out a statement saying their offices are closed until after the pandemic is over, so reach out to them for confirmation of when they will reopen.  

Lee & Low Books 

Lee & Low Books describes itself as the largest publisher of diversity-focused books for children in the United States. Since 1991, Lee & Low has published books with a particular focus on supporting minority-Ethnic artists and unpublished writers. Their stories focus on modern, contemporary topics that are intended for every child to enjoy, no matter their background.

Although Lee & Low does accept unagented submissions from time to time, they currently do not. You can still get in touch via an agent or make contact directly at a writing conference. Lee & Low also encourage writers to start a relationship by entering one of their writing contests. 

Little Tiger Press

Little Tiger Press is a British-based children’s book publisher with over three decades of experience. The company’s mission is to offer young people children’s books of the highest quality to encourage a lifelong love of reading. Little Tiger’s books aim to offer an amusing, meaningful, and imaginative experience for young people. 

You can submit to Little Tiger Press if you’re an author or an illustrator. Take the time to check out their various imprints to find the best fit for your idea. 

Mighty Media Press

Mighty Media Press is an imprint of the wider Might Media company. The company states its mission is to equip young people with everything they need to become exceptional grownups. Mighty Media uses a wide range of formats to reach younger readers, including ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels. 

Submitting to Mighty Media is a very selective process. They state that they publish six books out of the thousands of submissions they receive each year. Check out their guidelines carefully to stand the best chance of acceptance. 

Page Street Publishing 

Page Street Publishing is based just outside of Boston and has been in business since 2012. Page Street has an incredibly strong focus on socially-conscious practices, such as using soy-based ink to protect the environment. As well as offering some books for adult readers, Page Street has dedicated picture book and Young Adult divisions. 

Page Street accepts both agented and unagented submissions. Read their guidelines carefully as there is a slightly different process for children’s books, young adult fiction, and nonfiction.  

Pants On Fire Press

Pants On Fire Press is a boutique publisher that offers titles to middle-grade and young adult readers. They publish on a traditional basis, offering royalties and no charges to authors, unlike the vanity press model. Pants On Fire also offers author services in addition to their traditional publishing activities.

If you are looking to submit to Pants On Fire, read their guidelines carefully to make sure you meet their criteria. You will need to send an initial query via email rather than a full manuscript.  

Peachtree Publishing Company

Peachtree Publishing Company is a Georgia-based publisher. They have been offering books since 1977. Peachtree started as a way to feature local Southern writers and originally focused on mature readers before switching emphasis to offer books for young people of all ages. While some children’s book publishers focus on one age group, this is a good option if you’re interested in writing for various ages.

You can submit either manuscripts or artwork to Peachtree. Sometimes, they are only interested in receiving work from authors with agents, so be sure to check.   

Phaidon

Phaidon is a fairly highbrow publisher that mainly features adult books covering topics such as art, architecture, and fashion. However, they also publish children’s books. Their children’s titles cover everything from typical stories through to more unusual offerings like a children’s guide to Jackson Pollock.

Phaidon considers submissions for board books, novelty books, and picture books aimed at the 0-8 age bracket.  

Really Decent Books 

Really Decent Books is a British-based publisher that focuses on titles for younger readers, such as babies, toddlers, and young children. Really Decent titles feature at major book fairs including London, Frankfurt, and Bologna. The company has a strong environmental focus in its supplies and processes.

You can reach out to Really Decent Books if you have an idea for an illustrated book. They aim to reply within 3-4 weeks. 

Sleeping Bear Press

Sleeping Bear Press started just before the new millennium with a single title. The books published by Sleeping Bear aim to educate younger readers while also entertaining them. Sleeping Bear Press offers books suitable for grade levels ranging from Preschool through to Grade 8. 

To submit to Sleeping Bear Press, you are required to send a full manuscript via email as a Word document. Sleeping Bear replies to authors around six months after submission if they are interested in taking things forward.  

Tilbury House Publishers 

Tilbury House Publishers has over 40 years of experience publishing titles for both young and grownup readers. Nowadays, the company’s focus is on offering books for young readers that deal with important social topics such as tolerance, environmental concerns, and global empathy. 

You can submit to Tilbury House if you have a full manuscript or an illustration portfolio. You should send full manuscripts via mail or you can reach out via email with an initial query if you’re interested in this children’s book publisher. 

Tuttle Publishing 

Tuttle Publishing is one of the oldest publishers on this list, celebrating its 70th anniversary back in 2018. The company is based in both Vermont and Tokyo and has a strong focus on Asia accordingly. As well as conventional children’s books, Tuttle has a strong focus on graphic novels, manga, and coloring books. 

Tuttle encourages authors to submit a book proposal via either mail or email, although email is preferred. They will get back to authors within 3 months if interested, a shorter time period than many other publishers. 

Versify 

Versify is an imprint of HMH Books curated by award-winning author Kwame Alexander. Currently, their focus is on publishing picture books, novels, nonfiction, and poetry that celebrate and reflect the lives of all children. Versify states that they are proud to work with established and undiscovered talent alike. 

You can submit to Versify if you have a full children’s book manuscript in line with the company’s values. New unsolicited submissions are currently closed due to Covid but will open up again after the pandemic settles down. 

Workman Publishing 

Workman Publishing offers a wide range of different books including a dedicated children’s book division. The company is headquartered in Greenwich Village, New York, but also has offices across the USA. Workman’s children’s books division publishes titles for kids of all ages, ranging from babies to titles for teens and young adults. 

Workman allows authors to submit their book proposal via email. Although they welcome unsolicited children’s book proposals, they are not interested in receiving picture book submissions. 

Should you use a traditional children’s book publisher or self-publish?

It’s no surprise that we advocate the independent route! But we genuinely feel there are superb reasons to go your way rather than working with a publisher. 

If you choose the self-publishing path, you benefit from:

  • Speed. You will have noticed that most of the publishers on this list take at least six months to respond to submissions! That’s not the time it takes to get your book out there. It’s the time it takes for them to even get back to you! Choosing to self-publish cuts out the waiting time entirely and lets you experience success sooner.
  • Freedom. As a self-published children’s author, you have total creative freedom. You can ensure your book is exactly as you want it to be, and carry out its launch and marketing at a time that suits you.
  • Income. When you self-publish, you receive a bigger slice of the royalties than you would from working with a traditional publisher. 

If you want to learn more about what self-publishing looks like as a children’s book author, reach out to our friends at Self Publishing School! They have a brand new program that provides you with everything you need to experience serious levels of success. 

Related: Self-Publishing Companies

Whether you choose the self-publishing route or end up publishing with one of the options in this guide, we wish you every success with your children’s book!

how long does it take to write a book

How Long Does It Take To Write A Book? For First-Time Authors

How long does it take to write a book, you ask? If you’re a first-time author, you probably think it takes a LONG time.

Thankfully, we have some good news for you…

Writing a book can take far less time than you might imagine!

Do you dream of writing a book, but worry about the time it will take to make your dream come true?

If so, you’re not alone.

Before you commit to making your book idea a reality, you need to know how long it will take.

If you’re looking to write a brilliant book in a short amount of time that fits your lifestyle, we’ve got you covered. 

This guide contains the information, tools, and techniques you need to become a successful author as soon as possible

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Here’s what you should know to determine how long it takes to write a book:

  1. How to schedule a deadline for writing your book
  2. What is the average time to write a book?
  3. How many pages does it take to write a book?
  4. How to write a book in less time
  5. Tools to boost your book writing speed
  6. A step by step book writing schedule

How to schedule a deadline for writing your book

Even though writing the content for your book is only one part of the self-publishing process, it’s the most important part!

You can create the most beautiful book cover in the world and come up with a persuasive marketing plan. However, if the writing itself is anything less than stellar, your readers will feel disappointed. 

Of course, it’s not enough to write well. You also need to write according to a realistic timeframe.

Why, exactly? 

As a self-published author, shouldn’t you have the luxury of taking as long as you please?

While you have the liberty to write according to any schedule you want, you should take the time to establish an optimal one.

Some of the main benefits of setting a book writing deadline include:

  • Momentum. For many authors, enthusiasm for writing their book tapers off over time. If you take too long to get it done, you run the risk of losing your momentum and abandoning the project altogether. Setting an achievable book writing deadline keeps you motivated to see it through.
  • Project planning. If you’re self-publishing properly, you have a long checklist of tasks to carry out aside from writing. To launch and market your book, you need to know when it will be complete.
  • Author wellness. Failing to set a deadline is a fast way to feel overwhelmed and unfocused. A book writing deadline allows you to set manageable targets and to remain in control at all times. 

But what should your writing deadline be?

If you’ve written a book in the past, you’ll have a realistic idea of how long the process takes. Even then, it’s worth keeping in mind that different books take different amounts of time to write. 

How about if you’ve never written a book before?

If you’re working on your first book, you can still set a realistic deadline. Here are some techniques.

  • Establish your speed. Every writer has a different rate of output, and that’s OK. It’s not about comparing yourself to others. Instead, it’s about finding the right pace for you. Try writing 500 words or so in conditions similar to those you will be writing your book in. How long does it take you to get content worthy of a first draft? Do this on a few different occasions to avoid any outlier results. Average out the different times. Once you know how long 500 satisfactory words take you on average, you can multiply that time upwards to set a deadline for your book’s final word count. If you still feel like you’re going too slow, there are a lot of ways to pick up your pace and write faster!
  • Ask around. Even if you haven’t written a book before, you probably know authors that have. Getting a range of different opinions on how long others take to write a book similar to yours will give you a rough estimate to work with. 
  • Check your calendar. It’s natural to get too excited about writing a book and not take into account what your schedule will look like. Do you have vacations on the horizon? Family commitments? Anything else that might eat into your planned writing time? Be sure to keep these in mind when determining your book writing deadline.

When setting your deadline, try and find the golden mean between being overly optimistic and excessively cautious. 

Setting a deadline you can’t keep not only runs the risk of hurting your confidence but also can lead to other parts of the publishing process being delayed or skipped entirely, so choose wisely!

How long does it take to write a book on average?

The average time to write a book for most authors is 180 days, or 6 months, more or less. Usually, it takes authors anywhere from 4-8 months to complete a book. However, you can definitely write a book faster than that!

Now that you have some effective ways to determine what your book’s deadline should be, let’s consider how long books take individual authors on average. 

Please keep in mind this advice is only intended as a guideline. Many variables influence how long a book might take.

The average time to write a book is affected by:

  • The genre of the book being written
  • The author’s typing speed
  • How many writing sessions the author has scheduled
  • How much editing and revision is required

To put it another way, while it may be useful to have an idea of the average time needed, your mileage may well vary!

The next section of this guide looks at page counts for different books in more detail, but for now, we’ll use 50,000 words as a benchmark.

Many writers are capable of producing 500 words of good content per session, while others prefer to hit at least 1000.

So how many writing sessions will you need to produce a full book?

  • If you aim to output 500 words per session, you would need 100 sessions to hit your 50,000-word count target
  • If you aim to output 1000 words per session, you would need 50 writing sessions to hit the word count needed for your book

So how do these writing sessions translate to time on the calendar?

  • 500 words per session writers. If you schedule three writing sessions per week, you would need a little over eight months to hit your book’s word count. If you manage five sessions per week, you would have a complete book in five months
  • 1000 words per session writers. Hitting three sessions per week at this rate of output would result in a full book in four months. Achieving five sessions each week would give you a full book in only two and a half months

These guidelines will help you have a ballpark completion date for your book, allowing you to plan ahead of publication and promotion.

How many pages does it take to write a book?

Perhaps you prefer to think in terms of page count rather than word count.

While measuring progress by the number of pages written was more common in the days of the typewriter, as it was a lot easier to track pages than words, it’s still a metric that’s easy to visualize. It’s also how we measure our progress as readers.

To plan your book writing time from a page count perspective, you need to work with the understanding that:



500 words typically equals about a page and a half.



This is affected by your typesetting and the visual content of your book, but it’s a good guideline.

Using the 500 words per page and a half metric, different books have the following average page counts.

Example fiction book page counts

  • An 80,000-word mainstream romance novel has around 240 pages
  • A 90,000-word historical fiction book has around 270 pages
  • A 100,000-word sci-fi or fantasy book has around 300 pages

Example non-fiction book page counts

  • A 40,000-word self-help book has around 120 pages
  • A 70,000-word business book has around 210 pages
  • A 150,000-word biography has around 450 pages

Of course, you don’t have to be constrained by these page counts when writing your book, but it’s good to be aware of what readers might expect.

But what about if your book isn’t one of the above genres?

Here’s a method to find the average page count for any type of book:

  1. Go to Amazon‘s online bookstore
  2. Search for the genre of book you are writing
  3. Open up the Kindle Edition book pages of the top 10 current bestsellers within your chosen category
  4. Scroll down until you see the Print Length information for each book
  5. Average out the number of pages
  6. Calculate how many words you will need to reach that page count

By following the above steps you give yourself the peace of mind of knowing how long similar books to yours are, so your readers’ expectations are met. 

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How to speed up the book writing process

Taking longer to write doesn’t necessarily result in a better book. 

In fact, it’s often the opposite. By taking too long, your initial idea loses its luster, your enthusiasm wanes, and your content becomes dull and dated. 

If you want to write a book faster, here are some quick tips to hasten your process:

  1. Schedule out more writing time. How much time do you waste on social media? On Netflix? On anything that isn’t aligned with your goals? Many authors can find extra time to write when they take a look at their schedule.
  2. Improve your planning process. Regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you’ll do it a lot faster if you plan properly. Consider whether improving your research or outlining process could help you reach your deadline sooner. 
  3. Leverage the power of community. If you’re the only person who knows about your book writing deadline, it’s easy to let it slip. Partnering with a fellow author to motivate each other, or even letting a loved one know about your goal, can be an invaluable way to stay on track.
  4. Apply external pressure. Sometimes setting consequences can help you write a book in less time. A service like Stickk might be worth checking out, or you could pre-pay for marketing or publication services that require your book to be ready by a certain time. Only use this technique if you have the type of personality that wouldn’t be panicked or overwhelmed by external pressure!
  5. Optimize your writing conditions. Writing a book in the shortest time possible isn’t an act of magic or luck. We can influence various factors to speed up our output. When you find your favorite place to write, tool to write with, and most productive time of day, you are likely to finish your book faster. 

While it’s a great idea to finish your book as soon as you can, you shouldn’t sacrifice its quality. 

Striking a balance between speed and excellence is an important part of your growth as a writer. 

Writing as fast as possible might seem tempting, but be aware that rushing your work will require more time for editing and improvement further down the line, increasing the overall time taken.

Tools to boost your writing speed

As contemporary writers, we’re blessed with a range of tools and technology to help us speed up our book writing process.

If you’re looking for an extra edge to help you finish your book faster, consider using a tool!

Here are some tools to write your book faster:

  1. Specialist writing software. Have you ever considered that your choice of writing software might be slowing you down? Selecting a specialist option suited to books in general, or novels in particular, might give you extra features that boost your output.
  2. A second screen. Do you lose time by switching back and forth between your word processor and your research or notes? If so, consider investing in a second monitor so you can have both on display at all times.
  3. Dictation apps and tools. Some people prefer to speak their book than to type it. You might also get physically tired of typing but be able to carry on through dictation. Experiment with dictation to see if it gives you a productivity boost.
  4. A new keyboard. If you’ve written on several different computers, you’ll know that your choice of keyboard can impact your writing speed. 
  5. White noise or music. What you listen to while writing, if anything at all, is very much personal preference. Try experimenting with different types of white noise and music to see if you notice a difference in your rate of output. 

If you’re struggling to write at the speed you want, give some of the above tools a try.

They might just cut down on the time you need to make your book a reality.

A step by step book writing schedule 

Now that you’ve taken a thorough look at how long it takes to write a book, let’s summarize the process as a series of simple steps.

  1. Determine the genre or category of your next book
  2. Calculate a target word count
  3. Figure out how many words you can produce in an average writing session
  4. Translate your target word count into a total number of writing sessions
  5. Schedule out your writing sessions on a calendar, allowing for other commitments
  6. Track your progress as you go, making adjustments as needed

Hopefully, you now see that you are more than capable of writing a superb book in less time than you imagined. 

So, what’s stopping you?

Please don’t even think about closing this article without taking action!

Take a few minutes to brainstorm some book ideas.

What will you write? How long will it take you?

There’s someone out there whose life will be changed for the better by reading your next book.

Why not let them enjoy it as soon as possible?

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best books on writing

Best Books On Writing: 18 Writing Books to Help You Improve Your Craft

best books on writing

On the hunt for the best books on writing? Start by adding these books to your “To Be Read” list.

Reading these writing books could very well change how you approach your craft altogether. 

It is Stephen King, the international bestselling champion of 65 (and counting) novels, that said: “Good writers read.”

Related: Writing Quotes

After all, writers are craftsmen who read. And reading still stands as the #1 best way to develop your writing craft.

As a writer, you must invest time into your writing education. This means stocking your personal library with the top books on writing. 

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Here are 18 of the best books on writing: 

  1. Everybody Writes by Anne Handley
  2. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  3. How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz
  4. How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen
  5. On Writing by Stephen King
  6. The Elements of Style By William Strunk Jr and E.B. White
  7. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  8. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
  9. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  10. The Writing Life by Marie Arana
  11. Published by Chandler Bolt
  12. You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins
  13. The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn
  14. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  15. Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
  16. The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod
  17. You Can Write a Novel by James Smith
  18. No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

Why You Must Read Books on Writing

Nowadays, there are blogs, YouTube videos, courses, and podcasts on publishing and self-publishing

So, why read a book on writing, or how to write better? Doesn’t practicing writing help you far more than reading? The short answer: Not necessarily.

Well, good writers are avid readers, and if you’re going to read anything, it should be a book on how to improve your craft on writing.

Bottom line: Reading makes you a better writer.

The recommended writing books in this post have been selected based on popularity with authors, the value of technique discussed, and overall longevity to continue as popular reads for writers still passionate about learning the craft. Beyond just grammar, syntax or word choice, many of these books dive into the personal lives of the authors.

Here are 4 reasons why you should read the best books on writing:

#1 – Deep insights into the writing life

Who else is better suited to teach you deeper insights into the life of writing than those who have lived the successful writer’s life. Some books here are modern releases for the digital age, but many have been written with the classic author mindset.

You can learn the routine of these authors,  how to prepare for writing a book, dealing with the media, setting up the best writing space, and the deep scoop on what it means to be a published author dealing with publishing companies.

#2 – Learn how to develop your own writing style

The best books on writing are those written by professional writers who are a powerhouse of style development. This is the kind of material you will rarely get listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube channel.

#3 – Raw stories from the masters of the writing craft

Most of the books listed here are available in several formats, and a few are not available in digital but paperback only, and have been out of print for a long time.

After running a survey and doing our own research into the best books on writing to date, here is a list of 23 best books on writing we came up with. I have personally read all of these books and would recommend any of these titles for you to learn the art of writing in all its simplicity and intricacy.

#4 – Think like a writer

Writing a book is a lot of work. The challenge is in dealing with imposter syndrome and our own fears we have around writing. Is my writing any good? Who is going to read it? Do I sound like all the other writers out there?

Through reading books on writing, you begin to realize that every writer struggles with the same imposter mindset.

By reading and understanding how writers think, you can overcome your fears, get more writing done, and think like a writer even when you’re not writing.

The 18 Best Books on Writing

Now, let’s jump into the best books on writing and start your education on thinking, acting and becoming a full-fledged writer!

It doesn’t matter if you are self-publishing or traditional publishing, or what genre you write in… every author will walk away with some insights after reading these writing books.

Related: Best Business Books

These are the best writing books that every writer, or aspiring author, should add to their reading collection.

#1 – Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley dishes out expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and book publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get real results.

“If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry out marketing messages. We are all writers.”

ANNE HANDLEY

Everybody writes is a content creation book with the core message that, “Anybody who has a blog, newsletter, or website is a writer and creating content.” So, if you’re in the business of communication through words using any kind of media, Everybody Writes is for you.

The purpose of this book, and how it differs from many other books on writing is, it teaches how to create high-quality content to build out your online (and offline) business. You will learn the ins-and-outs of building up your clientele list and using email marketing as a means to scale up an email list.

If you want to survive in the digital publishing world, you need to know how to create stellar content that attracts. This is why Everybody Writes is your blueprint and field guide for taking the message to your readers and subscribers.

everybody writes book ann handley

About Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a writer, digital marketing pioneer, and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who inspires and empowers writers and business owners to create marketing content that customers will love, igniting real results for any business. Ann is the author of Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business and Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

Click here to get Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

#2 – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird is a must-have for any writer’s kit. In this book, Anne Lamott packs in everything from the trials and tribulations to being a writer while dealing with the many perils of her personal life from addiction to parenting.

Make no mistake, Bird by Bird is the real deal as Ann writes with a mix of memoir spliced together with invaluable lessons she has learned on the writer’s journey. Ann Lamott will help you with your writing as you work through that crappy first draft to getting closer to publication.

Lamott is best known for her witty take on the life of a writer, and this makes the book both entertaining to read as well as a divine learning experience for future authors.

bird by bird anne lamott

About Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Bird By Bird. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. Anne is also a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame.

Click here to get Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

#3 – How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz

How to Write Best Selling Fiction by multiple NY Times Bestselling author Dean Koontz is considered a classic resource for many fiction authors. However, the book was published back in 1981 and has been out of print for over 3 decades, making it a unique collector’s gem for authors.

In fact, to buy this book at the current price through third party retailers will cost you over $500.00. If you are lucky enough to find this in a used bookstore, don’t hesitate…buy it!

Considered to be one of the best books on writing fiction, it tells would-be novelists about the fiction market, offers advice on grammar, writing style, character development, and plot, and explains how to deal with agents and editors.

Keep in mind, because of its age, the book would not be updated for the 21st century, and so while the writing techniques still apply, some advice for the market would be outdated by now.

About Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz has been writing fiction for as long as anyone can remember, and is the author of over 80+ books, often writing under pseudonyms and has been compared to the likes of Stephen King. Dean Koontz is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many titles including Watchers, Odd Thomas, and the The Whispering Room.

Note: How to Write Best Selling Fiction is currently unavailable except through 3rd party retailers and libraries in hardcover format. There is currently no digital version available.

#4 – How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen

From the writer’s minds of Shakespeare to Stephen King, How to Write Like Tolstoy is a thought-provoking journey inside the minds of the world’s most accomplished storytellers.

For anyone who has ever identified with a hero or heroine, been seduced by a strong opening sentence, or been powerfully moved by a story’s end, this book is for you.

How to Write Like Tolstoy dives into the painstaking elements that great storytellers use to tell heartbreaking, spellbinding, gripping tales. 

Testimonials for How to Write Like Tolstoy:

Richard Cohen, in this fascinating read, reveals the challenges that the masters of the craft had when creating compelling story content. What we get is a well-researched, in-depth guide on the act and art of writing that enhances our experience of reading both the classics and the best modern fiction.

richard cohen how to write like tolstoy

About Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen is the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. Richard has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the author of “Chasing the Sun”, “By the Sword” and “How To Write Like Tolstoy”. 

Click here to get How to Write Like Tolstoy.

#5 – On Writing by Stephen King

As a long-time fan of Stephen King back when a horror novel could scorch the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, Stephen King leaves nothing to chance in this part memoir, part “how-to” on writing; this is King like you haven’t seen him before.

The King’s advice is grounded in his early, raw memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the link between writing and living played a powerful role in his recovery.

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If you can say anything about On Writing, this book is a great story that, unlike other books on writing, is actually less about the craft and more to do with King’s philosophies and experience around writing. Brilliant on every page and written by only the Master himself, Stephen King, like his novels from the earlier days, doesn’t disappoint readers.

on writing book by stephen king

About Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of more than seventy books, all of them worldwide bestsellers, and many have been made into TV shows, mini-series, and theatrical movies. Stephen King was the recipient of America’s prestigious 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for distinguished contribution to American Letters. In 2007 he also won the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Click here to get On Writing by Stephen King

#6 – The Elements of Style by By William Strunk, Jr.

This book is a classic writing book, and one that every writer should have as a reference on their bookshelf.

So yes, this book matters, and is considered by most writers, including Stephen King himself, who has stated that this is the only book he recommends on writing, if you are to read anything at all. The Elements of Style is required reading for most writing courses by the instructors as a resource for brushing up and developing writing skills.

Here is a brief from Amazon’s description of The Elements of Style:

I have personally used this book from the beginning and, although short in length, is packed with value even today. A definite must-have and must-read for every author, new and veteran.

elements of style book

About William Strunk

William Strunk Jr. (1 July 1869 – 26 September 1946), was a professor of English at Cornell University and author of The Elements of Style (1918). A revised edition titled The Elements and Practice of Composition, with Edward A. Tenney as coauthor, was printed in 1935. The only other book Willima Strunk wrote was English Metres, published locally in 1922. Widely  known as a prolific editor, Strunk edited works by important authors, including William Shakespeare, John Dryden, and James Fenimore Cooper.

Click here to get The Elements of Style by William Strunk.

#7 – Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg is a modern classic that dives into the craft of writing, from brainstorming ideas, the vital role of verbs, making statements and answering questions, writing in restaurants, a list of topics for writing practice, and overcoming writer’s doubt.

“It is a good idea to wait awhile before you reread your writing. Time allows for distance and objectivity about your work. After you have filled a whole notebook in writing practice (perhaps it took you a month), sit down and reread the entire notebook as though it weren’t yours.”

NATALIE GOLDBERG

This book is a groundbreaking classic filled with the authors best advice and experience shared in one volume worthy of 35+ years of writing practice. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters, will inspire anyone who writes—or who longs to. The updated edition includes a foreword by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.

writing down the bones

About Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg is the author of fifteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has sold over one million copies and has been translated into fourteen languages. For more than forty years Natalie has practiced zen and taught seminars in writing as a practice. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops.

The Oprah Winfrey Show sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on spirituality that covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation. She currently lives in Northern New Mexico.

Click here to get Writing Down the Bones.

#8 – Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, compiled this book of essays portraying his passion for the craft. Part memoir, part masterclass, ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING offers a vivid insight into the craft of writing. Ray Bradbury reveals how writers can find their own unique path to developing a writer’s voice and their own writing style.

Written from the experience of a lifetime of writing, Ray shares his excitement, joy, wisdom and experience in this classic book for authors.

zen in the art of writing

About Ray Bradbury

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and more than fifty books, poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Ray Bradbury was one of the most successful writers of our time. His award-winning works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes

Click here to get Zen in the Art of Writing.

#9 – On Writing Well by William Zinsser

If you are a nonfiction writer, you shouldn’t even attempt writing (or self-editing) until you’ve read this book at least twice. William Zinsser was the classic author in his style and approach to the craft. The first section “Principles” is a goldmine of tips, writing tactics and common-sense approach to writing like a pro. Part 3 on “Forms” is niche targeted and includes tips on writing about people, places, technology, business, travel, and humor.

On Writing Well has long been regarded as one of the best books on writing with something for everyone, no matter the genre you specialize in. With more than a million copies sold, this volume remains a valuable resource for writers even today, regardless if you are a writing veteran or just starting out in the craft of writing.

on writing well book by william zinsser

About William Zinsser

William Zinsser (1922-2015), was a writer, editor, and teacher. His 18 books, which range in subject from music to baseball to American travel, include several widely read books about writing that includes the million-copy bestseller On Writing Well, and Writing About Your Life. You can find out more about William Zinsser at http://www.williamzinsserwriter.com/

Click here to get On Writing Well.

#10 – The Writing Life by Marie Arana

The Writing Life is a massive gathering of 55 authors as they discuss their ideas for writing and how they formed these ideas into readable manuscripts, some of them taking decades to write.

The essays contain biographical information about each author, giving readers a deeper insight into their background and how they came to become professional authors.

Although some of the essays feel like long rants combined with the creative freedom each author expresses, you can’t help but be captivated by the stories of writers as they share some of their most secretive moments of inspiration.

The Writing Life highlights the pleasures of the trade, the struggle, the successes and failures of the authors.

If you are looking for something that gets into the mind of an author and what makes them tick, try The Writing Life for true realism of an author’s life.

writing life book by marie arana

About Maria Arana

Marie is the former editor in chief of “Book World” at The Washington Post and a senior consultant to the Librarian of Congress. Her book The Writing Life, is a collection from her well-known column for The Washington Post, which explores the way writers think and work. She is also the author of 10+ books including The Best American Travel Writing. You can find more information about her at www.mariearana.net.

Click here to get The Writing Life.

#11 – Published by Chandler Bolt

Here is one for self-published authors. The CEO and founder of the Self-Publishing School, and 6x self-published author Chandler Bolt delivers a blueprint on how to write and publish a novel.

In Published, Chandler presents a proven solution that will take and novice from blank page to published author in 90 days.

The book offers modern insight and a proven plan to earn income writing, build an author platform, and build your email list by giving away a free gift when readers download your free audiobook.

Take a chance on Published and let the professionals at Self-Publishing School guide you on your journey to self-publication.

chandler bolt book published

About Chandler Bolt

Chandler Bolt is the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Self Publishing School made the INC 5000 in 2018 (#2,699) and in 2019 (#1,483) as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US.

Through his books, training videos, and Self-Publishing School program, he’s helped thousands of writers on their journey to writing their first book.

Check out Self Publishing School here: http://self-publishingschool.com

#12 – You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins

From the founder of Tribe Writers, veteran author and blogger at Goins, Writer brings writers a book that guides the could-be author towards the dream of writing for a living.

Jeff uses many of his own anecdotes and case studies of authors who are doing what many dream of—making a living writing words.

“You are a writer; you just need to write.”

JEFF GOINS

Jeff Goins shares his own story of self-doubt and what it took for him to become a professional writer. He provides simple, practical steps to improve your writing style and technique, get published in magazines and with traditional publishers, and build a platform of fans that fall in love with your work.

You will learn the importance of passion and discipline and how to show up every day to make time for writing.

jeff goins you are a writer
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About Jeff Goins

Jeff Goins is a writer, keynote speaker, and award-winning blogger with a reputation for challenging the status quo. He is the best-selling author of five books, including The Art of Work, and Wrecked. Jeff has been featured on the best­seller lists of USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Washington Post.

Click here to get You Are a Writer.

#13 – The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

The Successful Author Mindset dives into the mindset obstacles that writers experience at different stages on the creative journey.

Joanna Penn tackles writing from a career author standpoint, so if you’re looking for best business books to grow your author business, her books are a good resource.

Each chapter tackles a specific issue and offers an antidote to that problem. It includes excerpts from Joanna Penn’s personal journals, as well as quotes from famous writers. The book is heavily geared for writers struggling with the writing process, as well as the business of writing and being heard.

I recommend this book to new authors when starting out because it covers topics such as self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, overwhelm, fear of failure, criticism, ambition, fame and fortune. 

The Successful Author Mindset fills you with confidence and keeps you writing.

joanne penn the successful author mindset

About Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a bestselling author, international speaker and award-winning entrepreneur. Her site, www.TheCreativePenn.com helps authors with creativity, writing, publishing, book marketing and creative entrepreneurship. It has been voted one of the top 100 sites for authors by Writers Digest.

Click here to get The Successful Author Mindset.

#14 – The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

A very honest and open account of the writing life and how Annie Dillard has navigated through the trials and tribulations of this difficult craft. Considered by many to be one of the best books on writing, you will not be disappointed by The Writing Life.

This book is compiled with material from a decade of The Washington Post’s “Writing Life” column. In this collection of short essays, Annie Dillard illuminates the dedication and daring that summarizes the life and existence of a writer.

The book is part-memoir and serves as a moving account of Dillard’s own life experiences, The Writing Life offers deep insight into one of the most mysterious and profound professions.

the writing life by annie dillard

About Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard is the author of ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, as well as An American Childhood, The Living, and Mornings Like This.

She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts

Click here to get The Writing Life.

#15 – Stein On Writing by Sol Stein

Sol Stein is a renowned editor, author, and instructor, and he explains: “This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions– how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, and how to create interesting writing in the first place.”

In Stein On Writing, nonfiction writers will find a unique approach to the new revolution in journalism and a guide to using the techniques of fiction to enhance nonfiction.

Fresh, useful, informative, and fun to read, Stein on Writing is a book you will return to again and again to soak up the witty, often provoking, talent and voice of a literary master.

This book is a tribute to everything Stein learned from his writing in a career that spanned several decades before he passed away in September, 2019.

On writing by sol stein

About Sol Stein

Sol Stein (October 13, 1926 – September 19, 2019) was the author of 13 books including Stein On Writing, and How to Grow a Novel. He was Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Stein and Day Publishers for 27 years.

Click here to get Stein on Writing.

#16 – The Miracle Morning for Writers by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott

In this great little book on how to write a novel in the morning, Hal Elrod teams up with Steve Scott (author of Habit Stacking and Happier Human).

You learn how to take charge of your morning and maximize “the rest of the day” for your writing efforts. The book teaches you techniques and strategies that include:

  • 4 business models perfect for writers, how to get started, and which one we recommend.
  • The 10-step process for publishing a book that readers love
  • How a morning routine can change every area of your life (Including your health, happiness, finances and relationships).
  • The proven strategy for “finding the time” to write–even if you have a full-time job.

This book shows you how to increase your writing speed as well as make money at doing what you love to do the most…write!

Get Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning for Writers here.

miracle morning for writers hal elrod

About Hal Elrod

As the author of one of the highest rated books on Amazon, The Miracle Morning (which has been translated into 37 languages, has over 3,000 five-star reviews and has impacted the lives of over 2,000,000 people in more than 70 countries)… he is doing exactly that. You can learn more about Hal Elrod at https://halelrod.com/

About Steve Scott

Steve Scott is the bestselling author of over 50+ books, many of which are based on habit development and personal development. S.J. provides daily action plans for every area of your life: health, fitness, work and personal relationships. His content focuses on taking action so, instead of reading over-hyped strategies that rarely work, you’ll get information that can be immediately implemented. You can connect with Steve at https://www.developgoodhabits.com/

Click here to get The Miracle Morning for Writers.

#17 – You Can Write a Novel by James Smith

If you are learning to write fiction and need a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to set up your story, create characters and develop a storyline that tells and sells, You Can Write a Novel is the book you need. 

Related: How to Write a Novel

Veteran author James V. Smith, Jr. breaks down the novel writing process into ten logical steps. You’ll start developing the foundation for your book right away by taking your story’s three most important incidents from mind mapping and idea generation, to final draft perfection.

You Can Write a Novel targets the essentials every writer needs, such as plot, character, setting, dialogue, and action. You’ll learn how to generate a salable idea, develop your idea into a framework, and build your framework into a finished manuscript.

When I started writing fiction again, this was definitely the book that helped to structure all the details, plot, character, and everything else in between. It comes with free downloadable material if you access the site through the book. James Smith guides you through the process by building the story around compelling characters.

If you would rather purchase the now out-of-print companion You Can Write a Novel Kit, this is a great tool for writers who appreciate using physical materials to build out their book. With James’ “You Can Write a Novel kit” and instructional book included, you can refine your fiction techniques using Smith’s writing advice and strategies, such as an idea-scoring system and the forty cardinal writing rules.

you can write a novel a book by james smith

About James V. Smith

James Smith is a former combat soldier, helicopter pilot, newspaper writer and editor, national award-winning columnist, and magazine editor. He is author of You Can Write a Novel, and The Fiction Writer’s Brainstormer. He has published more than a dozen military action-adventure novels, including the six-book series Force Recon. He wrote the Delta Force series under the pen name John Harriman.

Click here to get You Can Write a Novel.

#18 – No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

Written by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty brings you a companion guide to go with your NaNoWriMo writing plan. If writing is a challenge, this book—and taking part in the 30-day writing rush—will break any resistance to writing you’re holding on to.

With over 20 years of writing experience, Chris has revised and updated his writing reference guide with more compelling tips, updated strategies, and a no-fuss approach to novel writing that gets your writing fingers moving.

No Plot? No Problem! Breaks your writing excuses, destroying imposter syndrome for good and sets you on a path to getting your book done and ultimately published.

About Chris Baty

Chris Baty founded National Novel Writing Month in 1999, and is now available in 90 countries. Chris now serves as a Board Member Emeritus for NaNoWriMo, and spends his days teaching classes at Stanford University’s Writer’s Studio. He’s the author of No Plot? No Problem! and the co-author of Ready, Set, Novel.

Click here to get No Plot? No Problem!

Your favorite books on writing

There are so many great books on writing a novel, how to write nonfiction, creating compelling characters, or self-publishing a novel.

Unfortunately we couldn’t fit everything into one post…there are too many to choose from.

If you have a favorite book you’d like to recommend, we’d love to hear from you.

Just drop the title and author of your favorite book on writing in the comments below. It could be included in our next post on the best books on writing!

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What best books on writing would you add to this list?