Books are amazing! They can open up new worlds and perspectives with the flick of a page. They can bring us the wisdom and insights of experts in just a few short pages. The same is true about these books that aspiring authors need to read if they want to grow their author career.
Whatever you want to learn, there is a book out there somewhere that can teach you how to do it. The writing craft is no different. These 8 books will bring you inspiration and support to keep working hard in your career. Some will even teach you valuable information about the writing and publishing industry.
And all of them will give you insight into the minds of individuals who have not only been where you are on the writing journey, but have succeeded in getting their work out there for the world to enjoy. I hope you love these 8 books for aspiring writers.
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1. The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield
This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I truly believe every aspiring author needs The War Of Art in their collection. I read it about once a year and I get something different out of it every time. This book always inspires me to keep going with my writing and not give into the ever-present resistance.
Steven Pressfield is one of those iconic writers that paints a vivid picture on the page. He truly understands the struggles of being an artist and his book puts the creative life into perspective.
The War of Art isn’t long (165 pages), but it’s one of the most influential books I’ve read. If you struggle to sit down and finish your work, either because you succumb to self doubt or you get pulled under by the dreaded writer’s block, give this book a try. It might just change your writing life forever.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. Its a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution.”
2. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
This book is another great read filled with encouragement and love for creativity. Big Magic is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, and it paints an honest picture of what living a creative life is truly like while weaving in the magic we all hope to touch in our creative work.
She talks about the source of inspiration and the courage it takes to commit to a creative life. This is a brilliant book, filled with magical prose. I encourage you to pick it up if you need a creative boost or a reminder that what you are working on is worthwhile and deserves your focus.
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
3. You Are A Writer – Jeff Goins
Jeff Goins offers practical advice for aspiring writers of all kinds in You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One). He breaks down what it takes to be a professional writer and what stops many of us from going all in.
Goins also goes over the basics you need to know about promoting yourself and your work and talks about the power of focusing on your craft. This book does a great job highlighting the balance of actually writing, vs. running your creative business and how to handle both aspects of your career without losing your passion.
If you are ready to really put your all into your writing career, this book will help you know what to focus on first. It will also guide you along as you get your career underway.
“Everything is practice. Every word you write and action you take is a chance to get better.”
4. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
In Bird By Bird, Lamott tells her story about how she became a writer, and the struggles she went through along the way. She talks about her rocky start, and the routines she developed that helped her get her career going.
Bird by Bird offers practical advice for beginners on how to actually get the writing done, and the artistic process of getting words down on the page. Lamott also discusses what it is like to live as a writer in society and encourages aspiring artists to find their own voice and share their gifts with the world.
This book is great if you are looking for an entertaining read about what being a writer really entails, including the mental and emotional hurdles that trip us all up from time to time.
“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
5. Writing Down The Bones – Natalie Goldberg
This classic guide to writing by poet and writing coach Natalie Goldberg is full of little insights on how to write with your heart. She encourages anyone who has ever had the desire to write to pick up a pen and begin the practice immediately.
I especially love her ideas and solutions regarding writer’s block and how to overcome your own insecurities in your writing career.
This is a book you can read in small chunks and get just as much out of it, and maybe more than you would plowing through cover to cover. Goldberg’s unique perspective on the writing craft is worth reading and carefully digesting.
“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.”
6. On Writing – Stephen King
This is one book every aspiring author needs to read at least once in their writing career. Part memoir, part instruction manual, On Writing is full of entertaining stories and practical writing advice.
Stephen King is one of the most accomplished writers in many generations and imparts his knowledge and perspective on the writing craft. He has so much experience, there is bound to be some takeaway for everyone who reads this book.
King is honest and unapologetic as he explains the qualities you will need to write well and make a name for yourself in the writing industry. I got so much good advice from this book; I reread it periodically so I don’t forget what I’ve learned.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
7. Save The Cat Writes A Novel – Jessica Brody
This book helped me in so many ways. Save The Cat is a story structure that was originally developed for screenwriters, but has been adapted in Save The Cat Writes A Novel for books.
This brilliant collection of tips and tricks will help you build a compelling story using time-tested principles. The advice in this book complements classic story ideologies, like those in The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. But it does so in a practical and easy-to-implement way.
If you are writing fiction, Save The Cat is a must read, because it can help you combine your imagination with actionable steps towards developing a novel that your readers will love.
“There’s something buried deep within our DNA as humans that makes us respond to certain storytelling elements told in a certain order. We’ve been responding to them since our primitive ancestors drew on walls and tribes told stories around campfires.”
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8. How To Market A Book – Joanna Penn
Whether you are planning to publish your books traditionally or through independent publishing avenues, every aspiring author needs to know how to market their books.
Joanna’s guide to marketing is the most helpful resource I have found on the topic. She goes over mindset, marketing fundamentals, author platforms, book launches, and so much more.
Read this book before you start your publishing journey and it will guide you through the process as well as the many options you have as an author.
“You are responsible for your author career. No one cares about your book as much as you do.”
As authors, we already know that books are treasures to the world. They can entertain, educate, and inspire in just a few short pages. It’s important that writers making reading a priority, particularly the works of those who have the skills and the knowledge that you hope to gain.
If you are an aspiring author, these 8 books on writing will encourage you, help you enhance your craft, and build your career. They will give you insight into the writing profession you can only gain by involving yourself with people who have already succeeded in the areas you are interested in.
Every aspiring author needs these 8 books on their shelf. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.