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Becoming a better writer

Learning to become a better writer happens by one of two ways:

 

  • Trial and error
  • Learning from others

 

Of the two, learning from others is much faster. Below is a list of books that's helped me improve significantly since I started writing.

Becoming a self-publisher

After the writing is done, your next step is to get the manuscript out there. To that effect, I feel that self-publishing give you the most control over your work.

 

You also get more profit per sale than if you pursued traditional publishing. You can also get to market faster, taking advantages of trends. Here's the books that have helped me.

Formatting/Typesetting

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If you're just starting out in self-publishing,  this is probably the best book to start with. It covers just about all aspects of publishing a physical book.

 

It covers:

 

  • Marketing
  • Formatting
  • Printing
  • Publishing
  • Writing/picking topics

 

And a lot more. It also is starting to show it's age, but the author has published a volume 2 that has much more recent info.

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Granted, this book is really starting to show its age. At least three or four chapters are nearly useless at this point, but what remains is gold, in my opinion.

 

It provides all the nitty-gritty details that goes into the actual creation of a physical book. Whether it's design/layout decisions, to determining what font to use, it's in here.

 

Even if you don't plan on doing it yourself, it'll provide you the language needed to convey your desires to the designer or printer you choose. Well worth the money.

General writing

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This is a great book for people who already know the basics of writing, i.e.:

 

  • You know the difference between active and passive voice
  • You have a good grasp of grammar

 

What this book does is help focus and clarify your subject before you start writing. From there, it helps you speed up the actual writing.

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This is another good book about how to rapidly get your book from concept to market.

 

Some of the areas it covers are:

 

  • Organization and structure
  • Generating ideas
  • Research
  • Creating a nearly finished first draft

 

Another good book for how to turn out books faster.

Fiction

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If you're anything like me, you have a hard time writing good, solid descriptions in your books.

 

This book will go a long way toward helping you significantly improve in this regard. It goes into great detail on how to describe things in a believable manner.

 

I have the first edition of this book always sitting on my desk.

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For those of you out there who hate outlining a book but struggle to write a book "organically," this book might just be for you.

 

While the battle rages on between plotters and pantsers, this method take a somewhat different path to creating your book.

 

It teaches how to start from a one sentence description and continually add to it until you have a framework to write your story from. It almost seems like a hybrid between the two other methods. Highly recommended.

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