Book Recommendation, Writer Resource

Throwing Yourself Into The Craft

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“Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.” —A.A. MILNE

Last week I talked about my lovely “writing retreat”  and how I spent three months throwing myself deep into studying the craft of writing. Today let’s talk about how I did that.

The answer is simple: I consumed all things writing.

For three months I was unstoppable. I read all the romance novels on my TBR list with a critical eye, I listened extensively to podcasts, youtube channels, and of course, read books on writing.

 

If you haven’t already discovered this…books on writing are awesome! They inspire, educate, and help guide us in this crazy hobby/occupation. When I talk about “craft books,” I’m talking about things that range from thoughts on writing, tips on craft, writing characters, and marketing. Indie publishing and blogs have made it really easy for writers to get these thoughts out to others so we don’t feel so alone. There is nothing more rewarding than reading a book that nails a problem I’m facing in my own writing journey, a problem normal people can’t and don’t understand. 

I found myself becoming a huge nerd when it comes to reading these books. You have to be when we’re talking about something you want to turn from a hobby to a career. I become a graduate student again, studying my craft and analyzing how I could become better. Some of the resources made my favorites list and are books I’ll continually come back to, while others were clearly targeted to people who may be beginners on this journey. Either way, each one offered its own nuggets of helpful information that I readily consumed.

Without further ado, here is a list of all my resources from the months I spent away. I hope these books and audio material help you as much as they did me!

Writers Should Be Readers!

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors
By: Anne R. Allen
Craft Level: Business / Beginner
Thoughts: I’d emphasise the level beginner for this one. This is great for those just starting a author blog, anot a author website, the two are different. I highlighted a few sections that were of great use to me like “Topics for a Author Blog”, “Guest Blogging”, and “Blog or newsletter.” All are topics discussed in later chapters while the first few hit on my beginners topics such as “Three Easy Ways to Get a Profile” and “Reasons why you shouldn’t start a blog.” I got this book on sale and I think it was definitely worth the sale value. If nothing else, it inspired me to stop being lazy- write a new blog post- and keep pressing. *Looks wearily at the blog that has been left unattended for three months.

5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors
By: Penny Sanservieri
Craft Level: Business / Beginner
Thoughts: This was another book I got on sale and it is a quick read (I finished in roughly two hours.) That said, this book read like a collection of blog posts put together on marketing- and because of that it repeated a lot of information already explained in a earlier chapter or something that I felt was common knowledge. It also contains a lot of links to websites which felt very… blog posty. It touches everything from Amazon, to Twitter, to Facebook, and even Pinterest. While I highlighted a few things, there was also a lot I didn’t agree with as Sanservieri writes for a wide audience (both fiction and nonfiction writers) and the same rules do not apply. I’d only recommend this book if you are at the very beginning of our author journey. It lays out a solid foundation for where to begin and what to do, but if you’re looking to take your marketing to the next level this book is not for you. I’d also argue that some of the “5 Minute Marketing rules” were deceiving and not really marketing- but hey! That means I’m learning something from my other resources and applying them in a critical manner right?

Write Naked
By: Jennifer Probst
Craft Level: Writing / Beginner to Intermediate
Thoughts: I’ve had this book on my kindle for months, MONTHS, and I am so sad it took so long for me to actually read it, but it came at just the right time.  What I loved most about this book is, unlike Stephen King’s On Writing which has always been a favorite, Probst is a romance writer. She writes and knows my genre and weird ups and downs that come with it. I felt an instant, bone-deep connection to her based on this alone. Each chapter starts with a smart quote (one of which I’m using for this post) before she dove into the topic at hand. There were so many gems in this books. Words of wisdom and experience, all told in a humor-filled voice that made Mrs. Probst feel like my best friend. I highly recommend it if you write in the romance genre, and even if you don’t.

2,000 to 10,000 (How to write faster, write better, and writer more of what you love!)
By: Rachel Aaron / Rachel Bach
Craft Level: Writing / Beginner to Intermediate
Thoughts: Rachel Aaron is one of those authors I always turn to for advice. I’ve read and reread her blog posts extensively, which is why this book of her’s is so invaluable to me. It has some solid advice on how to up your word count and plot your story so you aren’t struggling with writers block. This book really speaks for those who like to organize their ideas and keep track of statistics. A quick read and one with invaluable nuggets inside.

I LOVE PODCASTS!

For Podcasts and Audio files, I turned to the amazing resources provided by Romance Writers of America. Did you know, that if you’re a member you can download specific talks from their annual conferences? Not just last years conference but some from years back! All for a small fee. I stalked up on some before I left for my work trip, and listened to the words of wisdom from Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and so many others that really helped me.
Just to name a few…
1) Historical Research for Novelists (2013 RWA Conference)
2) Maximizing Revenue Streams
3) Low-Cost Markets (2018 RWA Conference)
4) How to Self Publish Professionally (2018 RWA Conference)

Author Like a Boss, hosted by Ella Barnard.
As I’ve started considering my work a business, Ella’s podcast has been essential for my research needs. She and her guest authors talk all about marketing, self-publishing, and craft. It discusses the highs and lows of Indie publishing while motivating the hell out of its listeners. One of my first and favorite episodes to listen to was with Elise Kova.

I also continued to listen to my favorite Writing Podcasts, which I listed off in an earlier post here: 5 Podcasts for the Writer’s Soul

That’s about all I have on this end. If you have a favorite writing resource (book, podcast, or blog) I’d love it hear it!  I’m always looking to add to my growing list.

 

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