By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing
As a book publicist, I’m frequently asked to give advice on writing a book. The truth is, there are so many elements that can make a book successful—but one of the most important is that it be written well.
Writing well is the goal of every writer—regardless of where they are in their writing journey. It is also a skill that requires continuous practice. Even published authors continuously work to perfect their craft.
It can be hard to decide what advice is most relevant when so many books have been published on the topic. That said, reading books on the art of writing can sometimes be more helpful than an entire college writing course.
Five Books to Help You Become a Better Writer
The five books that I’ve listed below reveal the nature of writing life and the art of writing well in intimate detail. They offer everything from grammar rules to advice on publishing a book to personal narratives as they teach the ins and outs of writing and what it means to be a writer.
1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This memoir is a brilliant graphic tale of King’s life, and like all his stories, it does not lack imagination. The book is an invitation behind the scenes to his writing and career. It features moments that shaped King as an author and the various lessons he acquired from decades of practice and publication. It is a masterclass for aspiring writers.
2. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. The Elements of Style is considered the gold standard on writing. Strunk and White outline basic linguistic and stylistic rules and instructions on how to write clearly and concisely. They also cover common mistakes that writers make and how to avoid them. This book is a classic for a reason.
3. On Writing by Ernest Hemingway. While Hemingway never wrote a treatise on the art of writing, he left behind passages in letters, articles, and books with opinions and advice on writing. In 1984, Larry W. Phillips compiled these into a book. On Writing is a collection of writing advice from one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. Hemingway gives us a glimpse into the psyche and mental preparation of a writer and a clear definition of the difference between good and bad writing. The book is essential reading for any aspiring writer.
4. Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. In this book, Verlyn Klinkenborg challenges writers to forget everything they have ever been taught about writing. The author uses a poetic prose style to make the point that the sentence itself is the most essential element of writing, and each sentence should do its share of the work.
5. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. In this delightfully witty and humorous piece on writing and family life, Lamott addresses the difficulties of writing and getting published. Bird by Bird is an anecdotal work full of wry observations about life and writing. Anne’s lessons are those she has shared in workshops over the years as she covers what she’s learned through trial and error. Bird by Bird is a must-read, for aspiring fiction writers especially.
Today, many books and courses are available to assist writers on their writing journey. Authors have abundant writing resources at their disposal to help them hone their writing skills. I’ve previously written on how editing and proofreading can make your writing shine—and on the power and art of brevity for authors. If you don’t want to read a book, you can watch the Masterclass courses on writing and receive author advice from some of the best writers of our day. There is a great masterclass by James Patterson on how to write a bestselling book.
The Bottom Line: Regardless of how long you’ve been writing, you can glean tips and techniques from authors who have succeeded in their field. Learn from them.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at https://www.WestwindBookMarketing.com or contact Lorenz at [email protected]twindcos.com or 734-667-2090 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist. Want help titling a book? Check out Scott Lorenz’s new award winning, bestselling book: Book Title Generator- A Proven System in Naming Your Book www.BookTitleGenerator.net.
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