Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dollars & Sense for Writers— Guidelines on Where & When to Spend Your Money—Part Two

by Edie Melson

Yesterday I began this series on Dollars & Sense for Writers Part One. I gave you a run-down on where to start by suggesting you look for a local writers group and an online group or two. Today I’d like to continue by looking at books and magazines for writers.

As a writer, I love books. Beyond that, I love books about writing. I have an extensive library of books on the craft of stringing words together—truthfully more than I need. But early on in my career I just couldn’t pass up a recommended book. Looking back I should have spent more time at the library than on buying books.


Which Books Should I Own and Which Should I Get at the Library—and What About Magazines, are They Still Relevant?
So how do you judge what to buy and what to borrow? Here are the questions I ask that help me determine which I truly need in my personal library.

Questions
Is this a book that I will refer back to again and again? Things that fall under this category are: Anything by James Scott Bell, The Emotion Thesaurus, from Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, The Book Buddy, from Susan May Warren, etc.

Is this a book that I’m tempted to highlight and make notes in? Even though it’s an ebook, Imagination @ Work, by Alton Gansky is one of those for me.

Has more than one person recommended this book?

When I’m in doubt, I check the book out of the library (or borrow it from a friend) to see if it meets any of these criteria.

Magazine Subscriptions
I approach magazines with a slightly different mindset. For me, my subscription to Writer’s Digest is worth its weight in gold. Our own Lynn H Blackburn shared a post about What Makes Writer's Digest so Valuable. There’s just so much there. But I’ve migrated from the print subscription to the digital one because I’m overwhelmed with paper. I also have trouble throwing away old magazines.

There are other writing magazines I love, but I usually visit the book store and thumb through them before I buy a specific issue.

Once again, it’s time for you all to chime in. What books do think need to be in a writer’s library and what magazine subscriptions do you find valuable?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie


This series, Dollars & Sense for Writers will be continued on Wednesdays for the following posts.

TWEETABLES

17 comments:

  1. I highly recommend Kathy Ide's book, Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors (formerly Polishing the PUGS). This is my first go-to book whether I'm writing or editing. I consider it the CliffsNotes for the CMOS, CWMS, and AP. I also refer to your book, Connections, when I'm struggling with social media.

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    1. Andrea - GREAT addition! I love her book. Blessings, E

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  2. Great criteria. I'm like you. I probably bought too many at the beginning, but I like being able to mark the books up. James Scott Bell's book, Plot and Structure, is another I'd recommend for fiction writers. He has a great teaching style!

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    1. Mary, it was a lot harder at the beginning to resist buying books. But I've sure given a lot away over the years, too, because they weren't a good fit for me. Blessings, E

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  3. I write for children. I find the CHILDREN'S WRITER'S WORD BOOK by Alihandra Mogilner & Tayopa Mogilner extremely valuable. FROM INSPIRATION TO PUBLICATION edited by Pamela Glass Kelly and Mary Spelman has lately been a go-to for me. Others I am currently reading/studying as well: One by Vonda Skelton, " Teaching Children Biblical Truth Through Secular Fiction" and an e-book by Linda Ashman, "The Nuts and bolts of Writing Picture Books." I guess its time to stop spending and start reading and writing! :D Thank you, Edie. I appreciate your hard work.

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    1. Rene, I am NOT a children's writer so I really appreciate you sharing these resources! I love the way we fill in the blanks in one another's knowledge here. Blessings, E

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  4. Love that you mentioned the Book Buddy--that and basically any MBT resource is completely worth the money to me. And basically anything at all by James Scott Bell, too. Just this morning another author friend recommended his book about writing your story from the middle. I'm going to check that one out...

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    1. Melissa, Susie's way of explaining the process behind a good book revolutionized my writing. She was the key that unlocked the door to the stories inside me! Blessings, E

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  5. Edie: I'm with you about the value of The Book Buddy and Alton's book Imagination @ Work. I also like Susan May Warren's book Kiss and Tell: How to Write a Romance. Very practical & helpful.

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    1. Beth, absolutely - love each of those. And even though what I write isn't strictly romance, Kiss and Tell, has helped me so much with depth and dimension to my books. Blessings, E

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  6. Thanks for the recommendations Edie. With all of the writing advice out there, it can be hard to know which way to turn, so I'm glad I can benefit from your experience!

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    1. Joel, I'm glad this is helpful. Truthfully, we all benefit from one another! Blessings, E

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  7. "Editor-Proof Your Writing" by Don McNair opened my eyes up to a couple of my bad habits. I crossed out a ton of throwaway words and phrases from my MS after reading it. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. Abby, that's a great recommendation! Thanks so much for sharing - Blessings, E

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  8. Thank you for mentioning the ET. I am so happy you find it recommendable! I hope your book is filled with highlights and sticky notes and scribbles--those are the signs that a book is well-loved. :)

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  9. I also write for children. I agree with Rene, THE CHILDREN'S WRITERS' WORD BOOK is great. For those new to the business, I highly advise reading Nancy I. Sanders' book: "Yes! You Can Learn How To Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career."
    Also, writing books by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock are helpful. I ordered her Vol. II book on "How to Write a Children's Picture Book:Word, Sentence, Scene, and Story" and the one on "How to Turn a Phrase." I plan to go back and order her first volume in case I've missed something!

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  10. As a fiction writer, I've found "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass to be a wonderful resource.
    I also agree on James Scott Bell. And "Polishing the PUGS." And "Connections." And "The Book Buddy." And "Imagination @ Work." I own them all.
    I found Cecil Murphey's "Unleashing the Writer Within" to be a great encouragement too.

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