Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I’m Making a List—of the Best Writing, Publishing & Marketing Books in 2014

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Today’s post relies heavily on your participation.

I’m going to share the book industry books that have helped me the most this year. 

But I’m only one person and can only read so many books. Think of the to-be-read list we’ll compile when we put our heads together!

Edie’s Picks of Best Writing, Publishing and Marketing Books for 2014

Imagination @ Work, by Alton Gansky, Kindle ebook $2.99
Alton Gansky, author of over 40 books, shares thoughts about the creative life. Imagination @ Work is a compilation of short essays dealing with creativity in general and writing in particular. "Creatives share a bond. It doesn't matter if it's someone writing a rock-and-roll song, or dabbing paint on a canvas, or walking the stage in front of a crowd of theater-goers, the creative spirit is attracted to others of like mind." These short essays are meant to inspire, instruct, entertain, and occasionally raise a smile from the reader.

The Dance of Character and Plot, DiAnn Mills, Kindle ebook $9.99, paperback $13.96 (Amazon)
When a writer steps onto the page of a novel, a dance of rhythm and beauty begins. The writer is inspired to create story, and that passion unfolds onto the pages of a vibrant novel.

Do you have a burning passion to pen a novel but don't know where to begin? Have you been writing but your work still remains unpublished? Are you ready to take positive steps toward pursuing your dream of creating a polished novel? Look no further!

The Dance of Character and Plot by award-winning author and writing coach DiAnn Mills will show you how to write a novel from idea to self-editing. This step-by-step instructional guide is packed with clear and concise information, examples of techniques, and fresh exercises to apply to your writing project.

Conversations with a Writing Coach, Susan May Warren, Kindle ebook $6.99 
Best-selling, Christy and RITA award-winning author Susan May Warren, founder of My Book Therapy, the craft and coaching community for novelists, has been coaching and training writers for over a decade, helping them realize their dream of becoming a published author.

Empowering. Essential. Fun. These are words describe the conversations Susan has had with thousands of students over a decade. Writing books are helpful, but they can be overwhelming and challenging to understand. Sometimes all writers need is someone to sit down beside them, believe in them, and patiently walk through the novel creation process, step-by-step. Now you can join the conversation!

She discusses high level story pitches, and how to decide what story to write, character creation and story structure, and an easy method to creating a story summary. She covers scene building, and how to create tension, then goes deeper, with emotional layering, storyworld and dialogue. Most of all, each conversation is delivered as if the student is sharing a cup of coffee, the language and explanations accessible. Writers will sit down with an idea…and leave with a novel.

Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules, Steven James, Kindle ebook $9.99, Paperback $14.84 (Amazon)
Don't limit your fiction - LIBERATE IT
All too often, following the "rules" of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure, you can shed those rules - about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more - to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories.
Award-winning novelist Steven James explains how to trust the narrative process to make your story believable, compelling, and engaging, and debunks the common myths that hold writers back from creating their best work.
  • Ditch your outline and learn to write organically.
  • Set up promises for readers - and deliver on them.
  • Discover how to craft a satisfying climax.
  • Master the subtleties of characterization.
  • Add mind-blowing twists to your fiction.

When you focus on what lies at the heart of story - tension, desire, crisis, escalation, struggle, discovery - rather than plot templates and formulas, you'll begin to break out of the box and write fiction that resonates with your readers. Story Trumps Structure will transform the way you think about stories and the way you write them, forever.

Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsters and Everyone in Between, James Scott Bell,  Kindle ebook $2.99, paperback $11.99 (Amazon) 
A powerful secret, and a fresh approach to writing bestselling fiction!

What's the best way to write a "next level" novel? Some writers start at the beginning and let the story unfold without a plan. They are called "pantsers," because they write by the "seat of the pants."

Other writers plan and outline and know the ending before they start. These are the "plotters."

The two sides never seem to agree with each other on the best approach.

But what if it's not the beginning or the end that is the key to a successful book? What if, amazing as it may seem, the place to begin writing your novel is in the very middle of the story?

According to #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell, that's exactly where you'll find your story's heart and heat. Bell's "Mirror Moment" is the secret, and its power is available to any writer, at any stage of the writing process.

Bringing together years of craft study and personal discovery, Bell presents a truly unique approach to writing a novel, one that will stand the test of time and serve you all your writing life.

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript, James Scott Bell, Kindle ebook $3.99, Paperback $10.79 (Amazon)
There is one sure-fire way of improving your novel fast. . .

You may know the fundamentals of how to write fiction. You may be more than competent in plot, structure and characters. But if your dialogue is dull it will drag the whole story down.

On the other hand, if your dialogue is crisp and full of tension it immediately grabs the reader. And if that reader is an agent or editor, sharp dialogue will give them instant assurance that you know what you're doing as a writer.

Writing a bestseller or hot screenplay is no easy task, but dazzling dialogue is an absolute essential if you want to get there.

The best part is, the skills of the dialogue craft are easy to understand and put into practice. #1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell has put together and expanded upon the dialogue lectures from his popular writing seminars. In How to Write Dazzling Dialogue you'll learn:

What fictional dialogue is ... and isn't
  • The 11 secrets of crafting memorable dialogue
  • The 5 essential tasks of dialogue
  • 5 ways to improve your dialogue ear
  • 4 can't-miss methods to increase conflict and tension in any dialogue exchange
  • The top 10 dialogue issues, and how to resolve them

You'll also see dazzling dialogue in action with examples from hit novels and screenplays.

Don't sabotage your chances of selling your work to readers or publishers because the dialogue is unexceptional. Dazzle them with what the characters say. How to Write Dazzling Dialogue will give you the tools to do it.

How to Make a Living as a Writer, James Scott Bell, $2.99 Kindle ebook, Paperback $11.44 (Amazon)
It's the best time on Earth to be a writer

More writers are making money today than at any other time in history. For centuries few have been able to support themselves from the quill or the keyboard alone.

Not anymore. With the rise of ebooks and indie publishing there are now more opportunities than ever for writers to generate substantial income from their work. And there is still a traditional publishing industry that needs new talent to keep growing.

In How to Make a Living as a Writer, you'll learn the secrets of writing for profit and increasing your chances of making a living wage from your work. Here are some of the subjects covered:

- The 7 Secrets of Writing Success
- The 8 Essentials of Your Writing Business
- How to Reach Your Goals
- Keys to a Winning System
- How to Stay Relentless
- Unlocking Your Creativity
- How to Write More, Faster
- Comparing Traditional and Self-Publishing
- How to Go Traditional
- How to Go Indie
- How to Form Multiple Streams of Writing Income
- How to Write a Novel in a Month
- How to Choose Non-Fiction Subjects
- How to Keep a Positive Mental Attitude
- Resources for Further Study

And much more, all to help you write what you love and earn what you’re worth.

The Extroverted Writer: AnAuthor's Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform, Amanda Leudeke, (I know this book came out in 2013, but it’s been such a valuable book, I had to include it!) $2.99 Kindle ebook, Paperback $8.09 (Amazon)
Take control of your writing career and develop an online following that sells books and propels you forward!

Whether you’re a published author or new to the industry, THE EXTROVERTED WRITER gives you the tools you need to gain a readership through:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blogging
  • Websites
  • And MORE!

Literary agent Amanda Luedeke uses her background in corporate marketing to show readers that even if you’re an introvert you can have a great online author following by tapping into the reader-packed world of social media. From ideas to tips to absolute musts, THE EXTROVERTED WRITER builds on Amanda’s successful “Thursdays with Amanda” blog posts on ChipMacGregor.com. This easy-to-read guide breaks down the most popular social media sites and online options to give YOU the tools you need to be effective when engaging with your readers.

Whether you’re new to social media or a longtime pro…whether you have dozens of books under your belt or are still waiting for your first deal, this book is for you.

These are my picks this year. I’m sure I’m leaving out some good one, but I know you can fill in the gaps. Be sure to leave your picks in the comments section below. And to sweeten the pot, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter so you can add the book of your choice to your library!

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


The Most valuable #Writing, #Publishing & Marketing Books in 2014 – what would you add? @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Edie, thanks for this list. Also, I want to rave about your new blog design. I like it a lot better than the other one. It's much easier on the eyes, brighter and cheerier.

    1. Emily, thanks so much! I love the new design much better, too. Thanks & Blessings, E

  2. Anything written by JSB is on my personal library shelf! He's an amazing teacher.

    1. Ane, I'm right there with you. That man is a genius! Thanks for sharing, Blessings E

  3. Great suggestions, Edie! I absolutely love Susan May Warren's book "Conversations with a Writing Coach" and James Scott Bell's "Writing Your Novel from the Middle." I'll have to check out these other ones, too! Another favorite of mine is your social media book "Connections for writers" although I don't believe that came out this year.

    1. Michelle, I'm with you, Susie's look is so amazing! I love your brainstorming book as well, but like mine, it didn't come out this year! If you all don't know about Michelle's book, IDEA SPARKING, here's the link (it's not live, you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser): http://learnhowtowriteanovel.com/product/idea-sparking-how-to-brainstorm-conflict-in-your-novel-2/

      Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

  4. "The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction" by Jeff Gerke.

    1. Leslie, that is definitely a classic! I've been fortunate to take several of Jeff's classes, he's a master teacher. Thanks so much for adding to the list! Blessings, E

  5. Thank you for the mention. There are some fabulous books on this book that I refer to often!

    1. DiAnn, your book is a GREAT resource! Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  6. Amazing list of books, sure to help every writer. Thanks for sharing--will do likewise!

    1. Linda, thank you for the shares - and the encouragement! Blessings, E

  7. Oh, great list! I'd add Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi's Emotion Amplifier. It's a companion to their amazing Emotion Thesaurus which came out in 2013. They talk about 15 situations that can amplify a character's emotion, pushing them to the edge and keeping them from achieving their goals--or giving them just what they need to fight back.

    1. Bethany, I can't believe I left that book off the list!!!! thanks for adding it. Blessings, E

  8. Edie, you've listed some great books. I would have to agree with Bethany above, we need to add "The Emotion Thesaurus" (and other similar books) by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Also, the best help to me in understanding and writing in deep POV came from the slim volume "Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View" by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Hugs, Elva Cobb Martin, President, ACFW-SC Chapter

  9. Got Bell's How to Make a Living as a Writer for Christmas - love it. Great list and a good time to think about incorporating more learning about writing into your year. I really like Jill Nelson's Rivet Your Readers With Deep POV and The Fire in Fiction by Maass (though I do warn that there is profanity in the Maass book but such practical advice).

  10. Oh, such great books! Too late to add to my Christmas List, but my birthday is coming up! (January--yay!)