This post is the product of a few exchanges I had over the last two weeks with a few friends and colleagues, about writing and in particular about writing as a freelance/independent/mercenary writer.
I am convinced one can learn anything from a book, and thank goodness there’s a lot of great books out there. I am listing a fer here that represent, to me, the minimum library for the independent writer. This is not of course the Word of God – it’s just my personal list of favorites.
Your mileage might vary.
Guy Kawasaki – APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
Still to me the best one-stop resource for self-publishers, Kawasaki’s self-published handbook covers all the essentials, providing an overview of the essential softwares, of the best practices and of the best resources to professionally undertake the publication of a self-produced book. Some suggestions are debatable (like, buying the top of the line Apple laptop as a writing tool), but still a rock-solid foundation to any artisan publishing venture.
Robin Williams – The Non-designer’s Design Book
I got me the Second Edition, but currently the Fourth Edition is available.
This is a simple, concise guide to design thinking, and it is absolutely essential to help you avoid the ugliness that seems to plague self-published books. Basic concepts are explained clearly, and ample examples are provided, and still you read it in two evenings.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch – The Freelancer’s Survival Guide
From setting up your home office to doing your tax returns, this massive handbook has it all. The only drawback: this is very US-centric, and you might need to do some research to see what applies in your own country (and that’s a whole different rabbit hole, I’m afraid).
But even with its American bias, the book is still a source of information, ideas and things you did not imagine you needed to know, but you do.
Chuck Wendig – Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey & Revenge of the Penmonkey
Two collections of articles by Chuck Wending about the writing life and the things you need to know when you play this sort of game. Informational, fun, sometimes irritating but it’s good for you, this is the sort of book you need when the tide starts rising and you feel lost.
And then it’s Chuck Wending, and anything from Chuck Wendig is highly recommended (also check out, his 500 series, and his Word Mines book).
Rachel Aaron – 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
Short but great book about productivity and how to increase it. It will get you counting words and do spreadsheets of your writing routine, and that’s good.
Rachel Aaron’s method is clear, simple and does not require you to use any special software (you can do it all with Google Documents, if so inclined). Very helpful when output is connected with revenue.
Zimmerman & Ng – Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies
I am not the Tarzan of the social media jungle, but this handbook does provide a huge amount of information on the use of social media to push our stuff, and it might come handy.
My edition is from 2017, but the book is likely to be updated frequently considering the speed at which the social media landscape changes.
And this is it.
And now that I’ve done this post, I’ll place the ebooks I listed here in a directory and keep it on my desktop – because I better start heed my own suggestions.
Do you have any other book you think an independent author should keep handy and read thoroughly?
Let me know in the comments.