The fifth of each month is set aside for book reviews. Please contact the blog moderator if you have a good book that you would like to see featured here. This month I offer not one - but three books worth reading if you are serious about writing.
On Writing by Stephen King
Now I understand what all the fuss is about. This is one fantastic book. Even with the language warning, I highly recommend it to every writer. It's very practical, but reads like a novel. I literally didn't want to put it down. King starts off by chronicling the life experiences that had an impact on his writing and ends with sound advice on almost every aspect of the writing life. There is really too much good stuff here to sum it up in one paragraph. All I really need to say is, "Read it!" (Review by Tracy Krauss)
Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt.
At one point the authors state, "We want this to be thee guide to self-publishing." That's a pretty gusty statement, but in my opinion, they deliver. Write. Publish. Repeat. is, perhaps, one of the most practical books on the topic I have read to date. There are no get rich quick schemes and no magic formulas. Beyond the necessity of having a really good product that looks and reads 'professional', it comes down to sweat equity, plain and simple. Writing lots and building your catalogue, using product 'funnels', and treating your writing like a business, are just a few of the nuggets that I got out of the book. I also enjoyed the friendly conversational style. It was fun to read, although I say that with a slight caveat. They warn you up front that there will be some swearing and potentially offensive topics used as examples. This adds to the conversational style, but if vulgar language makes you squeamish then this book is probably not for you. That aside, there is just too much practical information to dismiss the book because of a language warning. I highly recommend it for authors of all stripes, self published or not. (Review by Tracy Krauss)
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
The book is full of sound advice, although the parts that talk about ebooks, advances, self publishing etc. are somewhat dated in light of the changes in the publishing industry. Still, the chapters on actual writing - plot, characterization, setting etc. are excellent. Sometimes I found the detailed examples tedious, especially if I wasn't familiar with the particular book in question. Especially helpful are the 'Breakout Checklists' at the end of each chapter which basically summarize the chapter in bullet points. (Review by Tracy Krauss)