My favorite books on getting published

Writer's Market

Published since 1921, this is the ultimate directory for finding publishers, literary agents, book competitions, and conferences.

Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd edition

This is an indispensable visual guide for understanding how to format your work for submission to an agent or publisher.

How to Write a Book Proposal, 5th Edition

If you're writing a nonfiction book (not a novel), this guide is a must-have. It's been the go-to manual for writing book proposals since the early 1980s. Exceptionally thorough.

The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters

I recommend most writers attend a writers conference that has literary agent speakers to get a full grasp of the query letter writing and pitch process. If that's not possible, then here's your next best guide for query writing.

The First Five Pages

This isn't really a guide to getting published, but it will explain why your manuscript is getting passed over by agents and editors. It lays out how any industry insider can tell if your writing is publishable within the first five pages.

The Business of Being a Writer

This is my comprehensive guide to earning a living as a working writer.

The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published

A comprehensive guide by industry insiders. One of the best on the market.

Your First Page

Those countless manuscripts that editors reject daily? They’re all being rejected for the same reason: for having failed—somehow, at some level—to successfully bond with their readers. That bond begins on the very first page, and this is the best guide I've seen to the importance and effect of story openings.

My favorite books on writing and the writing life

The War of Art

Writing and publishing is primarily a psychological battle, and this guide tells you everything you need to know about that fight.

Writing the Breakout Novel

An agent explains the powerful elements that can make a novel stand out from the rest and become a bestseller.

The Situation and The Story

If you're writing a memoir or personal essay, this powerful guide is sure to improve your understanding of salable and compelling personal stories.

The Forest for the Trees

An editor's advice to authors—a fabulous read, written with empathy and insight.

3 A.M. Epiphany

One of my favorite prompt books of all time—excellent to use on your own, and also useful as part of a writing class.

Plot & Structure

My favorite book on plotting if you're writing commercial fiction.

The Pocket Muse

A gorgeous inspiration book.

Show Your Work

If it's possible for a creativity book and business book to be all wrapped up in a single title, this is it.

My favorite books on self-publishing and marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing

This is for self-publishing authors, primarily fiction writers. Much of it is available for free at the author's site.

Let's Get Digital

A comprehensive guide by a trusted author in the indie space.

Your First 1,000 Copies

Written by a proven marketer of both traditionally published and self-published titles.

The 10 Commandments of Author Branding

Writers are often uncomfortable thinking about themselves as a brand. This guide discusses how to build a career and market books in a way that's authentic and aligns with your values—even if you don't fully buy into being a "brand."