Every year I put out a call for recommendations for gifts for freelance writers and every year a flurry of representatives send me recommendations for gifts having nothing to do with writers or writing at all. So this year, I’m taking matters into my own hands by recommending my favorite books for writers. Mind you, not every book here is a book about writing, but all of them benefit freelance writers.
Full disclosure: A couple of the books on this list were sent to me to review, and I give my honest review here. However, most of the books on this list come from my own library and the recommendations are unsolicited.
10 Book Recommendations for the Writers in Your Life
The most entertaining book ever written about punctuation, Truss discusses punctuation with humor so the reader is never bored. If you or someone is apostrophetically challenged and uses”your” in place of “you’re, or itses when she should be it’s'ing, do put a copy of this book under the tree.
by Stephen King
I’ve read “On Writing” at least a half dozen times and it never fails to inspire me. Stephen King takes us through his early beginnings and writing career, and includes some dark periods of his life such as his struggles with addiction and the car crash that almost took his life. However, this is no mere autobiography. King only brings up these instances to discuss how they shaped him as a writer and made him who he is today. Though geared more towards fiction writers, writers of non-fiction will also appreciate giving “On Writing” a read.
by Kate Lister and Tom Harnish
Don’t quit your day job before reading “Undress for Success.” This practical guide to working at home gives you all the tools you need to succeed and many things to consider before taking the plunge. Lister and Harnish don’t sugarcoat the work from home lifestyle. They’ve been doing it for several decades and take you through the pros and cons. From office essentials to navigating the job boards, “Undress for Success” is a must read for anyone looking to leave corporate America behind.
by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk uses his no nonsense style to discuss starting a business and rocking it to success. If there’s one thing that shines through in “Crush It!” it’s Vaynerchuk’s passion. The passion that took @garyvee from a being a simple video blogger and online wine merchant to a mega successful entrepreneur. He even offers some ideas he feel would be worthwhile to explore, but doesn’t have the time to do so himself. “Crush It!” isn’t a book about writing or becoming a successful writer, it’s about becoming a success with your own business, something all freelancers strive to do.
Friend of FWJ, Erik Hare, recommended I read both volumes of “The New Writer’s Handbook.” Though that review was lost in the Great Server Crash of 2009, I’m giving them another recommendation here because they’re that good. Both handbooks contain an essential collection of readings assembled to inspire and motivate. These aren’t mere essays, they’re required reading. With sections on querying, creativity and marketing, every single freelance writer can benefit from these useful guides.
by Jon Wuebben
To be honest, I was hesitant to review “Content Rich” because I thought it would be another spammy “make money with SEO” book. The truth is, Jon Wuebben knows his stuff and offers excellent, practical advice for anyone wishing to succeed as a web writer. Whether you’re copywriting, writing content for a site or looking to create your own blogs and websites, you’ll find “Content Rich” useful.
by William Zinsser
An oldie but a goodie, by copy of “On Writing Well” was a Christmas gift from my mom over a decade ago. It’s dog eared, worn and still relevant today. Zinsser teaches without pontificating. His tone is informal and down to earth as he walks us through the non-fiction writing process. This isn’t a book about succeeding as a writer or finding work. It’s all about how to be a good writer. Every time I find myself slipping up and forgetting my rules, I turn bac to “On Writing Well.” There’s a reason this book sold millions of copies.
I wanted to read “ProBlogger” because the authors are friends of mine. I keep it around as a reference because it’s the best book I’ve read thus far about blogging for a living. If you want to earn a successful living as a professional blogger, this is the one book you should read. Written by a couple of the best in the business, “ProBlogger” takes you through all the steps; from building a blog, to bringing in traffic, to monetizing your blog and much more.
by Peter Bowerman
I like to refer to the “Well Fed Writer” as the freelance writer’s Bible. Now in its second edition, “Well Fed Writer” discusses Bowerman’s success as a writer and how you can follow the same path. The book promises “financial self-sufficiency as a commerical freelancer in six months or left” and it’s up to you whether or not you wish to take Bowerman up on his challenge. Want to earn $125 an hour? Put this book on the top of your Santa list and learn how.
by Ric Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls & David Weinberger
I read somewhere that the ” ‘Cluetrain Manifesto’ is a business book for people who don’t like business books,” and I think that sums it up nicely. This isn’t a book about writing, but a book about doing business at this point in time. It discusses how the Internet is bringing relationships and conversation back into business and anyone wishing to succeed as a freelance writer should be interested in learning how. Though ten years old, “The Cluetrain Manifesto” is still an interesting read for anyone starting a business, and yes, that includes a freelance writing business.