by Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam BarryDecember 2010
Great gift books for writers
We have a time-honored tradition of providing our readers with gift book suggestions from noted authors. This year, we’ve decided to put in our own two cents with a list of the very best books—some new and some classics—for the writer in your life, even if that writer is you.
The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner offers a glimpse of the publishing process from the point of view of an editor-turned-literary agent. Lerner shares her impressive experience working with writers, along with insight into what editors and agents look for when considering a manuscript for publication. Chatty and anecdotal, The Forest for the Trees evokes the no-nonsense advice you might get from a big sister. Read the BookPage review of the original edition.
Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay by Adair Larais a brand-new book about the craft of writing what you know. A teacher, memoirist and former columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Lara offers down-to-earth advice on finding your angle. She’ll help you get over your inhibitions, your procrastination and yourself, and get those words on the page.
This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley offers the kick in the butt many beginning writers need to get on—and stick to—the discipline of daily writing practice. Accessible to adults and recommended for teens, Mosley’s message boils down to: Write every day, no matter what—no excuses.
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How to Write It, Sell It, and Market It . . . Successfully by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry is an updated version of Putting Your Passion into Print, a book we’ve recommended before. Eckstut and Sterry leave no stone unturned in this comprehensive look at the current landscape of publishing.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott gives us permission to produce a lousy first draft and take off from there. You’ll learn about your unique voice as you find the courage to write with passion—from a writer whose self-deprecating honesty and wit never fail to charm.
On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is a beloved favorite of ours—and not only because one of us is mentioned in the foreword. Our Rock Bottom Remainders bandmate intertwines memoir and writing advice in a way that only a true believer (and a passionate reader and teacher) could; readers get an intimate look at both the writing process and the writer. Read our review of the original edition.
The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook edited by Daniel Alarcón asks accomplished authors and other creative types to answer a list of questions about their craft. This is the perfect book to pick up when you’re stuck, since you don’t have to read in any particular order to get inspiration and encouragement. If nothing else, you’ll discover that many famous writers are as neurotic as you are. Read the BookPage review.
And, last but (we hope) not least—our own new book,Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now, was inspired by this BookPage column.Our new book provides an overview of the publishing process from inspiration to publication and beyond, along with celebrity-author cameos and a magnificent glossary, if we do say so ourselves. Read an interview with Sam & Kathi!