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You’ve just spent months, maybe even years, crafting and editing the next best seller, and now you believe you’re ready for the next step: publication. What do you need to know? What’s the next step? What questions haven’t you asked?

Here are 7 books I’ve personally read and enjoyed whilst navigating my own publication journey. I broke up each title into a quick description, who it will most likely benefit, and any extra tidbits of information.

1. Before & After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum (2020)

About: An essential guide for knowing the minute little details that happen, as the title implies, before and after the book deal. The official description is: “Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about publishing but were too afraid to ask.”

Benefits: Aspiring authors wanting to get their book traditionally published, ideally through a medium or large press (AKA: The “Big 5”).

Extra: Courtney Maum is active on Substack! Feel free to check her out and get a wealth of information outside of her book as well.

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (Reissue 2020)

About: This one is widely known as a classic for aspiring authors (and happens to be one of my favorites). The first half is an overview of King’s own writing career, and the second half acts more as a “toolkit” of information or aspiring authors.

Benefits: Those wanting more personalized insight into a book’s writing and publication journey.

Extra: I annotated the crap out of my copy. If you’re going to read this one, I definitely recommend purchasing it, so you can (1) mark it up, and (2) have it to refer back to.

3. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (2015)

About: This is also one of my favorites as it speaks to the unique relationship we each have with our own creative process(es). “Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the ‘strange jewels’ that are hidden within each of us.” Not writing-specific, but definitely still relevant.

Benefits: Those suffering from writer’s block, struggling with their own creative process, and/or seeing themselves as a creator. Great for anyone wanting a fresh perspective on the idea of “creativity” as a whole.

Extra: Consider checking out a related TED Talk she did back in 2009.

4. How to Promote Your Book by Dr. Jan Yager (2023)

About: Offers practical advice to authors for promoting their book and making it more visible to potential readers. Divided into 3 sections, this guide covers promotional basics, what to do before your book’s publication, and what the first few months of your “publicity program” should look like.

Benefits: Any author (commercially published, self-published, published through an academic press) wanting a realistic overview and timeline for what their book’s promotion could look like. More of a DIY approach.

Extra: If you’re curious about which promotional tactics do and don’t work, consider checking out Kathleen Schmidt’s 2-part post here: Part 1 & Part 2

5. Any of the Writer’s Market books by Robert Lee Brewer

About: These books are created under the Writer’s Digest name, so you know these are going to be high-quality resources. Every few years they push out a newer version of the “Writer’s Market”, and here are some of those editions:

Benefits: Writers seeking guidance for getting published, securing representation, building credibility, platform growth, you name it.

6. Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino (2012)

About: This one’s old, but it’s a starting point. Sambuchino covers the basics with websites, social media, blogging, newsletters, identifying your niche, public speaking, and article/column writing.

Benefits: Writers wanting to create more of an identity around their brand and needing help with how to do that.

Extra: Your brand’s or platform’s foundation consists of 3 things: who you are, what you have to say, and how you want to say it.

7. Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin (2017)

About: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, but there were definitely some intriguing moments. This is a collection of essays from a wide variety of writers/authors of varying success, providing commentary and insight on their own journey. Discusses (some of) the money around writing, the lifestyle, and more.

Benefits: Writers wanting a wider perspective on what it takes to commit to your craft and the all-around culture of calling yourself a writer.

Extra: Cheryl Strayed has a good interview with the author in the beginning where she talks about her $100,000 advance for her book, Wild, and how the money of it worked with her publisher.

More Recommendations

To fully set you up for success, here are some additional books that I haven’t read but have heard good things about:

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