Here are various books and classes that I recommend for both writers and readers. You should assume these are all affiliate links, meaning that if you buy something from one of my links I get a small commission. Not all of them but most of them. Even though they are affiliate links I do feel that these items will be of benefit to you. I’ve either read the books or taken the class so I’m making an informed recommendation.
These are classes that I’ve taken and found a lot of value in. Take a look and see if they might work for you and your situation. Just because it worked for me, it may not work for you. Use your best judgement.
The first few classes are from author Holly Lisle. Full disclosure – I’m a moderator on her forums and I’ve been a fan of Holly’s for a number of years. I started with her Flash Fiction course and just kept moving through her other classes. The forum is one of the best places on the internet for writers, and has a zero tolerance for talk about politics, religion or selling your stuff. It’s a safe place to talk with other writers, get support on writing problems, and get help with any of the classes you may be taking.
If you are brand new to writing, or want to see if it might be for you, start with Holly’s free Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t SUCK. It’s a three week class that shows you how to come up with story ideas, then write the beginning, middle and end of five short stories (500 words or under). 500 words might seem like a lot but it’s about two pages. The nice thing is that when you have all five stories written you could publish them if you like and start your writing career. 🙂
Another good course from Holly is Find Your Writing Voice. Part of writing is finding your own unique voice. Bradbury doesn’t sound like Heinlein who doesn’t sound like Niven and on ad infinitum. You do this by writing a lot. This course gives you multiple writing prompts that you use to write short pieces from different points of view. I met several characters through this class that I intend to put into stories of their own.
The next course is Title. Cover. Copy. Fiction Marketing Workshop. When you’re ready to publish, this class is great for helping you zero in on creating a great title, cover and blurb for your book. These are the three foundational pieces of marketing for your book. The cover is usually the first thing that catches a readers eye as they are scrolling through a list of books on a retail site. Then they look at the title of your book. It needs to convince the reader to go to the next step, which is reading your cover blurb, the bit of text that tells them about your book. You want these three things to collectively move the reader to buying and reading your work. This course can help you get there.
Caveat: The following two classes are some of Holly’s BIG classes. Start with the ones above before you tackle these two. These are not the classes you want if you aren’t sure if you want to write for a living or not. If you want to just write for yourself, or maybe family and a few friends, you don’t need these classes. If you are not ready to put in the time, effort, and make a commitment, you don’t need these classes. They are expensive and not for everybody.
First up is How To Revise Your Novel. First off, you need to have a completed novel before starting this class. If you haven’t written a novel yet, try the How to Write A Novel class (which I haven’t taken yet so I can’t speak authoritatively on its value but I would guess it is probably good based on the other classes I have taken.) I will say up front, I don’t like revising. When I’ve finished writing a story I want to get on with the next one. But revising is a necessary part of the process. This course is difficult and it takes a lot of effort to get through and there are times you will want to throw in the towel and quit. Don’t. Trust the process and keep going. My first novel may not be perfect but it is vastly improved over what I had before I took this class. You learn many things in this class that will be valuable in your next writing project because you’ll be more aware of what to look for and what to avoid.
The second class is Holly’s flagship course, How To Think Sideways. This class lays out a plan to follow if you want to be a career author. This covers a lot of the ‘meta’ topics around writing – coming up with ideas, creating your own system for writing, how to handle projects, and all the things beyond the craft of writing your book. Again, this book is not for everyone so read the sales page carefully before you buy. Make sure it is a good fit for you.