Recommended Reading

Here are some books that we highly recommend you read (listed in alphabetical order by author within categories).

Fiction Writing

Plot and Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) by James Scott Bell – a study of the critical foundation of a great story.

Revision And Self-Editing by James Scott Bell – Learn how to edit your own work without destroying it. The great novelist James Michner once said something to the effect, “I’m an okay writer, but I am a great re-writer.”

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne and Dave King – This is a tremendous resource and is an essential tool for all novelists.

A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction by ChiLibris – A brilliant collection of  articles by some of the top writers in the industry, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Randy Alcorn, Terri Blackstock, Robin Jones Gunn, Jerry Jenkins, and Angela Hunt.

Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors by Brandilyn Collins – A unique approach to fiction writing, using the stage and method acting as a backdrop for exploring the craft.

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson – if you are just getting started this is a great place to begin.

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman – That first impression is everything in a novel. Lukeman gives invaluable advice for starting strong.

Non-fiction Writing

Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction–and Get It Published by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato – Insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Great for those writing college level papers and thesis.

An Introduction to Christian Writing: An Indepth Companion to the Complete Writing Experience by Ethel Herr – A classic work used as the main textbook for the Christian Writers Guild first year course.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser – a classic for over thirty years. One of the first books I read on the craft of writing.


Get Known Before The Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform by Christina Katz – a wise exploration of the key to personal branding and helping to build a platform that is attractive to a publisher.

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Levinson – an unbelievable treasure of basic knowledge combined with years of marketing wisdom. This is a great place to start.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition by David Meerman Scott – The old way of doing publicity and marketing is no longer effective. Learn from one of the new masters of this field.

General Industry and Craft

Write His Answer: A Bible Study for Christian Writers, 2nd Edition by Marlene Bagnull – The only complete Bible study developed specifically for Christian writers.

Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises by James Scott Bell – One of my favorite books. You will find yourself returning to it again and again.

The Making of a Christian Bestseller: An Insider’s Guide to Christian Publishing by Ann E. Byle – Truly and insider’s guide with interviews with over forty industry experts and chapters by well known teachers and writers.

The Little Handbook to Perfecting the Art of Christian Writing: Getting Your Foot in the Publisher’s Door by Leonard Goss and Don Aycock – A wonderful little book full of insight into the publishing process.

The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard Goss and Carolyn Stanford Goss – This is a very compact and easy to access companion to The Chicago Manual of Style. Smaller in scope than Robert Hudson’s book below.

The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style: Updated and Expanded Edition by Robert HudsonThe book on the subject. Covers all the issues not normally found in style guides like The Chicago Manual of Style.

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner – profound insight into the creative process.