The best books for indie authors working to improve their craft

Valerie Howard Author Of Deep Blue Sea
By Valerie Howard

Who am I?

I have been a published indie author since 2011, and I enjoy reading and studying the craft to make my work the best it can be. I have a passion for indie authors and indie publishing, and I love the flexibility this type of authorship gives me while I homeschool my two young boys, run a non-profit organization, and volunteer at my church.


I wrote...

Deep Blue Sea

By Valerie Howard, Alex McGilvery,

Book cover of Deep Blue Sea

What is my book about?

Jamie Walker has a secret. And she'll do anything to keep it that way. Her missing cousin's cold case has been reopened at the worst time. And by the worst person: a hotshot detective from New York striving to close his 100th case. As the detective gets closer and closer to uncovering the truth of what happened all those years ago, Jamie will go to any lengths to make sure this dusty mystery is one he'll never solve.

Plagued by her guilty conscience, Jamie searches for forgiveness, finding an unlikely ally in a pastor she interviews for her magazine's monthly cover article. Will Pastor Byron Mitchell let Jamie in on the key to lifelong peace before her dark past drags her to drown in the depths of despair?

The books I picked & why

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Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

By Jessica Brody,

Book cover of Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You'll Ever Need

Why this book?

This book teaches the secrets of storytelling and story structure from a popular screenplay perspective. When I start a new novel, this is the first book I reach for every time. It teaches how to keep your story engaging to readers and how to best structure the overall plot so your story flows beautifully throughout and ends with satisfaction.


Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

By K.M. Weiland,

Book cover of Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

Why this book?

I can never read too many books about how to structure the overall plot of a novel because I’m a by-the-book plotter. K.M. Weiland brilliantly explains in a down-to-earth way how to make your story work so you are never confused about which plot points should go where in your story, no matter if you plot to the nth degree or like to see where the story takes you with minimal planning.

Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)

By Jack M. Bickham,

Book cover of Scene & Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)

Why this book?

This book gets down to the nitty-gritty of planning your novel and explains the difference between scenes (where the action happens), and sequels (where the reactions happen). Great for meticulous planners and haphazard pantsers alike, this book will help any writer learn some tried and true techniques to organize their story in a professional way.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

By Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi,

Book cover of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

Why this book?

All writers can be tempted to use tired cliches, but this best-seller helps your characters express themselves in a whole new way. Organized by emotion, the authors list many different examples of how a character can express their feelings with body language or internal sensations. Cross-referenced for extended research, this book is an absolute must-have for any aspiring author.

Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books

By Derek Murphy,

Book cover of Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books

Why this book?

When indie authors make their own book covers, most of them are awful. This book by Derek Murphy walks authors through the tips and tricks to make a book cover so professional no one would ever guess you made them yourself. Once I read this book and took the advice contained in it, my book covers blossomed, and no one can tell I didn’t pay a professional designer a single penny!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in creative writing, indie music, and writing?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about creative writing, indie music, and writing.

Creative Writing Explore 24 books about creative writing
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them, Writing the Natural Way: Turn the Task of Writing Into the Joy of Writing, and Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew if you like this list.