The best writing and proofreading books for writers who care about their words

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a writer since I was fourteen (possibly before that) and I’ve been an official freelance proofreader/copyeditor since 2019. I’ve published over thirty books and proofread or copyedited over sixty-two manuscripts as of this writing. I’ve garnered enough experience in both fields to, at least, be considered.


I wrote...

Make Your Writing Zing With Proofreading A Through Z!: Tips for Writers, Authors, and Publishers Alike

By John Irvin,

Book cover of Make Your Writing Zing With Proofreading A Through Z!: Tips for Writers, Authors, and Publishers Alike

What is my book about?

Do you love words and writing them down? Are you afraid your book isn’t going to quite cut it because you just know there are some typos in there? Are you unsure about a specific spelling or punctuation rule? This book gives fun little tips that could help any author or book publisher who cares about their writing!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Unflubbify Your Writing: Bite-Sized Lessons to Improve Your Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar

John Irvin Why did I love this book?

I connected with the author on LinkedIn and fell in love with the grammar tips she would post. Then I discovered her book on proofreading tips and had to grab my copy. Every single page had me grinning and bobbing my head. I love how she can turn a grammar rule into something fun and memorable. Whether you’re a writer, editor, proofreader, or even publisher, I would recommend adding this fantastic read to your collection.

By Sara Rosinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unflubbify Your Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have fun learning to avoid English’s pitfalls.

English can be beastly. With all its soundalike and lookalike words, its peculiar punctuation rules, its ridiculous spelling inconsistencies, and those teeny-tiny apostrophes that love landing in all the wrong places, writing can get downright intimidating.

HAVE NO FEAR! Unflubbify Your Writing is here! Packed with fun examples, this book shows you how to:

Keep spellings straight: capital and capitol, stationary and stationery, forego and forgo, etc. Avoid comma splices and grocer’s apostrophes. Pluralize last names. Understand when to use fewer instead of less. Use i.e. and e.g. correctly. Know when—and when not—to…


Book cover of The Best Punctuation Book, Period: A Comprehensive Guide for Every Writer, Editor, Student, and Businessperson

John Irvin Why did I love this book?

This was one of the first books I bought when I started my proofreading career. It has come in handy so many times and still does as a refresher. It not only shares the grammar or punctuation rules for one style, but has actual comparison lists for each style out there. Want a good reminder about the rules that guide the best writing? This is one of the best books to have on your library shelf, period.

By June Casagrande,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best Punctuation Book, Period as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This all-in-one reference is a quick and easy way for book, magazine, online, academic, and business writers to look up sticky punctuation questions for all styles including AP (Associated Press), MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago Manual of Style.

Punctuate with Confidence—No Matter the Style

Confused about punctuation? There’s a reason. Everywhere you turn, publications seem to follow different rules on everything from possessive apostrophes to hyphens to serial commas. Then there are all the gray areas of punctuation—situations the rule books gloss over or never mention at all. At last, help has arrived.
 
This complete…


Book cover of The Writer's Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages

John Irvin Why did I love this book?

If you’re struggling to find the right plot progression, this book helps with tips on how to map out the storyline. It’s helped me tremendously in several of my own novels. Any writer who cares about making an exceptional plot should have this book in their personal library.

By Nancy Ellen Dodd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Writer's Compass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Map out your idea and finish your story in 7 stages!

This book will show writers how to develop their ideas into a finished novel by working through it in 7 stages, while learning how to mapping out their story's progress and structure so they can evaluate and improve their work. It teaches writers to visualize their story's progress with a story map that helps them see all the different components of their story, where these components are going, and, perhaps most importantly, what's missing.

The book simplifies Aristotle's elements of good writing (a.k.a. that each story should have a…


Book cover of The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

John Irvin Why did I love this book?

Another excellent book about plot and the importance of making sure you have a good one. The difference between a good plot and a great plot is a bestseller. If you want your story’s plot to speak of mastery, do not miss out on reading this insightful book. Add it to your personal library for good measure. It’s always a good idea to have it there, so you can reference it in the future even after finishing it.

By Martha Alderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Plot Whisperer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover how to create stories that build suspense, reveal character, and engage your audience with this ultimate guide to writing.

When it comes to writing bestsellers, it's all about the plot. Trouble is, plot is where most writers fall down-but you don't have to be one of them. With this book, you'll learn how to create stories that build suspense, reveal character, and engage readers-one scene at a time.

Celebrated writing teacher and author Martha Alderson has devised a plotting system that's as innovative as it is easy to implement. With her foolproof blueprint, you'll learn to devise a successful…


Book cover of Start Your Proofreading Side-Hustle: Maximize Your Writing Skills

John Irvin Why did I love this book?

This book played a part in my main source of income. Starting my own proofreading business wasn’t easy. I did have help from others, but I wanted to mention this book as a good starter to give insight and ideas on how to start your own freelance proofreading business. You can start it as a side-hustle, or you can go full-time, it’s up to you!

By Ashan R. Hampton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Start Your Proofreading Side-Hustle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Proofreading is a highly marketable skill that makes for a great side-hustle or second income, especially for teachers. As more people write a variety of content across numerous industries, opportunities abound for professionals with above average language skills to bankroll their knack for words into a profitable home-based business.
Now more than ever before, the stage is set for good writers, editors, proofreaders and teachers to sharpen their skills and promote their services. The field of freelance proofreading is wide open with potential clients everywhere. For the curious and the determined, Start Your Proofreading Side-Hustle: Maximize Your Writing Skillsanswers the…


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Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

By Mark Doherty,

Book cover of Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

Mark Doherty Author Of Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a highly experienced outdoorsman, musician, songwriter, and backcountry guide who chose teaching as a day job. As a writer, however, I am a promoter of creative and literary nonfiction, especially nonfiction that features a thematic thread, whether it be philosophical, conservation, historical, or even unique experiential. The thread I used for thirty years of teaching high school and honors English was the thread of Conservation, as exemplified by authors like Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward O. Wilson, Al Gore, Henry David Thoreau, as well as many other more contemporary authors.

Mark's book list on creative nonfiction books that entertain and teach through threaded essays and stories

What is my book about?

I have woven numerous delightful and descriptive true life stories, many from my adventures as an outdoorsman and singer songwriter, into my life as a high school English teacher. I think you'll find this work both entertaining as well as informative, and I hope you enjoy the often lighthearted repartee and dialogue that enhances the stories and experiences.

When I started teaching in the early 1990s, I brought into the classroom with me my passions for nature, folk music, and creativity. This book holds something new and engaging with every chapter and can be enjoyed by all sorts of readers, particularly those who enjoy nonfiction that employs wit, wisdom, humor, and even some down-to-earth philosophy.

Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration

By Mark Doherty,

What is this book about?

Creativity, Teaching, and Natural Inspiration follows the evolution of a high school English teacher as he develops a creative and innovative teaching style despite being juxtaposed against a public education system bent on didactic, normalizing regulations and political demands. Doherty crafts an engaging nonfiction story that utilizes memoir, anecdote, poetry, and dialogue to explore how mixing creativity and pedagogy can change the way budding students visualize creative writing: A chunk of firewood plunked on a classroom table becomes part of a sawmill, a mine timber, an Anasazi artifact...it also becomes a poem, a song, an essay, and a memoir. The…


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