Great Books on Writing = Great Gifts (for Yourself and Others!) ~ guest post from LitNuts

I’m so happy to have Kathleen Meyer and Mike O’Mary from LitNuts as my guests today. First up, there’s their post that lists some of their favorite books for writers. But wait–there’s more! They’re also offering you a chance to win books, a gift card, and promotion for your book. Are they great guests or what?

First of all, thank you to Deborah for having LitNuts as a guest—and for inviting us to share recommendations on books about writing and the writing life.

I am a writer, owner of an indie press and now publisher of LitNuts, a newsletter about indie books, so books about writing and writers hold a special place in my heart and in my mind. So today I’m going to share some recommendations, some of which I’m sure you will be familiar—but some of which are off the beaten trail and worth a closer look.

In all cases—whether you are a writer or a musician or a painter or an artist of any type—I think the most important thing is to find something…a book, a song, a painting, a place…that sparks your creativity.

By the way, all of these great books are posted on the LitNuts website.

My first two recommendations are books that are personal favorites of mine:

  1. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. This is a classic, and it’s my “go-to” book for inspiration. Even in 1934, Brande knew that most writers didn’t need another book on “technique.” Instead, this book is designed to simply help you get over yourself and start writing.
  2. MFA in a Box by John Rember. Full disclosure: I went to graduate school with John, who later taught creative writing at The College of Idaho and at Pacific University for many years. He is an excellent writer and teacher, and I am proud to be the publisher of MFA in a Box, which is not so much about how to write as it is about why to write—although it has lots of great advice on the how as well.

Next, here are three memoirs that feature writing advice:

  • On Writing by Stephen King. Part memoir, part guidebook, King’s classic discusses how he came to be the writer we know today. In addition to all the practical advice, you get King’s own rags-to-riches story. You learn a lot while also being entertained.
  • One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty. Among the most beloved of American writers, Welty writes in her memoir with her usual candor and grace about how a writer’s sensibilities are shaped. A powerful and fulfilling read—and you can read the entire first chapter on the book’s page on Amazon.
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.  At once an elegy to the remarkable group for expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.

Finally, some additional books that will provide inspiration and/or advice on the art and craft of writing:

  • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. The next best thing to graduate workshop in fiction writing. Drawing on examples from Homer to Kafka to Joyce Carol Oates, Gardner unravels the mysteries of plot, sentence structure, diction, and point of view.
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A book that focuses on the craft of writing and training yourself to be even more creative. Includes tips for reinvigorating the creative juices of any creative artist.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg’s book examines the craft of writing including how to start brainstorming, the importance of learning how to listen, the vital role verbs play in writing, and even how to find an inspiring place to write.
  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. Dillard shares words of wisdom and discusses the difficulties of writing, including how hard it is to write and how sometimes it is necessary to destroy paragraphs, phrases and words to re-form them as something even better. This is one of the best books on writing available.
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This classic book targets nonfiction writers and includes writing tips, as well as the fundamentals of craft.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. Another classic. For years, writing teachers have assigned The Elements of Style to their students. This book contains simple truths that every writer needs to know.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style. The bible. Technologies may change, but the need for clear and accurate communication never goes out of style. This is the definitive guide for anyone who works with words.

There are many other great books on writing, so if you have your own personal favorites, please share your recommendations in your comments. Thanks!

Two special offers from LitNuts:

  • For Booklovers: Subscribe (it’s free) to get a free e-book and be eligible to win a $100 Gift Card from Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Apple or Google.
  • For Authors: Get a free book promotion with LitNuts using discount code WOW! now through the end of 2020.

Kathleen Meyer
Mike O’Mary


For Readers

So, LitNuts brings you books of short stories, essays, or poetry that many other newsletters refuse to include (because collections don’t sell as well as novels). LitNuts also features new releases and award-winning books that other newsletters exclude because of price. (Many newsletters feature ONLY ebooks priced at $2.99 or less, which is fine – but not all great books are $2.99 or less!).

For authors, you’ll be happy to hear that LitNuts founders Mike O’Mary and Kathleen Meyer handled publishing and marketing for an indie press for more than 10 years. This is important because that means they understand the challenge of getting your books in front of readers. 

For Authors

LitNuts is an affordable vehicle that focuses on indie books and has engaged subscribers. Their goal is to help authors increase their book’s sales rank with online retailers, generate more reader reviews, and create positive word-of-mouth. 

Toward that end, they are building a subscriber base of booklovers who want to hear from indie presses. And we are focused on keeping things simple and flexible for authors. They offer a flat price of $25, so it’s simple. No tiered pricing or convoluted advertising offers to analyze.

At the same time, they give authors the flexibility to advertise short story, essay and poetry collections, to link to your website so book lovers can purchase directly from you, and to set the price of your e-book according to your needs.

About LitNut and owners Kathleen Meyer and her father, Mike O’Mary:

LitNuts is a woman-owned, family-run business founded by Kathleen Meyer and her father, Mike O’Mary, who share a love of literature and reading. Kathleen is an avid reader with 10 years of marketing experience, including with Dream of Things, a small press founded by Mike in 2009. During its 10 year history, Dream of Things published three New York Times Bestsellers, three winners of the Hoffer Award, and one book that has been optioned for a film. Kathleen and Mike drew upon their experience of publishing and marketing books on a shoestring budget to create LitNuts, in the hope of helping other indie presses achieve success. 

Authors and readers, visit to sign up for their newsletter, where you can hear about incredible books from indie publishers that you wouldn’t hear about anywhere else. 

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Great Books on Writing = Great Gifts (for Yourself and Others!) ~ guest post from LitNuts

  1. These are all excellent books and suggestions. There’s one more I’d add: THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler. It’s the most accessible book on dramatic structure in story I’ve ever read. If you couldn’t make it through Campbell’s HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, this book is for you.

    Thanks for a great post!

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