Every writer knows that reading is essential to good writing. Here are six books that all writers should have on their bookshelves for reference. If you don’t have them all, get them today.
For every freelance writer or write who dreams of getting published one day, The Writer’s Market is an invaluable resource. Every year a new edition of The Writer’s Market is published, and it contains information about almost every single publication that take submissions. Detailed information is given regarding what that publication pays, what type of work it accepts, how to submit, and more. Submissions are organized by genre, and the book also contains helpful information and advice on writing query letters and following up with your submissions.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is a classic book that’s been popular with writers, professors, and editors for decades. It’s a timeless book that gives concise, easy-to-understand advice on writing style and guidelines that work for improving the work of all types of writers. While “style” certainly varies from writer to writer, the “elements of style” in this book are simple rules that work for everyone and truly make for better writing, no matter the genre or personal style of a writer.
A dictionary is essential for all writers, and The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a solid choice. There are many different dictionary publications, and it really doesn’t matter which one you choose, so long as you have one. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has been trusted for centuries, and it’s updated every year to reflect changes or new word entries.
Another bookshelf staple is a thesaurus, and The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus is a popular choice. Once again, there are many different thesaurus publications to choose from; it’s just important that you have one. The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus contains more than 150,000 synonyms and antonyms, and it includes example sentences and brief definitions.
For journalists, The AP Stylebook is a must-have reference tool. All news writers can benefit from this book that helps to clear up just about all of the word usage questions you could ever have. The AP Stylebook contains incredibly useful information and rules on spelling, capitalization, punctuation, proper nouns, number usage, and much more. It’s updated every year to reflect any changes, and the dictionary-style layout makes it easy for you to look up the answer to any question you have while writing.
The Chicago Manual of Style is a book just like The AP Stylebook, but it is intended more for book authors and editors. It contains many more rules and guidelines, so it’s a helpful reference to supplement The AP Stylebook for journalists, too. It’s updated every year, and while there are some conflicts with rules in The AP Stylebook, this is the go-to reference for authors.
Author Byline: Jacob Smith is a teacher and freelance writer. He enjoys writing and is currently involved is a writing project for nanowrimo.