Sunday, February 11, 2018

Writers Study their Craft

One of the ways we can grow as a writer in the knowledge of our craft is to read how-to books. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have shelves of how-to write books, I continue to read books on the craft of writing. For years I've read at least one of these types of books every month. New how-to books continue to be created and published—and I learn something from each of them.

In fact, I'm on the lookout for notices about new how-to books and I enjoy reading them and writing reviews about the books. In this article, I want to highlight two new books that I've recently read and reviewed. I don't recall where I found out about these books but in each case, I looked the book on Amazon and noticed the book had one or no reviews. From my experience I know other readers are making buying decisions all the time based on these reviews. I know they are important to the author. Most authors are easy to find their website and contact information. I reached out to each of these two authors, Ann Byle and Carolyn Scheidies. I expressed my interest in reading and reviewing their book.

As a way to support other writers, I encourage you to take similar action. Reach out to these writers and offer to read their book if they will send you a review copy. Yes you get a book but this book comes with some responsibility: that you read the book and write your review.

First, CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING 101 by Ann Byle:

Journalist Ann Byle has compiled and edited a wide-ranging look at Christian Publishing from her years in this business.  As she explains in the opening pages of the book, “Most chapters are based on interviews I did with the professional or about his or her area of expertise.” The 45 chapters are broken into seven sections: Creating a Writing Life, The Craft of Writing, Exploring the Depths of Nonfiction, Discovering the Breath of Fiction, Writing for Children, Tweens, and Teens, Reaching Your Readers, and the Business of Writing. Each chapter includes an “Assignments” section with a series of questions for the reader to dig deeper into that particular topic. Some chapters include sidebars with additional resources and insight.

For a couple of the chapters, Byle writes from her detailed experience in the Christian market such as Chapter 16 Contents Is King: Article Writing for Magazines, Websites, and More or Chapter 42 Book Proposals: Whys and Hows of Creating a Great Overview of Your Book.

For almost any area of the field, reading CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING 101 will give you the basics and insights you need to start in this area.  Byle has compiled a book of experts in each area that the book explores for example: Jerry B. Jenkins, Nancy Rue, Bill Myers, or James Scott Bell. Many will want to read this book over and over as a valuable resource. I highly recommend it.


Whenever I learn from another writer or editor, I want to learn from someone with experience in what they are teaching. Carolyn Scheidies is just such a person. In ESPECIALLY FOR THE CHRISTIAN WRITER, Scheidies teaches about writing letters to the editor, queries to magazines, articles, news releases and much more. You will gain insights for your own writing as you study the pages of this well-written book.

In the opening pages, Scheidies gives critical information saying, “Want to get published? Then you need three things in great abundance: passion, persistence and patience. Without these, you will never persevere as a published writer. If you don’t care about your subject, how will you make your reader care? And if you give up, you’ll never know how far you could have gone.” (Page 10)

ESPECIALLY FOR THE CHRISTIAN WRITER is full of practical insights for every writers.  I recommend this book.

I hope you will check out these two books about the craft of writing and they will help your writing life. Do you regularly read books about the craft of writing? Let me know in the comments below. 


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