Oscar Wilde once said that, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
There’s a lot of truth in that statement, and I do strenuously believe that we must experience blogging ourselves, try and fail and develop our own frameworks and strategies, but at the same time we must understand that someone else’s rules can also help us on our journey.
There are no maps to guide us, but some of these books may point you in the right direction.
Here is a compilation of 25 books about writing well, marketing, and building an audience.
The first step to being a proper blogger is writing damn good articles on a consistent basis. The following books will help you become a better writer.
William Strunk, E.B. White – The Elements of Style
Perhaps the most popular guidebook for writing well, The Elements of Style provides you with a detailed framework when it comes to composition and grammar.
Technically a style guide, this little book is still just as relevant today, as we share our words within the confines of an online community, as it was a century ago .
If you want to write that perfect sentence, to make it so that no clumsiness can affect your story, this is the perfect book for you.
Stephen King — On Writing
“This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit. Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do — not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less the bullshit.”Stephen King
Part memoir, part guide for aspiring writers, The King is extremely honest in this book of his. He offers some advice on the techniques of writing, but he also underlines the importance of determination and perseverance.
The tools required to write great fiction can’t be borrowed or bought — they have to be acquired through hard work.
Anne Lamott — Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott’s guide on writing is extremely helpful for the struggling writer — the biggest lesson she teaches in her book is that sometimes we fail to write the book we set to write, and often we fail to see the difference between what’s in our head and what’s on paper. Bird by Bird is an honest, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, account of Anne Lammott’s own career.
A must read for any aspiring content creator.
Ray Bradbury — Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity
Ray Bradbury’s legacy is far greater than just the dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451. From reading his novels and short stories I got the impression that, of all the wonderful writers in the world, he loved reading books more than anyone else on the planet. He loved writing them too, no doubt about it, but to me Fahrenheit 451 stands as the ultimate proclamation of love.
Zen in the Art of Writing is a collection of essays and articles on the art of writing from one of the most prolific and successful writers of our time.
John Steinbeck — Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters
I strongly believe that, as content creators, we must understand how the creative muscle works. And, in many regards, bloggers use the same parts of the brain as, let’s say, a novelist… or any other artist.
Written between January, 29 and October 31, 1951, Journal of a Novel is comprised of a series of letters written by the great novelist to his friend and editor, Pascal Covici. They offer valuable insight into the creative process of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
They weren’t meant for publication, and maybe that’s why this book is my favorite from this list — great artists are rarely perceived as simple men and not some machines that churn out one brilliant novel after another.
Mario Vargas Llosa — Letters to a Young Novelist
Novel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa dissects many of the world’s best stories in a an attempt to help young writers better understand their urge to write. It’s, in a way, the exact opposite of Stephen King’s On Writing.
It’s not as much a visceral approach on writing, as it is a sentimental one, in which writing is viewed as the almost obsessive passion that it is. It’s not a guide on writing, it’s a guide on how to understand great literature and those who write it.
William Zinsser – On Writing Well
On Writing Well is a clear and concise guide and a must-read for anyone who wants to learn how to write well.
With more than a million copies sold, this guide offers a plethora of resources and frameworks you can deploy, regardless of the niche you’re writing in.
The following books are specifically tailored to bloggers, and they discuss topics that help online content creators take advantage and target online readers.
Cristian Mihai – The Art of Blogging
Okay, a bit of self-promotion here, but this is a great book if you’re just starting out and what to get a clear grasp of the basics of blogging.
The best part? This book is 100% free.
Dr. Andy Williams – WordPress for Beginners 2021
If you blog on WordPress, this is one of the most useful tools you can have in your arsenal. WordPress for Beginners provides you with a visual step-by-step guide to blogging on WordPress.
If you’re just starting out, this book will help you start your blogging journey the right way.
Meera Kothand – The One Hour Content Plan
This book starts with a big and bold promise, but, oh boy, does it deliver.
If you’re struggling with consistently producing content, you’ve got to check it out.
Sally Miller – The Essential Habits Of 6-Figure Bloggers
If you’re a fan of learning by reading about other people’s experiences, then this is hands-down the book for you.
Sally Miller interviewed 17 of the most popular bloggers, so you can take your blog to the stratosphere.
Cristian Mihai – The Definitive Guide to Blog Niches
Another one by yours truly.
The Definitive Guide to Blog Niches is the easiest to follow step-by-step blueprint for figuring out the perfect niche for your blog.
To do this, we deploy three different concepts: ikigai, kaizen, and shoshin.
Ann Handley – Everybody Writes
As its description states, Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is your go-to guide to writing ridiculously good content.
Specifically tailored to online publishers, this is a must-read for anyone who’s serious about the content they share on the web.
Ian Pribyl – From Nothing
The subtitle of this book says it all: Everything You Need to Profit from Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Online Business, e-Commerce and More.
Indeed, it’s ambitious in the variety of topics it tackles, but at the same time provides you with a valid framework you can use to build a blog, monetize it, and get a sense of what it means to be an online entrepreneur.
The following books are some of the best on the topics of marketing and digital branding. If you want to grow your audience, start by reading these books.
Aaron Agius – Faster, Smarter, Louder
Let’s be honest.
The digital revolution made it possible for almost anyone to publish online. And with so many people demanding attention, the blogosphere often feels overcrowded and oversaturated.
This book is a must-read if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Seth Godin – Purple Cow
Never mind the title of this book. Purple Cow is a brilliant read.
In fact everything ever written by Seth Godin will help you better market your blog, yourself as a brand, and focus on the things that truly make you remarkable in the eyes of readers and potential customers.
Daniel Anderson – Storytelling
Don’t let the title fool you. Storytelling is a marketing book. A damn good one.
If you’ve been struggling to build a brand or grow your blog via social media marketing, Storytelling has at least a few valuable tips to help you out.
Meera Kothand – 300 Email Marketing Tips
Email marketing is here to stay, and what better way to understand email marketing than by reading this incredibly useful book by Meera Kothand?
Mark Hayes – The Growth Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Telling you that this book is amazing would be an understatement. Even calling it “the ultimate compendium of growth hacks for the modern digital marketer” feels like an understatement.
The Growh Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy is packed full of valuable information, case studies, and strategies you can deploy in your own marketing efforts.
If you’re at least a bit curious about growth hacking, you’ve got to read this book.
Joe Pulizzi – Epic Content Marketing
This is one epic book that will surely help you rise above all the digital noise. It provides you with a step by step plan to creating content that truly resonates with people, so you can stand out from the crowd.
Highly recommend it.
Mindset matters. A lot. And it’s one of the most underrated aspects of blogging.
How can you consistently show up at your desk and punch those damn keys if you’re mind isn’t in the right place?
That’s why I’m sharing with you some of the books that have helped me develop the proper mindset for blogging success.
Cal Newport – Deep Work
No matter our goals, or our skills, or even the niche we operate in, clarity of focus is a prerequisite for success.
Deep Work will surprise you with the information it shares, and it does show with quite a bit of flair.
A must-read if you’re struggling to focus and do the work that is required.
James Clear – Atomic Habits
This one’s a classic, but I’ve had to add it to the list, just in case you haven’t read it or need an extra-push to finally give it a go.
Because, let’s be honest, we can’t reach our goals unless we develop the habits that are required, and it often feels like such an impossible journey.
If you’re struggling to develop habits around your blogging, this is the right book for you.
Stuart Brown – Play
I’d describe Play as one of the best books to help you reframe creativity as… well… play.
It’s a handy book to go through whenever you feel stuck, or whenever you don’t feel like writing an article.
The creatively bankrupt, more often than not, are struggling because they take everything too seriously. Creativity is fun, and that’s how we should view it.
Highly recommend this one.
Tom Kelley – Creative Confidence
Written by the founders of IDEO and Stanford Design school, Creative Confidence is an exploration into the most effective ways to be creative, while also sharing advice on how to fight notorious side-effects of being creative such as perfectionism and self-criticism.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow
Last but certainly not least, one of my favorite books ever on mindset and productivity.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s investigations of the so-called flow state will inspire and educate you on what it really means to be so involved in what you are doing that time seems to stop.
These are just some of the books I consider to be “mandatory reading” for bloggers. For more books, you can check out our toolbox here.
But do let me know… which ones have you read? Which books should be on this list? Recommend, recommend, recommend…
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