Recommended Just for You

What books do agents and publishers recommend to aspiring writers? What novels are bestselling authors reading for inspiration? Writers Conferences are great places to find out. Earlier this month at the San Francisco Writers Conference I took special note of the books these industry professionals discussed and recommended. Most I hadn’t read, but many landed in my Amazon cart. Here’s a recap:



sinandsyntaxSIN AND SYNTAX and VEX, HEX, SMASH, SMOOCH by Constance Hall. This author spoke on several of the panels at the conference. Most memorable was her discussion about how to make your prose sparkle—a topic addressed in these books.

BLUEPRINT YOU BESTSELLER by Stuart Horwitz. Also a presenter at the conference, this author had great tips for the revision process. The Writer named the book one of 2013’s best books about writing.

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: AN EDITOR’S ADVICE TO WRITERS by Betsy Lerner. Recommended by literary agent Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank to help get your manuscript query-ready.



beautifulRuinsTHE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon. Recommended by debut novelist Helene Wecker for great setting description.

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES by Cormac McCarthy. Recommended by Constance Hale for its masterful sentence structure and rhythm.

PLAY IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD by Peter Matthiessen. Recommended by author Monte Schulz for its use of voice and dialogue.

WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy. Recommended by PEN/Hemingway award-winning author Yiyun Li for its brilliant characters. She likes it so well, she rereads it every year

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jesse Walter. New York Times bestselling author John Lescoart said this was the best book he read last year.



The Library of Congress and Baedeker’s Travel Guides for historical research.

Help A Reporter for publicity and platform building.

Publishers Marketplace for industry news.


If you were a presenter at a writers conference, what book would you recommend?


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