...it means I have some serious respect for the author(s)/editor(s).
Which brings me to this guy. Have I read anything by Mr. Parnell? Um, hell-no (except for his b.s. laden website). Bestselling? Right.
The word "easy" doesn't belong to any book about writing (or becoming rich, for that matter). Nothing about writing is "easy", except maybe taking money from poor schmucks who want like anything to be published--those who want it so bad, they'll make the mistake of coughing up dough to a charlatan.
Makes me sick.
So here are my suggestions for free resources and a few proven "how to write" books. If you've been around my blog, you'll have seen most of these before. (Remember, I'm just some schmo with a few short fiction sales and plenty of rejection slips, but I'm honest):
1. Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight
Can't afford Clarion? (I know I can't.) Knight was a co-founder and the book is one of the few out there about crafting short fiction. I've mentioned this book before and return to it frequently.
2. J.A. Konrath has a great blog titled A Newbie's Guide to Publishing filled with fantastic advice and insights, including a wealth of marketing tips.
3. Alexandra Sokoloff shares piles of plotting, character, editing, etc. ideas and insight at her blog. Granted, the subtitle is "screenwriting tricks for writers", but the content could really help anyone in any fictional endeavor.
4. On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the HWA edited by Mort Castle
This book is more of a compilation of essays, and as such, is a little hit and miss. But with names like Joyce Carol Oates, Ramsey Campbell, Michael A. Arnzen, Jack Ketchum, Tom Piccirilli, and a host of others writing the essays, there are plenty of helpful gems.
5. Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School (Gotham Writers' Workshop)
Once upon a time, I had more "literary" ambitions. This book is dense and helpful, especially if you have the want to write but none of the how.
6. Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style by Arthur Plotnik
I'll admit, everyone needs a good style guide. Be bold. Throttle your writing until it suffocates and rises as something interesting. I don't utilize this book enough.
7. The internet (yep, the whole thing). Not too much though. Let it be your friend, but not your only friend. And know when to shut down and write.
I've bought books that didn't deliver. In the interest of keeping this positive, I'll save that list for a later date.
I'm sure I've missed tons of great resources, but I use these most. What else is out there? How can we help newbies avoid the snares of "Easy" guides that promise $$$?
Well-paid authors work hard. So do most of us just starting out.