I receive an astonishing number of inquiries about what it’s like to be a writer, how to write fiction, how to break into the biz, and so on. Here are 16 handpicked books, two magazines, and five web sites that will get you off to a running start.
The Elements of Style
The most widely recommended book on usage and style. People who love English love this book.
The Chicago Manual of Style
The bible of the publishing industry. Invaluable for questions on spelling, punctuation, and just about anything else. Updated every dozen years or so, the latest edition should be kept within arm’s reach.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
A dictionary with unusually clear and direct definitions. Also contains: illustrations, thousands of phrases, notes on usage (both British and American), and statistics on frequency (for both spoken and written English).
Oxford English Dictionary
The ultimate English dictionary.
Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar
For the serious grammarian. Optional.
The Art of Fiction
The most widely recommended book for beginning fiction writers. Probably the best one, too.
Creating Short Fiction
Covers different topics in a different manner from the above book. Very useful.
On Writing Well
A book on writing nonfiction that will benefit fiction writers as well. In the vein of Strunk and White.
Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
A collection of essays that addresses the problems unique to writing science fiction and fantasy.
How Many People Can the Earth Support?
A book on global population that teaches you how to think about the future.
The Writer’s Legal Companion
Good information on contracts, copyright, taxes, agents, publishers, and more.
The Copyright Handbook
Copyright—what it is, how to register it, how to use it, how to protect it.
The New Hugo Winners, Vol. IV
Hugo-winning short stories, novelettes, and novellas. This is Volume IV. Volumes I-III are unfortunately out of print, but worth looking for. It helps to read the best, and these volumes are more exclusive than either the Dozois or Hartwell anthologies.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Over 1,300,000 words about the science fiction field. Awesome. The best.
Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia
A lavishly illustrated romp through the history of the genre.
Art has been integral to the science fiction field from the beginning. This oversized volume is bulging with lush images.
The dominant trade magazine for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. Everybody reads Locus.
Members of SFWA automatically receive the Bulletin, but you can also subscribe to it. Excellent articles in every issue.
Science Fiction Megasites
Science Fiction and Fantasy World
SuperSummary Science Fiction/Fantasy Resource Guide
The Next Two Worldcons
Chengdu in 2023
Glasgow in 2024