Danielle’s 2015 Must Read Books for Non-Fiction Authors

Last year’s Must Read Books focused on helping authors understand how to make an impact with their message. This year’s titles focus more on the business behind becoming an author.

These five titles will help you develop a vision for how you can shape the impact your book’s message will create and how to manage it as a savvy business professional.

It wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to five, but I made it happen and here are my picks for the year fresh off my bookshelf:

2015 Must Read Books for Non-Fiction Authors

 1. “Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Non-Fiction and Get It Published” by Susan Rabiner & Alfred Fortunato

"Thinking Like Your Editor" by Susan Rabiner  and Alfred Fortunato

The number one thing I love about this book is that the two literary agents who wrote it clearly explain how traditional publishing companies analyze a book before they choose whether to publish it. Writing is a creative form of expression, but publishing is about business. These literary agents do a great job of introducing authors to the business side of publishing while presenting practical tips on how to pitch their books to traditional publishers. Even self-publishing authors can benefit by reading this book because their success as independent publishers depends on their ability to adopt the mindset of a literary investor.

2. “Business Tips and Taxes for Writers” by Carol Topp, CPA

"Business Tips and Taxes for Writers" by Carol Topp, CPA

I have referenced Carol Topp several times in this blog over the past year, so it should not come as a surprise that her book made this year’s list. Her book is well-organized and does a great job of breaking down IRS and accounting jargon down into easy to understand language for everyday people like you and me. Use her tips to avoid making common author mistakes that can cost you money down the road, and use her strategies to help you claim all the business deductions you the tax code allows.

3. “Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author” by Chuck Sambuchino


Sambuchino’s book clearly articulates what an author platform is, why you need one, what the different components of an author platform tend to include and presents a series of case studies that show what successful author platforms look like for inspiration. This is the kind of book that will open your mind to the possibilities of how you can make an impact on your readers without limiting their experience to the pages of your book.

4. “Your First 1000 Copies: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book” by Tim Grahl or “Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling” by Michael Port


If your book is an independent project, then I recommend reading Tim Grahl’s “Your First 1000 Copies” to learn tried-and-proven strategies for automating your book sales.

If your book is related to a service-based business-like your career as a wpid-20150211_150533.jpgRealtor, massage therapist, life coach, consultant or even as a minister-then I recommend reading Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid” so that you can learn a tried-and-proven strategy for incorporating your book into your overall outreach and service strategy.

The two strategies are very similar, but Port’s book gives in-depth insight into building a business model that not only sells books but sells services too.

5. “Sales Dogs: You Do Not Have to Be an Attack Dog to Be Successful in Sales” by Blair Singer

"Sales Dogs: You Do Not Have to Be an Attack Dog to Be Successful In Sales" by Blair SingerBlair Singer is the go-to guy when it comes to learning how to become effective at sales, and every successful author needs to be comfortable with sales.

What I appreciate about his message is that he introduces different sales personality types and offers recommendations for how to become a great sales person based on your personality and tips for what you should learn to improve.

For example, I am a mixture of a Chihuahua and a Golden Retriever sales personalities. The Chihuahua side of me loves to do research for my authors and present them with all the information they need before they decide to buy. The Golden Retriever side of me loves to go out of my way to serve people and build a relationship with them, and over time this relationship can produce a sale.

Read the book to find out what your personality type is, which pitfalls to watch out for and how you can use what you naturally offer to sell your book on your own terms.

Final Thoughts

As Michael Port says in “Book Yourself Solid,” readers are leaders. It should not come as a surprise that some of the best information available about how to plan, write, publish and sell your book are inside the pages of existing books. If you only have time to read a few books this year, I highly recommend that these five titles are on your list.

Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think about them as you read each book.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Danielle Fetherson

Danielle helps aspiring authors become published authors. She believes that everyone has at least one book on the inside of them that can make a positive impact on someone else's life. If you have been thinking about writing a book, learn how to start your book today with the free resources at DanielleFetherson.com.