And by "my five best books of 2013," I want to put the emphasis on "my," because I actually wrote and/or edited five books in 2013! So below is my list. It's not really in any particular order, because I can't judge between my babies.
Solving the World's Problems (Press 53)
Okay, I'll start with this book, because it's my debut collection of poetry. After nearly 20 years of practicing the craft of poetry, I have a book. Hopefully, it won't take another couple decades for the next collection.
Why get it: First, it's a great read. I could cite the blurbs on the back cover, but here's a review on Pirene's Fountain that gets the book pretty well, and here's another on Savvy Verse & Wit that captures part of what I was aiming to accomplish.
Second, you can use the book to win a $500 remix challenge. That's right! I'm challenging poets (and non-poets) to take the poems in Solving the World's Problems and remix them in a free challenge. The remix that I like the best will get $500. Click here for the guidelines.
2014 Guide to Self-Publishing (Writer's Digest Books)
This book did not exist a year ago, and I pretty much put it together from scratch--using sources that were already available along with a lot of new material. In the end, I think it's a pretty great inaugural edition of an annual book that will only get better over time.
Why get it: Like other titles in the Market Books series, Guide to Self-Publishing contains market listings for various companies of interest. In this case, those listings are for self-publishing companies, editorial services, freelance designers, independent publicists, conferences, and professional organizations. That's useful information.
But even more useful are the nearly 200 pages of articles in the front of the book that cover a variety of self-publishing topics, including how to handle design and layout, three tools for producing great covers, why and how to hire a freelance editor, making the most of the money you earn, how to handle sales tax, whether to make your business an LLC, a 30-day platform challenge, blogging basics, advanced platform tips, and so much more.
2014 Writer's Market (Writer's Digest Books)
In it's 93rd annual edition, this book really doesn't need an introduction, but I'll give it one anyway--just in case. It's a big book of publishing opportunities with more thousands of listings for literary agents, book publishers, consumer magazines, trade journals, and contests and awards.
Why get it: For one, it's the best print resource for writers who want to learn more about the freelance writing business and start earning money as a freelance writer. In addition to all the market listings mentioned above, the 2014 Writer's Market includes articles on how to write the perfect pitch, how to land a six-figure book deal, how to find success in the magazine world, earning a full-time income from blogging, ghostwriting, how to use social media appropriately, and a whole lot more.
Every year, I set out to make the book better, and while they're never perfect, I do feel like they improve every year. This makes for my 14th edition as an editor on the book. That's a lot of improving, right?
2014 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition (Writer's Digest Books)
While the cover of this book looks different than the Writer's Market proper, the interior pages of the book are the same. So all that great stuff I said about the 2014 Writer's Market applies to this book as well. Except this book has a higher sticker price, and here's why...
Why get it: This book includes an insert with an activation code good for a one-year subscription to the WritersMarket.com website, which lists everything in the book and thousands more publishing opportunities. Plus, those listings are updated throughout the year, which means the website is more up-to-date than the book can possibly be--once it's in print, it's in print (until the next edition).
One more reason is that it includes little extras like a submission tracker and Market Watch, which is comprised of "near" daily updates for writers on changes and happenings in the publishing and media universe.
2014 Poet's Market (Writer's Digest Books)
So now I've brought us full circle to poetry. This marks my fifth edition as the editor of Poet's Market, and yes, I feel it's the latest and greatest edition of this book yet. And it's pretty cool that I can now claim to be an author of my own poetry collection (kind of like that old hair club for men commercial; "I'm not only an editor, I'm also a client").
Why get it: So you can have a poetry collection published like me, of course. Or find publications and journals to publish poems. Or find poetry contests. This book contains hundreds of poetry publishing opportunities--and a one-year subscription to the "poetry slice" of WritersMarket.com. That's a lot of great stuff, but wait... (wait for it) ...there's more!
For instance, articles on the business and promotion of poetry, as well as articles on the craft of poetry, including a long piece on various poetic forms. Plus, this edition contains all-new interviews with contemporary poets and more than a dozen previously unpublished contemporary poems.
In other words, it's some kind of wonderful.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community and a busy guy. Not only does he have a full plate as far as writing and editing books, he also maintains blogs, a newsletter, a column in Writer's Digest magazine, speaks nationally on publishing and poetry-related topics, and more. Plus, he has five kids, an amazing wife, and a never ending supply of laundry to fold. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
Check out more great Not Bob content here:
- Remixing the World's Problems Challenge. Free poetry challenge with a $500 prize!
- How to Build (or Improve) Your Writer Platform in 30 Days. Speaking of free challenges, this one has the intrinsic benefit of helping you improve your writer platform with daily exercises.
- You Look Like Your Mama Mated With a Rhino. Guest post by poet Nin Andrews.