Here’s a list of books we highly recommend for those of you that are just like us: artists and writers that are hoping to find a way to make a living off of making stories. I can’t stress enough just how much these books have helped us improve our storytelling skills, as well as our business sense.

DISCLOSURE: This page contains Amazon affiliate links. Simply put, when you click on any link, and decide to purchase one of these books, we get a commission out of that purchase (at no additional cost), a commission that will help a great deal in supporting our work here. So for anyone choosing to buy something from here, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and we hope that we can continue to help you along your journey to independent publishing success. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Books on the Craft of Storytelling & Making Comics


Invisible Ink
By Brian McDonald

(check out my notes and highlights)
Perhaps the best, and yet the simplest, book on telling stories. With Brian McDonald being someone that teaches storytelling to the guys over at Pixar, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get this book. It’s short, simple, and yet paradoxically profound in its study of the way stories work and how they touch their audience.


The Golden Theme
By Brian McDonald

(Buy it on Amazon)
Another book by the great Brian McDonald, The Golden Theme explores what makes a story resonate with its audience. How do you get your story and your characters to remain in their heads and touch their lives. This book is a masterpiece, if you ask me, and it’s given me a brand new perspective of our role as storytellers.


Outlining Your Novel
By K.M. Weiland

(Buy it on Amazon)
Some writers are pantsers and some are outliners. Personally, I have found more ease in my writing once I started outlining. This book is what further convinced me to go down the path of an outliner. Having a plan, after all, is like having a map at hand. You can’t get lost if you have a guide to show you which road to take.


Structuring Your Novel
By K.M. Weiland

(Buy it on Amazon)
Structure is vitally important when it comes to effective storytelling. There are reasons why certain scenes should come before others. The way you structure your story directly affect how your audience will experience it. Short yet very enlightening, this is a book to introduce you to the basics of story structure.


Techniques of the Selling Writer
By Dwight V. Swain

(Buy it on Amazon)
I would call this the direct companion to Brian McDonald’s books. Dwight Swain talks a lot about how you can structure your story in such a way that you can capture the minds and imaginations of your audience right from the start. This and Invisible Ink compliment one another (though this  book is more focused on prose writing, it still helps)


Save the Cat
By Blake Snyder

(Buy it on Amazon)
The thing I like most about Save the Cat is the way that Blake Snyder teaches story structure. He has some pretty good suggestions of how to arrange the events in your story (although I don’t really like that he mapped it out in specific page numbers). I’d take his advice with a grain of salt. Brian McDonald has better advice, if you were to ask me personally.


Understanding Comics
By Scott McCloud

(Buy it on Amazon)
If you’re planning on making comics and haven’t read this yet, then this is an absolute must. No book is better equipped to teach you about the fundamentals of comic books that Understanding Comics. Because once you have the basic understanding of how comics function, trust me, you’ll be able to make better comic books.


Making Comics
By Scott McCloud

(Buy it on Amazon)
A great companion to his previous book, Making Comics contains a bit of the content that you find in Understanding Comics, but written specifically for artists and illustrators. Some of the stuff here was already mentioned in his previous book, but the other stuff that isn’t is just as valuable. Best to just have both of them in your library.


The Writer’s Journey
By Christopher Vogler

(Buy it on Amazon)
In Invisible Ink, Brian McDonald talks a bit about Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, and how that form of storytelling was-and still is-valuable for readers and viewers of today. The Writer’s Journey, then, is perhaps the easiest way to obtain the basic tenants of the Hero’s Journey, and how to pattern your story after it.


Perspective for Comic Book Artists
By David Chelsea

(Buy it on Amazon)
Practically everything you need to know about drawing perspective, David Chelsea’s book is pretty detailed and comprehensive. Anyone struggling with perspective can find solace and refuge after reading this book. It’s an absolute essential part of your library.


Comic Book Lettering
the Comic Craft Way

(Buy it on Amazon)
When we started, our lettering was so bad that we needed help. This book was just the help we needed. It holds the basics of lettering, and how to make your lettering as clean and professional-looking as possible. Whether you’re beginning your career, or have published a few books already, this book is a great refresher.


Comics & Sequential Art
By Will Eisner

(Buy it on Amazon)
Who better to learn the medium from than the legendary Will Eisner? If you’re not yet familiar with his work, then this is the perfect book to see just how Eisner shaped the comics industry, and how he continues to influence it through his style and philosophy.

Books on Business & Self-Publishing


By Guy Kawasaki

(Buy it on Amazon)
Everything you need to know about self-publishing from where to find editors, where to format your ebook, and what other services are available for you as a self-publisher. It’s incredibly comprehensive, and tackles practically every topic you could think of if you’re going the self-publishing route.


Write. Publish. Repeat.
By Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright

(Buy it on Amazon)
The great thing about these guys is that they are regular guys, like you and me. But they’re also full-time writers, LITERALLY. They’re making a decent living (and by that, I mean that they no longer have to worry about paying the bills every month) off of self-publishing their books. This book is their testimony of how they did, and what strategies they applied to get to where they’re at right now. So if you’re wondering HOW you can make money self-publishing, these are the guys I’d point you to. Their business formula is one that I think is ingenious. Although it requires you to be a workhorse–hence the title: Write. Publish. Repeat.


Purple Cow
By Seth Godin

(Buy it on Amazon)
Perhaps my favorite author and speaker when it comes to marketing and business. Seth Godin’s advice here is that you simply find a way to stand out amidst the rest of the crowd, and that being remarkable is what will ultimately make your business (whatever industry you find yourself in) thrive. This is THE very basic book to read if you want to figure out how to market your art and your stories.


Free Prize Inside
By Seth Godin

(Buy it on Amazon)
A companion to Purple Cow, this book helps teach you exactly how to stand out in your industry. He has a checklist complete with testimonies and mountains of case studies that help support his case. If you weren’t convince by his case studies in Purple Cow about how being remarkable is good for business, you probably will be after reading this book.


FREE: The Future of a Radical Price
By Chris Anderson

(Buy it on Amazon)
Recently, there’s been a HUGE divide on whether you should give away your work for free on the internet (as webcomics, free books, etc). This book, by a former editor of WIRED magazine, helped me a lot by teaching me that being generous is perhaps the best way for you to build an audience. How does giving away stuff for free grow your business? What goes on in the brains of freeloaders that pirate your books? How can you best deal with them? Those are just some of the answers you’ll be able to find in this treasure of a book.


Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out
By Marc Ecko

(Buy it on Amazon)
I love this book for its complete honesty. Here, Marc Ecko tells his tale of success, as well as his stories of failure. You get to see first hand what he did to make his brand successful, and what he did to screw it up. It’s a life lesson, complete. Best of all, I love that he says you can sell your products without being seen as a sell out.


Think and Grow Rich
By Napoleon Hill

(Buy it on Amazon)
Success begins in the mind. That’s because you have to have incredible doses of faith and hope for you to be able to continue building your dreams-despite all the challenges and hardships that confront you. Think and Grow Rich is the perfect book to keep you motivated towards achieving your dreams.


The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
By Stephen R. Covey

(Buy it on Amazon)
If you’re wondering how you can get your work done faster, this book is something I highly recommend. It’s not just about productivity, it’s also about leading a team. So, of course, if you’re planning on building a brand or business, you’re likely to have partners working with you. This book basically tells you all you need to know about how to manage your team and empower them.


Awaken the Giant Within
By Anthony Robbins

(Buy it on Amazon)
Most of you probably already know who Tony Robbins is. Like Think and Grow Rich, this book is what has helped us stay focused and on track towards building our dream. If you find your faith in you dreams challenged, Tony Robbins gives some incredibly powerful tips on how to stay motivated.


Books to Help Keep You Motivated


The War of Art
By Steven Pressfield

(Buy it on Amazon)
If the previous books weren’t enough for you, then maybe this will help. The premise of The War of Art is that the creation of art is something that is challenge by what Pressfield calls, The Resistance. It’s the external force that prevents us from pursuing our art, and helps us come up with excuses not to finish. I believe this book is absolutely essential for anyone that considers themselves an artist.


Do the Work
By Steven Pressfield

(Buy it on Amazon)
A companion to The War of Art, this book is a practically step-by-step guide on how to finally defeat and conquer The Resistance. I try to read it as often as possible just because this manifesto can really amp you up into actually doing the work you were set on this earth to do: that is, create your art.


Letters to a Young Poet
By Rainer Maria Rilke

(Buy it on Amazon)
What could be more comforting than an established poet giving you personal advice on how to pursue and succeed in creating your art. Incredibly personal, wise, and profound in his advice, Rainer Maria Rilke’s work is just a joy to read.

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