Reading Right Now

Libraries and bookstores around the world rely on your patronage during these tough times. If you can, support the book lovers in your community by buying or borrowing local. If that’s not an option for you, delve into that TBR and finally trim down the stack on your nightstand. Not only will reading recharge your writing juices, it will also provide a great escape from some of the darker parts of our day-to-day lives.

If you plan to spend your reading time improving your craft, here are a few resources to help you in your writing journey.


1. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary


2. The Chicago Manual of Style


3. Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style


4. The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner


5. Editors on Editing by Gerald C. Gross


6. The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller


7. On Writing Well by William Zinsser


8. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark


9. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


10. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard


11. Soul at the White Heat by Joyce Carol Oates


12. Stephen King On Writing by Stephen King


13. Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times


14. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg


15. 300 Writing Prompts



A premier publishing services firm

Independent Publisher on Instagram


7 Things Writers Should Do in May

With COVID-19 still disrupting our daily lives, many of us have found ourselves with extra time on our hands, whether that’s because we’re working from home or we’re not working as much…or at all. Even folks who are busier than ever still need a mental escape from the pressure of working in a pandemic. That’s why I've compiled seven ways to use your time toward improving your writing, engaging with authors, and otherwise getting involved in the bookish world.


1. Rewatch the Everywhere Book Festival

The Everywhere Book Festival, a virtual gathering of more than 50 children’s book writers and illustrators, took place May 1–2. If you missed it, never fear! You can go back and watch the festival line-up from the comfort of your PJs. Hear from authors like Gene Luen Yang, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, and more!


2. Connect with a New Critique Partner

For those of us with some spare time on our hands, now is the perfect opportunity to make virtual connections. Reach out to a fellow writing friend and offer to swap manuscripts. For tips on being a great critique partner, check out this article from Independent Publisher.


3. Take a MasterClass

Find a buddy and split a MasterClass subscription: for just $90 each, you have access to dozens of amazing classes. Not all are book related, of course, but they do have classes from rock star authors like Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, David Sedaris, and Judy Blume.


4. Check Out These Events

Bookbub has compiled a fantastic list of virtual events taking place this May. From author events to virtual festivals to writing conferences, your schedule will be chock full of books. (Note: some events are free while others have registration or ticket fees.)


5. Tune In for a Live Reading

So many authors are taking to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms to share their stories. Celebrities like Josh Gad and Michelle Obama are also reading some of their favorite picture books for the little ones. Stay in the loop with your favorite authors on social media and look forward to readings or even interactive chats.


6. Participate in #PitDark

On May 21, sign onto Twitter and get ready to participate in #PitDark, the first and only Twitter pitch event to highlight literature of a “darker” nature. According to their website, middle grade through adult manuscripts are welcome in genres like horror, dark fantasy, murder mysteries, psychological horror stories, non-fiction works about darker subjects, etc.


7. Get Out and Smell the Roses…Literally!

The creative process can be inspired by nature. We’ve all been cooped up far more than usual, so grab your facemask and head outside for a walk in the woods. Look for inspiration in the green and blooming world around you…and be sure to practice safe social distancing!


* * * * *

Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She loves reading and writing but not arithmetic. Follow her on Twitter at @LillianJaine or on her blog at