Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Job Search Central

Career Changers: I Want to be a Writer! How Do I Make it Happen?


The Pittsburg [sic] visible-writing machine., Digital ID 1541737, New York Public LibraryIf you're reading NYPL blogs because you're thinking about writing a novel or titillating nonfiction book, you're in good company. Many writers make the Library their temporary home as they research their subject and search for inspiration. A lot of my clients come in with questions about breaking into the glamorous world of writing whether it's writing children's books, blogging, writing memoirs, editorials, etc. Contrary to popular belief, I can't look at a person and detect his or her potential to become a published author. However, I can share a few resources that may be helpful to you as you consider this profession.

Check-it out!  The songwriter for Tangled uses NYPL as his office!  See, I told you that you're in good company.

For anyone who is just getting started—maybe you just know you enjoy creative activities in general and your friends say you have a way with words—the following books might be helpful to you:

Careers for Writers and Others Who Have a Way with Words

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

You're sure you want to write a book. Fabulous! Try one of these:

How to Write a Damn Good Novel  by James Frey (Frey has published two books on writing "damn good" novels, the original and the second are both recommended)

No Plot?  No Problem!  A Low Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

Refining your technique

20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them) by Ronald B. Tobias

45 Master Characters by Victoria Schmidt

Specific Markets and Genres

Children's books: check the catalog for books on writing for children available through NYPL.  Also consult the website for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI)

Mystery: Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by Lawrence Block, et al.  (Speaking of Lawrence Block, also check out his book Telling Lies for Fun & Profit.)

Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction: How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction by J.N. Williamson

Romance:  You Can Write a Romance by Rita Clay Estrada and Rita Gallagher

Getting Published

Writer's Market Guide to Literary Agents

Novel and Short Story Writer's Market

How to Get Happily Published by Judith Appelbaum

Other things to consider:  feedback is essential to improving your writing!  Try bouncing your ideas off other writers in a critique group.  You can search for writing groups on or try an online group like


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Post new comment