If you want to get good at something you have to work on it and always look to improve. I have read quite a few books on writing fiction and publishing. Here is a run-down of the ones that helped me the most:
Spunk & Bite
by Arthur Plotnik
For any amateur, this book is pure gold. Of any books on writing fiction that I have read, this one is the best. It is so good that I hesitate to tell you about it, because you will end up writing a book that will do better than mine. Spunk takes on so many pitfalls that a new writer will unwittingly fall into. I had to go back and re-edit my manuscript a couple of times while reading it.
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes
by Jack M. Bickham
This one is also indispensable. If you violate any of these 38, you may end up losing your reader. But I also found that some of the advice in these books will directly contradict each other. But at least if you are armed with the knowledge, you will know what the possible effects are and can choose which way to go.
Stephen King on Writing
by Stephen King
This book has an interesting biography in the front half of the book. But it is also there, I think to let you see if you have that inner writer in you. The second half of the book has the writing advice. Much of it agrees with Spunk & Bite, and I have chosen to incorporate the advice of that camp into my style. After all, you want to have fun writing, so your reader can have fun reading. You don’t want writing your novel to be as painful as doing a long page report on a boring subject in school.
Print-On-Demand Book Publishing
by Morris Rosenthal
This book spells out exactly what you are getting into if you decide to self-publish, or not to self-publish. Details about both paperback and e-books are included. After you read this, you will realize that it makes little sense any more to have any new book published by someone else. This indispensable book explains in detail what any new publisher would need to know about the publishing business. Make sure you get the most recent edition. Book publishing is changing really fast.
Self-Publish Your Novel Made Easy
by Richard N. Williams
Another Publishing book, loaded with illustration, that was very easy to read. You don’t need this one if you have the above listed book, but I really enjoyed it. If you want a second book on the topic, it might be a good choice, since it came out in 2014.