"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", wrote Oscar Wilde.
Disclaimer: I totally don't reckon you should imitate. Copying is a crime. Plagiarism is cause for exclusion.
And if Oscar Wilde was around today, his words might come off something like...
Imitation is uncool, guys
However, big readers make great writers because they are learning their craft as they go.
Something I see a lot in my niche is everybody starting to sound the same. Buzzwords everywhere. The internet makes words catch on quicker than ever. Soon, the range of expression becomes limited. Our pool of words shrinks.
And when we're talking about the same ideas, we can't afford for that to happen, because we end up with writing that is too close to what's already out there.
If we spend too much time hanging out only in 'like-minded' circles, it becomes harder to be original.
The Clone Coach. The Bog-Standard Business Guru. The Meh Marketer.
Who knew I was so adept at business naming?
Austin Kleon in his book Steal Like An Artist - and yes, it's on the list - talks about how emulating one other artist is copying, while having broad interests in art allows you to have wide influences and apply bits of techniques, ideas, inspiration, styles of each, eventually leading to a style of your own.
This is learning.
This is not copying.
This is stealing like an artist.
I suggest you do the same for your book.
Make sure you're not reading just two or three favourite websites or obvious bestsellers in your niche. Read books on various topics from a cross-section of authors, even those you turn out to dislike.
Learn what goes into a book, what kind of structure speaks to you, and the writing styles that you like best, and those you hate.
In other words...
Steal like an author
Here's my suggested must-read list for first-time author-entrepreneurs.
There's a mixture of topics, from creativity to productivity, money to marketing.
There's also a range of styles, from all-encompassing authoritative guides to conversational workbooks, collections of short essays to in-depth training materials with a splash of memoir.
Learn your craft from the best and absorb the most useful business info out there as you go. (No small bonus there!)
Grab your copy of my Top 50 Business Books That Every First-Time Author Should Know.
And if you prefer not to opt in for the PDF, go straight to this post with all the direct Amazon links.
Ahhhh, don't you just love it when work equals research, and research equals curling up with a book?
Note: The principal purpose of sharing these books is to learn what you do and do not like about them. They represent examples of how you could write a business, marketing, creativity, leadership, productivity, success or finance book. By creating this list, I do not suggest the business advice in these books will work for your business and I don't recommend them here for that reason. These are my top suggestions, and 'top 50' is not reflective of sales.