I have been creating content for almost 12 years now. It all started when I uploaded my first ever phone case review on YouTube and now fast forward to 2021, I am doing it for myself full-time and slowly attempting to build my own media company while I do so.
Creating content is a roller coaster, and very much a learning curve for newcomers and veterans. I have had YouTube channels hacked and deleted permanently, I have had videos which have hit millions of views and I have made videos that are so terrible, I have removed them from every platform possible.
Content creation is about trial and error, and I’ll be honest, I still haven’t mastered it to this day. Algorithms are changing every couple of months, new social media networks are popping up yearly and scams are more prominent than ever.
So what’s the best way to get good at content creation and what are the best books for content creators that you can read in your spare time to give you a more informed way of producing your next meme, your next video and so on?
Below are 5 of the best books for content creators that I have read over the years which have given me a fresh insight into creating content as a business. Some of these books target content creators directly and some of them are aimed towards those creating online businesses through content production.
But I promise you, each one is worth a read, and all of these books should be on your Amazon wish list for the coming months, you’ll thank yourself for it.
Pat Flynn’s Superfans book sits high on my best books for content creators list because I am very much following his footsteps in terms of what Patt has done and is somewhat doing with his business. He caught my attention many years ago because of his honesty, and transparency when it came to showing how much his business earns and what he was doing.
He’s one of the many people that has motivated me to create this blog, start a YouTube channel and document what I am trying to build at Salt Media, so I just had to pick up his book when it launched.
Superfans cements that fact that you don’t need millions of followers to make a living doing what you love, in fact he thinks the opposite. You only need a few hundred followers that are truly passionate about what you do, and will do and buy anything you say.
Sounds mad, right? Well it is. For example, if you were a blogger, or an influencer who had 1,000 subscribers, but those 1,000 would watch everything you post, and buy every product you recommend then you would have a very successful community which you could monetise.
For example, at Retro Dodo I have built a community that trust our product reviews. They look forward to our opinions on upcoming handhelds, and when we post a product that we like and highly recommend, we add a link to Amazon or AliExpress which earns us 3 – 7% commission and many of our community members help support us through that link.
I am not saying Retro Dodo has 1,000 members that buy through that link immediately, but if we are earning $3 per handheld we sale, and 100 community members end up buying it, we have then earned $300 in affiliate commission. Now imagine if you had 1,000 passionate superfans, that’s $3,000.
And that’s exactly what Pat Flynn talks about in the book, its not about a large number of fans, it’s all about a small number of superfans.
This is by far the best book for content creators, and we can’t recommend it enough. Followers are nothing if they aren’t a fan of what you do.
I’ll be honest, I only found out about Austin Kleon a few months ago, and have already read 2 out of 3 of his creative books, both of which feature in this article and both which are incredibly motivating.
His best has to be Show Your Work, it’s a small book which is perfect for flicking through and not having to sit down for hours on end to consume. I finished it in just two sittings it’s that small.
The book is designed for you to just open when you’re demotivated or flustered, read a few pages and then put it back down to begin work again.
This specific book actually motivated me to create this blog, and to start working on my personal YouTube channel in the coming months. It teaches you to quite literally, show your work and to not worry about what others think, because eventually showing your work will bring you a lot of good luck.
And by good luck Austin means potential new clients, experiences, advice from people in your field and it simply opens up your net to more possibilities.
One section which really stuck with me in the book is about showing your work even if you’re not good at it. Many think to be able to create content, or document your “success” you have to be the best at it, when in reality, many should document their journey showing their community that they are learning as they go.
I’ve always thought of this, because I would love to see someone blog or make videos who are in my shoes building websites, creating communities or trying to build a company, but nobody is doing it. There’s the odd “expert” that tweets, and creates blog posts, but they’ve already made their media company, or created a website of millions of views, yet what I am looking for is someone who is documenting their journey while in the trenches.
This is when you can really learn from people. Imagine if Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk documented their journeys, how incredible would that be? Then think of that in a more micro level within your industry. Perhaps someone documenting their journey becoming a Sales Manger in their company or someone who is creating pieces of art on Etsy etc.
That’s what many want to see, not blog post from millionaires who have done it, rather the electrician whos starting their business, and documenting it along the road.
That’s exactly what Austin Kleon’s Show Your Book book wants you to do. It’s worth a pickup and only takes a few hours to read.
This book is my most recent read, and it was reccomended by my partner who has originally been listening to Steven Bartlett’s podcasts and she said “You and him are so a like, I think you should buy his book”.
I didn’t know about Steven before this book, but I did know about Social Chain, his business and after reading his book I was amazed at how much I agree with Steven and the way he glides through life, plus the mistakes he has made.
For those of you that don’t know Steven, he is a 27/28 year old lad raised in England who has created a $200M social media marketing agency and is now the new Dragon in Dragon’s Den. An incredible feat to say the least and his book goes over a lot of things regarding business, life in the fast lane and what happens when you finally get to your “life goals”.
What resonates with me as a content creator looking to create a media company is that he basically mentions once he got what he wanted (the car, the millions of pounds, he could travel the world in first class and got as fit as he could) it basically felt like nothing once he got it.
This then proved to him that the journey is far more valuable and rewarding than the end goal. So, me thinking to myself about my own materialistic goals (wanting to run a media company, be financially free and own a bad ass camper van) meant perhaps when I eventually get there it will be a bit “meh”.
And because Steven got all this so young, he has almost hit what many do late in their life, very early on and is now learning that you quite simply need to be health, happy and have a roof over your head, that’s it! That alone, made me feel incredibly comfortable and made me realise, that there’s no need to rush to get to your goals, you’ll get there, so take your foot off the accelerator a little and enjoy the ride.
As a content creator looking to move more into the business side of things this is a great book about mentality and how money in no way effects happiness, like at all. This is the best book for content creators who want to look at their business from a new perspective.
Here’s another one from Austin Kleon, one of this trilogy shall I say. This one dives deep into how creating content is actually a form of stealing, but in a good way and is one of the best books for content creators who take inspiration from other creators.
Austin discusses his opinions about how creative people, that could be videographers, photographers, artists, writers and so on, are actually creating content that has been inspired subconsciously by other pieces of content they have consumed in the past making nothing your technically original.
We are what we consume, and creatives consume others creations in order to produce their own, and that’s okay. What Austin Kleon makes clear is that this is completely normal and you should be proud of that, shout it off the top of the mountains and credit everything you can.
Crediting is often chucked aside in the content creation world, but what we should be doing is crediting our work to those who have inspired us, just like we credit the source when we produce work for clients, or in tests.
Again, this is a short read, and only took me a few hours to consume, so it’s great for a coffee table book, or a book to throw in your office for when you need to relax and get away from your screens.
Many of you who are starting out are always wondering when the best time it is to transition from your full-time job to self-employment, and i’ve always said, it’s when you’re earning as much on your side hustle as you do your full-time job.
But this book from David Landahl says otherwise, to an extent that you can earn a six figure income from your side hustle when working on your career full-time. This is another great read for those of you looking for the best books for content creators.
It’s interesting because many people think it’s one or the other when it’s actually possibly to do both. Obvsiouly it takes an incredible ammount of work, and you sacrifice a lot of time, but if you have a hobby that you want to monetise, but want to keep your career, this is the perfect book for you.
It goes over how you can do it, what needs to be done and if it’s right for you. My generation especially think you must work on side hustle until you are ready to jump ship, that’s great but some people don’t want to jump ship, they could go part-time or lower their hours which is what this book advises.
It goes against what I did when I left my full-time job, so I was intrigued to see that there was choices for me if I didn’t want to sacrifice my career.
So there you have it! That’s a look at 5 of my best books for content creators, most of these books can be read in a couple of weeks, so no need to sacrifice hours upon hours to learn something new.
These books aren’t dedicated to how to get better at content creation but instead changes your perspective on how to build a content creation business and do things like learning about the best SEO habits and how hard work compounds.
Thanks for reading, it’s appreciated.