1. The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

A short, bracing book on how to show up and do the work, whatever field you’re in.

2. Guerrilla Film Scoring: Practical Advice from Hollywood Composers

Focused, as you might guess, on film scoring. Borum does a great job of clarifying the broad number of skills it takes to be a one-person scoring shop, while offering plenty of ideas on how to hone those skills, too.

3. Cash Tracks: Compose, Produce, and Sell Your Original Soundtrack Music and Jingles

A through discusion about entry-level ways to find the people and places who might want your music as well as the mechanics of running your own business. You don’t have to follow all of Fisher’s advice about how to set up your taxes or your home studio to still get a lot out of this book.

4. A Composer’s Guide to Game Music

Ok, so I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list, because it’s gotten fabulous reviews, and I’ve got to enter the 21st century sometime.

5. The Reel World: Music Pro Guides

A great all-around text on television and film scoring. Rona walks you step-by-step through several of his own projects, showing you what it takes to prepare for and produce full-scale orchestral sessions, create electronic scores using custom samples, and meet the grueling schedule of scoring a weekly TV series.

by David Hamburger