Some writers absorb the books they read into their own craft. It is instinctive and subconscious on their part. As gifted artists, they take the given into the workings of their own creativity. They are not fully aware of how books are put together or at least cannot verbalize their knowledge.
Other writers are keenly conscious of the form books take and how the writers of those books attained that form.
Most writers, (whether of fiction or nonfiction) however, would do well to become more conscious of literary form. It shouldn’t hurt their creativity for them to step away from their writing of a novel, for instance, and examine other similar novels. How are they structured? How long are they? How are the plots constructed? How is dialogue handled?
This kind of analysis is a must for writers of genre fiction: mysteries, thrillers, horror novels, science fiction, etc. Why? Because these novels follow strict formulas in terms of style, length, and even plot. The best genre fiction writers learn to follow the formulas while bringing a unique voice to bear.
Writers should also research the publishing history of the type of books they wish to write. How have they been published? As hardcover or quality paperback originals? By which publishers? Were they reprinted and sold as mass market paperbacks? By which publishers?
So before you put pen to paper again, pick up your favourite novel or nonfiction book and try to figure out just what is so likeable about it. Remember, you should be absorbing books that absorb you!