Reviews: Books for Freelance Writers

Peter Bowerman – The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less

If you write – or want to write – non-fiction for a living, you need this book. Aimed at “freelance commercial writers”, it’s not a how-to-write but a comprehensive guide to running a writing business. Bowerman demystifies the sales and marketing process, explains how to carry out direct mail campaigns, takes the terror out of cold calling, and demonstrates how writing can be both lucrative and fun. The aim of the book is to take you to “self-sufficiency as a writer in three months or less” and it’s a very practical, fun read. (Bowerman writes in a gentle, entertaining, encouraging style.)

It was only after I bought this book that I realised it was self-published – so its best-selling status is an impressive testament to Bowerman’s writing and marketing skills!

The one caveat I’d offer is that this was written in 2000 – when the internet was in its infancy – and you’ll want to buy the excellent follow-up too, The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds. (See the review below this one.)

(But buy this one first. 90% of the information is still completely relevant, and you can adapt the principles in the rest.)

Grab your copy now:

The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds: A Second Helping of “How-To” for Any Writer Dreaming of Great Bucks and Exceptional Quality of Life

This second volume from Bowerman was recommended by Kristen Fischer on the Freelance Radio podcast (an offshoot of the Freelance Switch site). When I started out freelancing, Kristen was my writing heroine … the successful writer I wanted to be ;-).

So, was Kristen’s recommendation a good one? All I can say is … YES! This is, if anything, an even better book than The Well-Fed Writer (but buy them both, as the content of this volume is completely different). It’s not so much a complete guide as the previous volume, but tackles real and tricky problems in each chapter – problems which readers of The Well-Fed Writer wrote to Bowerman with. There’s loads of advice in here for writers in small towns and writers who are mothers … and success stories from writers from all walks of life.

And as this volume was written in 2004, it goes into far more detail about the internet and how to use it as a writer. Like Bowermans’s previous book, it was self-published, but both books are excellently produced – I would go as far to say that the layout and structure is better than that of every traditionally published books on writing I own!

Grab your copy now:

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