Getting Started As A Freelance Writer, by Robert W. Bly
I picked up this book thanks to the suggestion of a subscriber to this blog, and it was a worthwhile and enjoyable (and hopefully profitable) read. While the author has never penned a best-seller, he is a person with a great deal of credibility as a prolific and consistent writer in technical and business writing with a regular income as a freelance author. Credibility generally tends to help the message–the only poor chapter in the book is the chapter not written by the author, a chapter on writing short fiction that falls flat.
The other eighteen chapters of this reasonably sized book (about 250 pages of solid text) are divided into a group of interrelated concerns. The first few chapters are designed to provoke the reader to answer the question of whether they are really committed to writing, as well as providing business tips, advice on moonlighting and money issues, as well as business plans. The next two chapters provide some entry-level assignments to get one’s name out as well as magazine writing. Following this are some chapters on such issues as marketing and self-promotion , earning a good income in business writing, working with agents and book proposals, and using ezines and websites to drum up business. After this comes chapters on writing for the internet, increasing productivity, writing poetry, the misguided chapter on short fiction (from Harlan Ellison), writing novels, writing the personal essay, growing your business, and making your writing dreams come true. After this follow some notes, appendices on useful sources the author recommends, and a note on the author.
The book as a whole is an excellent read, whether someone wishes to write as an avocation and find the best ways of exploring one’s interest in writing personal essays, poetry, or prose fiction, or whether one wants to make a good income writing business writings. Speaking personally, my interests in writing are in such fields as personal essays or nonfiction books (besides my backlog of writing scripts–one thing this book does not cover, or poems), though writing speeches is also something that is appealing to me. This book has some useful advice on book proposals that I will definitely seek to follow soon, considering I have quite a selection of already finished works that I have written in book length ready to go. As the book is quick, full of useful information, and enjoyable to read, those friends of mine who wish to earn a living or earn some extra money reading will find much of use for a wide audience.