How To Write What You Love And Make A Living At It, by Dennis E. Hensley
When one is dealing with a book of this kind , one has to ask the question of whether the author is qualified to serve as an expert in his subject of choice, and fortunately it is easy enough to determine that this author is immensely qualified to write about making money writing and to give suggestions to those who are looking to make at least some income through their pen or keyboard. The author’s varied and successful experience allows him to give the best sort of advice possible, the advice of someone who has made it, someone who if they are not a name author is an author who has sold thousands of articles and dozens of titles of books that have achieved a great deal of success and who has even gotten into ghostwriting, an area that I must admit I find somewhat mildly intriguing, and co-writing, which is something that interests me greatly and requires a great deal of communication in some fashion to pull off, unless it happens by chance as it did for the author in one memorable case. If you are looking for a practical guide on how to become a better writer and develop the skills necessary to make it pay, this is a good book.
Written with the freelance writer in mind, this short book of about 170 pages first provides advice to those who wish to become freelance writers to keep their quality up to snuff and be able to handle the management of time and money and develop the thick skin to handle criticism. The author then provides some excellent tips on how to find a subject that sells and that can sell over and over again, as well as expand one’s expertise as a writer. The third part of the book provides advice on how to write with style and impact, starting with article writing as well as journalistic nonfiction writing and also some comments on how to write quality fiction. The fourth part of the book provides the final two chapters of the book on how to sell manuscripts and obtain maximum return for minimum effort by engaging in multiple marketing and writing articles and books simultaneously. This is a practical book with its aim in encouraging a writer to keep the ideas flowing and find a way to get paid, which is what a lot of us would like to do better.
I happen to have borrowed this book from someone who was seeking to read it to get help on how to write an autobiography, but for his sake and for that of many potential readers I will try to summarize the gist of the author’s argument. The author is making the point that if one wants to make a serious vocation out of writing that one has to be able to devote a significant amount of time to write and improve over a regular basis, to the point of going to conferences and working as a freelance journalist, and needs to keep one’s life under control to the point where recordkeeping in triplicate can be done. For those who are not willing or able to handle the demanding advice of this book, there is always the possibility of hiring help to accomplish various tasks like typing, proofreading, or even writing. Given the author’s own varied career as a writer or editor, there is a lot of insight he has to offer the readers of this book, and any insight one gains from a writer is insight that one does not have to learn from painful experience.
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