Vision: A Resource for Writers
truth is that freelance writing pays. P.A.Y.S. meaning
paid bills and happy children. And more important by paying the bills we
have hassle-free, peaceful
writing time and the mind frame for our passion – be it romance,
science fiction or fantasy. On second thought, aren’t most of us
freelancing? At least the members of Forward Motion I have met during
the chat are working writers. For me, if you write as a second career,
then it is freelancing.
to popular laments, it is not really difficult to break into this field.
There are innumerable local magazines, newspapers and websites that
always need current, local articles and seasonal news. The world out
there always has some news to offer, as long as you are a part of it.
the problem with freelance writing is time. Taking into consideration
the response time of magazines and backlog factor, it may take from 3 to
9 months to get your accepted article published and many publications
pay after print. Add this to problems like a lackluster query letter,
inadequate research, bad structuring of article and wrong submission
etiquette, and your freelance career might never even get started.
it is very essential you be prepared for this business. That’s why I
recommend the following two books – The Handbook of Freelance
Writing By Michael Perry and How to be a Freelance
Journalist by Christine Hall – as a primer to jumpstart your
for Freelance Writing
Perry has written for publications ranging from Newsweek to the New
York Times Magazine and
from the Christian
Science Monitor to Cowboy magazine. His essays and humor are
heard in both Wisconsin and Minnesota Public Radio. He is also the
author of Why They Killed Big Boy & Other Stories.
is what Michael Perry says in the preface:
is no single path I follow. And so, how did I choose my path through
first 3 chapters focus on Perry’s thoughts about the writing life,
secrets to success and what the writer should do to break into
commercial writing. In Chapters 4 to 11 you learn what to write, how to
write it and how to sell it using the prefect query letter. To know more
about rights and re-selling tactics, zoom in on Chapter 13. Chapter 14
– The Business End – offers what to do about taxes and
billing when you start your own practice.
chapters are strewn with quotes and sidebars about writers and
writing-related incidents. More like an autobiography, Handbook for
Freelance Writing tells all you need to know to understand the field
and build a thriving business as a freelance writer.
to be a Freelance Journalist
by erstwhile Editor Christine Hall, the book is packed full of practical
ideas and instructions to break into solid commercial journalism.
Written from an editor’s view point, this books is an invaluable
resource of insider knowledge, revealing the best feature subjects, how
to write them and what editors really want. An added bonus is that
Christine knows the business from both the sides – she was a
journalist before she became an editor.
in Handbook for Freelance Writing, Structuring And Writing The
Feature provides extensive information on how to develop your
idea into an article. However,
there are other chapters as well, some of which will take you by
surprise. There is a full chapter on how to illustrate your articles and
how to use photography to raise the value of your feature. The chapter Building
A Good Relationship With Your Editor strives to clear the picture
about the terrifying role of an editor. Breaking into print –
step-by-step lists out the many (local) opportunities the freelance
writer has, that will leave you wondering why you didn’t think of that
book is almost a writing course by itself, with checklists of things to
do at every stage, case studies, sample queries and letters, and
sections on marketing and payment. There are
also a lot of funny anecdotes and advices throughout the book.
Hall delivers the ultimate horror info – she tells you what happens at
the backstage, after the Editor receives your manuscript. This section
is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but nevertheless, a very useful
piece of revelations for those who are into serious freelancing.
here is the reason why I reviewed two books at one go.
Handbook for Freelance Writing
is a memoir of a veteran freelancer, then How
to be a Freelance Journalist is a how-to
manual. The first tells you, from a freelancer’s point of view, what
you need to do to get published. The second, from a person who buys
manuscripts, informs you what you should be doing to get
and practical, these two books show you how to develop ideas into
publishable features, how to sell them and how too develop a hobby into
a profitable full-time business. Throughout these two books, you’ll
benefit from proven strategies and real-world advice on every aspect of
a freelance writing career, including:
So if you want to have a starter kit to go into freelancing buy these two books. They are worth every penny you pay and more.