The Best Resources for Writers
I've had a few friends ask me how to get started in freelance writing over the past few years. Here are a few of my favorite resources:
- The Renegade Writer by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell: This is the first book I read when I decided I wanted to be a full-time freelance writer. It covers everything you could possibly need to know when you're first starting out, including which rules to break (and how to break them) in order to stand out in a sea of competition.
- The Art of Six-Figure Freelancing by Kelly James-Enger, along with the author's Dollars and Deadlines blog: I recently read this book to put myself back in the job hunting mode after one of my major clients reduced the work load of all of their editors. This is another must-have that gives tips on how to build relationships with editors, create queries that will earn work, and make to get the most money from a single idea or area of expertise. She's been a freelance writer for years, so she knows what she's talking about.
- Writer Magazine: I've read plenty of writing magazines over the past 10 years, but none of them have inspired me to subscribe except for Writer Magazine. This publication is incredibly useful and inspiring, offering information and interviews in all areas, from children's books to poetry.
- FreelanceWritingGigs.com: I visited this site first thing every morning when I was just getting started because there are job postings listed from all over the Web. Each weekday brings in a new batch of quality job ads, saving you time if you don't have the luxury of spending an hour or more scouring the Internet for writing opportunities on your own. In addition to job postings, you'll get expert business tips and more.
- Writer's Market: I have mixed feelings about this book at this point in my career, but it was invaluable when I was starting out. Not only do you get an organized list of publications to submit your work to, but you get information on how the publishing world works, tips and tricks, and more. Be sure to double-check with any publication to ensure that the contact information listed in your Writer's Market book is still accurate. Things change quickly and having your query or manuscript addressed to the wrong person will not work in your favor. Even if you just bought the latest book, the contact information was gathered well in advance of its publication. Later, you may be able to find the information you need by doing a simple Web search and networking with fellow freelance writers.
- The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman: One of the easiest ways to make more money as a freelance writer is to create copy for businesses. This book covers everything from how to get your own writing business up and running to how to write brochures, identity pieces, business letters, ad copy, proposals, scripts, and more.
- How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes: Let's face it. A lot of us got into the writing world because we're introverts, and being around people in a noisy office all day, schmoozing at events, and making small talk drain us and make us feel socially clueless. That's where these "92 Little Tricks for Big Business in Relationships" come in. Whether you're trying to land a new client, get to know a fellow writer at a conference, or interview an expert, you'll need to know how to make them want to talk to you. There are some excellent tricks to getting people to open up and let you know them in this book.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Sometimes, you may feel that you've written so much you've forgotten all the rules and how words should even fit together (you might want to take a day off). When you're unsure of your grammar, need some research tips, or want to take a look at how MLA and APA styles differ, this is the resource to consult.
- US Small Business Administration: Visit this site for information and advice regarding starting and running a small business in the United States.
Several of the resources listed above contain their own lists of the best sites and books for freelance writers. Set aside time each day to research how to make your freelance writing career more successful. However, if you haven't started writing and submitting queries yet, don't let the research hold you up. Start with one or two books or a handful of websites, gather what you can, then read as you continue to learn from experience.