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Top Reads for Making a Living as a Writer

Updated on September 6, 2012

These are my favourite recommendations for writers looking to make a living out of writing.

How To Get Published Free and Make Money

by David Rising

If you want to publish your work without being out of pocket, you have to discover the process. The author of this book, David Rising, intends to reveal to you how you can accomplish this. Moreover, Rising has put a time limit on this accomplishment. He expects you can and will do so within six weeks. How? Just follow the suggestions in the pages of this book. Rising will guide you through the entire process. Citing examples from actual writers, Rising takes you through his theory about writing and expounds upon his approach. He believes that a writer requires no one course or specific education. He also thinks everyone has a story to tell and should. It is a matter of revealing your soul and, with the author’s help, transferring onto paper. He believes anyone can write and publish a successful book. Read his theories and you, too, might find yourself a published author for free.

The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency As a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less

by Peter Bowerman

The author, Peter Bowerman, is a man who has made his mark in the field of freelance writing. His work has graced various fields. He has written for diverse clients including the Discovery Channel, Coca Cola and Bell South. His name is known in the hallowed halls of the Fortune 500. His work is renowned and eagerly accepted. A truly prolific and even talented writer, Bowerman turns to the printed page to pass on to you what he has learned. His personal experience makes for an interesting and often enlightening read. The book is replete with techniques, handy hints and helpful tips to help a freelance writer become a seasoned and well-paid professional. His angle is to help you accomplish this without starving in the process. If it is your dream to make it, to be financially successful but not overworked or discontent with what you do, I suggest you read this book.

The Freelance Success Book : Insider Secrets for Selling Every Word You Write (Write It, Sell It)

by David Taylor

As a former executive magazine editor, David Taylor, the author of this book on being a successful freelance writer, brings to his writing an experience you do not have. He knows what will help a freelancer get in the door. He understands what a writer can do to make his work a successful sell. With this in mind, you can embrace this book for its authentic voice - if for no other reason. Fortunately, Taylor has put together a work that covers much of what you need to know to make your work a successful sell. He looks at everything. Includes are such topics as writing work that is user-friendly and of high quality, how to write and submit a query letter, and how to locate the right editor. This book looks at writing skills and discusses how to be a successful writer. Moreover, the author does not neglect the business end. An easy and knowledgeable read, the Freelance Success Book provides you with exactly what you need to make it in the freelancing business. It does not matter whether your focus market is novels, the internet or periodicals; this book will serve you and your writing well.

Guide to Literary Agents (Guide to Literary Agents)

Writing is a business like many others. It requires you understand the workings of certain aspects if you want to remain at the top. If you are a serious freelancer, you realize it. This book is one way of adding to your chances of making it and keeping it. Its focus is literary agents. It is a complete guide to who is who and where they are. It provides you with contact information as well as specifics. If you want to know who nurtures sci-fi writers, you will find it here. If you are a creative prose writer, this book will help you find the right agent. It does not matter, literally and figuratively, what you write. This book will include an agent who can help you and your work get published. This guide includes more than 600 literary agents, understanding the fields of magazines, production companies and publishers – one with the potential of being a perfect match for your writing. These are all members of the Writers Guild and Association of Authors’ Representatives giving them a certain standard within the business of writing and publishing. Discover the ins-and-outs by buying this book.

Comedy Writing Step by Step

If ever there was a difficult topic to master, it is comedy. It is not an even remotely simple task. Ask anyone in the business and he or she will certainly agree. The author of this book, Gene Perret, has been actively pursuing this aspect of writing for many decades. In fact, he is most famous for his writing stint for the late, great comedian Bob Hope. In this step by step guide, Perret gives the potential writer of comedy the basic information and understanding that is essential to survive and succeed in a very cut throat business. He includes the two sides of comedy writing. In other words, he discusses it as being both a craft, including such aspects as what makes something funny, and a career move. In the former, he breaks down material and analyzes it to reveal why it works. Perret also includes where you can find inspiration for material as well as specific techniques. Also of importance in this book is his inclusion of material not only on how to write but also on how to move the material from your computer into the hands of those who may actually be in a position to buy it.

The Elements of Copywriting: The Essential Guide to Creating Copy That Gets the Results You Want

by Gary Blake, Robert W. Bly

If you think you want to be a writer of a specific type of copy – that which sells products and services or convinces people in sundry ways, this is the book to read. Gerry Blake and Robert W. Bly, the authors, have created a guide for freelancers who want to turn their talent into creating copy for ads, brochures and related written material. It does not matter what you have worked on in the past. These authors provide the tips and resources you need to make the change. This book is a complete guide. Within its printed boundaries you will find the essentials. They are all here from writing print ads to creating brochures and catalogues. If you want to know how to handle direct mail, prepare press releases or even write the right email, you will find it in this book. Any type of communication you may ever need to right is discussed here. Within this book, you will find all you need to know to help you write this specific genre effectively to obtain the contracts you deserve. During your career as a writer, you will probably be asked to manufacture this commercial form of writing. Why not get this book now and save yourself the trouble later of finding it. It may even persuade you to discover another facet of your writing personality – an economically successful one.

Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments

by Jenna Glatzer

Everyone who is a freelancer has started somewhere. If you are at the beginning of your career or just thinking of dipping your toes in, pick up and read this book. The author, Jenna Glazer, has kept both you and those writers who need further direction, in mind when she wrote this book. While the experienced writer may feel some of what she says redundant, the novice will take it to heart. For professionals, the book contains many tips and advice that will add to your arsenal; for the beginners, she includes a vast store of information you will imminently find useful. To help keep your professional vocabulary a notch above, check out the basic terms. It will make sure you understand the difference between source sheets and query clips. If you feel you already have mastery over this aspect, skip to the sections and locate her advice on how to find magazines that will pay you at the higher scales or a list of periodicals who are not inundated with queries. The author also provides information on how to pitch a syndicated column. Providing advice to help you turn your good ideas into a better pay cheque is one way this book is sure to help your freelance career.

Net Words: Creating High-Impact Online Copy

by Nick Usborne, Nick Usborne

The internet has been both a blessing and a bane for individual writers. Some minimize the writing and bombard any potential reader with graphics, illustrations, charts and general electronic gadget overload. This is the new technology at its basest. Nick Usborne, the author of this book on internet/online possibilities, eschews this approach. He believes that rather than bore the visitor with this approach, you can create an exciting and highly financially viable site. You can manage all this through your words – copy. Usborne is a master of the subject having worked in and studied the medium. His book Net Words is a successful attempt to help you, as a writer or a salesperson, discover what people/readers, really expect and want. In other words, as he succinctly and clearly explains, stop creating pages that bounce clients around. Write copy so they remain on the page and, therefore, actually absorb what you are trying to tell them. Usborne provides the reader with examples of a few customer-relations techniques that will help. He also reinforces the concept of doing market research prior to committing yourself. Unless you know who comprises your customer base, you cannot create a page that will attract and keep them. The author wants to make certain that your page must meet their needs. Moreover, it must be neither too technical or too simple. With a little bit of help from this book, you will soon be able to create an easy-to-manage, low-tech page that is effective at increasing your visits and your sales.

Pen on Fire : A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within

by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett

Make no bones about it. This book is intended for women writers. The author, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, put together this book to inspire, set free and encourage all women, no matter from where they hail, to write. She wants them to put aside any fears they have of the medium and write. She wants them to understand that the freelance world is no longer the old boy’s club it used to be. She wants them to forget any past fears and doubts, to realize what they have to contribute is important and unique. This book remarks on the female voice. The author is adamant it has much to lend to the freelance world. She reveals how even the busiest of women can make a contribution. All it requires is a few minutes of each day. This will help them make a start that will expand exponentially as time goes by. This book is perfect as a vehicle for women who have been too timid or caught up in their own lives to realize they have a voice. The author understands the complications, but she also knows it is time for many women to, at long last, express themselves.

Teach Yourself Copywriting

by J. Jonathan Gabay,

You have finally made the decision. You want to enter the wild and unpredictable world of writing copy. You have the writing skills, or at least think you have. You have the will but, do you have everything you need to get the job and then get it done? If you have any doubts, read this book. The author, J. Jonathan Gaby is there to provide you with much of what you need to get started. This book includes the essentials such as contacts, location and businesses. He also provides you with specific requirements to address when you consider applying for certain copywriting jobs. It makes no difference whether your interest lie in charities, hard copy, online services or businesses, this book covers them all. Even if you wish to write for your own personal worth and interest, you will find this book more than a little helpful. The author covers the mediums, clarifies what each type will expect and how to address each specialty and generality. Even if you want to write a book, this will help you out. To help clarify and reinforce the information, the author provides you with a series of exercises. If you are already an “expert” you can skip the main text and read the summaries and handy hints included with each chapter. What is amazing is Gabay actually accomplishes all this while ensuring you feel confident and enthusiastic about what you are doing or plan to do.

Writing Copy for Dummies

by Jonathan Kranz

The For Dummies series has done it again. They have created another book that will prove a useful tool for those who like to write but have issues with certain aspects. This one focuses on how to write copy. Copy is a term that describes and includes what many online and off freelancers do for a living. This book covers everything you need to know about starting out in this field. It is also helpful for those who wish to push forward. Even if you just need to brush up on writing business memos, you can get something from this book. In typical dummy fashion, the book covers the essentials in a straightforward and easy to grasp manner. The format of the book is also such that you can read it from cover-to-cover or pick-and-choose the sections you wish to look at. The author, Jonathan Kratz also accomplishes something that is necessary if you want to be a good writer of copy. This is morale. He makes sure you know how valuable your work is and should be. All this, the book manages within the framework of a conversational tone.

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    • tamron profile image


      6 years ago

      Helpful hub for choosing the right books. Great recommend books! Vote Up

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      These are some valuable book suggestions. I see a couple I would like to purchase. Good stuff. Vote Up and Useful!

    • kerlynb profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Bookmarked :D I'm now looking at these books at Amazon. Can't say thank you enough for sharing! Voting your hub up and useful!

    • vox vocis profile image


      6 years ago

      This hub came as if I asked you to write it, Julie-Ann! I'm just finishing Andy Maslen's book Write to Sell, and the first one I read on the topic is Maria Veloso's Web Copy That Sells - both great books. They were recommended to me by a fellow hubber Susana S. I'm saving this hub for future reference on my computer and I'm looking forward to reading the books you've recommended. Great hub, voted up!

    • dghbrh profile image


      6 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      very informative hub.

      voted up and shared.


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