Five Books That Helped Me Become a Full-Time Freelance Writer
I’ve been freelancing for over 20 years now, so these are not all the newest and latest books, but most of them are fairly timeless. While technology has advanced, and techniques have changed, the advice and strategies at the centre of my writing career have stayed surprisingly stable. Many of them came from these books. If you’re starting out, you could do a lot worse than give these a look over.
Disclosure: Yes, some of these links are affiliate links. If you buy these books directly through these links, I may earn a commission. If you object to that, you can search for them by name at any online book store.
366 Tips for Freelance Writers by Christina Katz
I first came across Christian Katz when I read her book Writer Mama, about 12 years ago, when I had an eight-year-old and a six-year-old and a part-time writing gig I never seemed to find time for. I’ve been following her online ever since and have read a lot of writing tips from her, but definitely think this book encapsulates all her best advice, in bite-sized chunks.
This book is full of practical, actionable, down-to-earth advice that looks at every aspect of being a writer, from the all-important writing, to marketing, organisation and idea management. This is also the one that inspired me to keep writing, even when I had to combine it with proper jobs, full-time study, homeschooling, and everything else life threw at me. It was easy to dip into, tip by tip, no matter how hectic life got.
My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman
This is another older book, published in 2008, but much of it will still be relevant to anyone building a freelance writing business. Relevant, in fact, to any freelance business.I’ve seen praise online from people who have used this book to go freelance as a yoga teacher or dog-walker. Obviously the book, then, isn’t about writing, but about organising your freelance life, and building systems that work for you, whatever form your business takes.
Much like the book above, it won’t have tips on how to manipulate online algorithms or incorporate TikTok into your marketing. But as I always insist, some advice is timeless.
Make Money As A Freelance Writer by Gina Horkey and Sally Miller
This is a more recent book, bearing the sub-title : 7 Simple Steps to Start Your Freelance Writing Business and Earn Your First $1,000, and it pretty much does what it says on the cover. The first $1000 is usually the hardest, which is why one of the courses I recommend for newbie freelance writers is Write Your Way to 1K.
This book covers basics like developing good writing habits, creating a website that sells your freelance services, and pitching editors. I read this a long way into my freelance writing career and still gained a few tips. If you’re just starting out, you’ll gain a lot more.
The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making Six Figures by Mridu Khullar Relph
It’s always a bold claim when an author suggests she can show you exactly how to hit a very specific goal, especially a monetary one. Full disclosure: I’m not earning a six-figure sum from my freelance writing yet (even with ten income streamsin place), so clearly reading this book is not enough. More disclosure: This is a more recent read for me, and I haven’t implemented all the advice in this book yet, so I may have only myself to blame that I’m not raking in the six-figure sum it promises.
I have upped my game (and my income) since reading this one, however. It has great tips to help you increase earnings (partly by outsourcing), find new niches within high paying markets, and pitch editors successfully.
Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers & Solopreneurs by Karen Banes
So perhaps it’s a bit cheeky to include my own work on this list, but this short Kindle book is where I’ve put all the free tools I use as a freelance writer. Without this list of tools (which I compiled myself, starting about 12 years ago) I’d never have made a life and living as a freelancer.
I’ve written before about how I bootstrapped my freelance writing business when I started out, and I was able to do that by using a lot of free trainings, downloads, apps, online tools, and other resources. They’re all in this book, and I’ve just updated it. This one is only available for Kindle. Check it out on Amazon.
Want more book recommendations for both fiction and non-fiction writers? check out the books for writers section of my Amazon shop. It has all my favorites in there, and it’s powered by Amazon so you can shop from it using your regular Amazon account.
Originally published in The Partnered Pen.