DESCRIPTION AND MY BOOK REVIEW:
This book is a thin read and geared toward the professional freelance writer, which is what I am. It is broken down into eleven chapters: Chapter One: Getting Started, Chapter Two: The Writing Life, Chapter Three: Finding Markets, Chapter Four: Finding Ideas, Chapter Five: Presenting Your Ideas, Chapter Six: Researching the Article, Chapter Seven: Writing the Article, Chapter Eight: A Question of Rights and Ethics, Chapter Nine: Running Your Business, Chapter Ten: Market Information, Chapter Eleven: Bits and Pieces.
After the introduction, Chapter One focuses on the image you portray, how you present your work, tools of your trade such as business cards and their importance, using letterhead for your cover letters, and looking and being professional. There is a discussion of where to write, being organized, using strict filing systems to track work and payment, keeping notes and building your resource shelf.
Chapter Two focuses on the writing life and your relationship you build with the post office. You’ll read about how to work with editors, rewrite with a smile and remain positive and professional. Building contact lists, making working relationships that last, and following up about your submissions–or not. Make notes and keep track of editors, they do move around. The author writes about form letters, what to do with them, what types there are, why did you get them and what to do about receiving them all the time. There’s also discussion about that infamous rejection letter. The author suggests carrying a notebook with you at all times, to jot things down, keep track of thoughts and potential writing projects. To write is to write all the time.
Chapter Three brings us to finding markets for your work and when to start looking. Periodicals at your library are introduced along with their value while keeping costs down. Making notes of editors and topics their magazines cover is incredibly necessary and important for success as a freelancer. You’ll find out how important it is to research website information, using a notebook to keep track of what you find. Correspondence control is also discussed, its value and what to do with it included in this chapter. Looking for source material is top of the list.
Chapter Four is a common chapter for most resource books. This chapter discusses finding ideas and where to search, what to do with them and why this is important to keep replenished at all times.
Chapter Five covers how you need to present your ideas, the most optimistic stage in the process of writing and selling articles. Tracking your ideas and building a stockpile from which to draw from as the need arises is discussed with examples. In this chapter you’ll also learn how to summarize your article for an editor, how to approach one and the four main types of opening for just about every article written: the Anecdote, Quotation, Premise, and Question. You’ll read about arousing the Editor’s curiosity, convincing the Editor he wants the article, summarizing your story, and querying. Traps the novice writer falls into are approached, using a list of nine examples. You will also read about what happens once your query is accepted.
Chapter Six shows you methods on researching your article, where to look and what to keep in mind while writing for someone else. You’ll learn how important accurate research is to a freelancer and what to do to avoid issues/conflicts. You’ll learn about making a file of small clippings and newspaper/magazine articles of topic material that you’re interested in and why. You’ll review information surrounding the interview process and how to conduct one flawlessly. Then, you see how to write from the interview and the seven points to remember when doing so.
Chapter Seven, is all about writing the article, from outlining using twelve pointers, creating a topical framework using six pointers and the things you must keep in mind when applying all of it to your work. The next part breaks down the beginning, middle and ending, what to do with your first draft with an example provided for reviewing and understanding the suggested process, right up to the final copy and how it should read. You’ll touch on editing and its value and methods, what to avoid, include in a title and its format. You’ll read about what to include in the cover page too.
Chapter Eight discusses rights and ethics. This is a very important chapter that is covered well. Copyright is broken down in detail and even includes a section about when Copyright belongs to others. Licensing Rights to The Publisher is also a very informative section that is also broken down and reflected on perfectly. This section even covers libel and insurance and where the onus lies. The one section I was glad to see in this book, is one that discusses invasion of privacy. Here, responsibility of protecting a person’s privacy is left with the writer; and, the author lays out four ways to achieve this positively.
Chapter Nine focuses on running your business as a freelance writer. It covers taxes, deductions, cost expenditures and earnings from publishers. There’s even a bit about what to do when your expenditures exceeds your expectations and you cannot absorb the costs. You’ll learn about contracts, terminology contained within a contract and their meanings and the classifications writers fall within.
Chapter Ten goes over any marketing information you’ll need to know along with target markets available to you, such as about: animals, arts, business, children, expose articles, family, health and fitness, history, hobbies and leisure, home & garden. How-to articles are broken down perfectly for you. Humor/comedy writing, literary/essay, men’s, women’s, nature & ecology, opinion, personal experience, religious, retirement, survey, trade papers, travel, photojournalism, creative non-fiction, biography, agents, and, the future. All of these categories are discussed in depth, offering detailed suggestions for each.
Chapter Eleven raps up this book with bits and pieces covered by the author. She discusses awards and grants here. A glossary follows this chapter.
So this is a breakdown of the contents found in this book. I absolutely love this book and keep it on my resource shelf to refer to often while I’m working. Anything that might be dated is easily updated with research or a telephone call.
I’ve found editors prefer that you ask them about anything you are unsure of rather than write the wrong thing, or, send them something they don’t want.
I give this book: