We review ebooks, courses and tools for writers, so you can make good decisions about how to invest in your writing career. Thanks to Chris Guillebeau for sharing a review copy of this guide.
About the creators: Amber Adrian is a full-time freelance writer, novelist and screenwriter. Prior to setting out on her own, she was associate editor at a San Francisco arts magazine. In this guide, she shares her expertise from over a decade of making a living writing — along with advice sourced from 10 other established freelance writers.
The guide is available under the brand of Chris Guillebeau, a popular blogger and traveler who writes about living an unconventional life and creates products that help others do the same.
Price: The guide is available at two price points:
In addition to the ebook, this package includes a list of links and resources as well as supplemental tools to conquer fear and stress associated with freelance writing.
In addition to everything in the Pen-for-Hire package, this package includes samples of successful pitches and letters of introduction, eight transcripts of interviews with experienced freelance writers, and a 44-minute audio interview with Kristin Luna, the travel writer behind Camels and Chocolate.
Who It’s For: If you’re contemplating launching your own freelance writing business, you will benefit from this guide — especially if you keep finding reasons not to get started. Amber destroys any lingering excuses you may have by breaking your to-do list into small, manageable steps, then detailing potential roadblocks and ways around them.
If you’ve worked with a few clients but aren’t sure how to grow your business, you’ll benefit particularly from Amber’s advice on negotiating rates and networking with other creatives.
What It Will Help You Do: Stop making excuses and start building your writing business. Seriously — it’s all outlined here. Grab a pen, get to work, and check those tasks off your list.
If you have a writing business already but are feeling a bit stagnant, the guide will kickstart your creativity with ideas to shake things up. New challenges like forming a creative team, reselling articles, or tracking brand-new markets will stretch your writing and business muscles — and bring back some of the fun of working for yourself.
What’s Included: The 55-page ebook includes advice from Amber as well as 10 other freelance writers across a variety of disciplines, including magazine writer and blogger Linda Formicelli, journalist and content marketing writer Yael Grauer, magazine and business writer Carol Tice, science and technical writer Zach Urbina, and copywriter and editor Non Wels.
The Guide is divided into four sections:
1. Getting Started and Setting Yourself Up
This section outlines clear, simple steps to set up your writing business: Declare Yourself, Decide on Your Niche, Send Your First Pitch — a detailed guide to pitching — and Find Your People. Each section includes a call to action so you actually implement the advice.
2. Getting Paid and Other Practicalities
Ah, the tiny detail of getting paid. This section addresses how to set your rates, including whether to charge per hour, word or project. Unlike many resources, this guide lists actual numbers for different writing projects and fields, a huge advantage for newbies as well as experienced writers who want to make sure you’re being paid what your work is worth.
There’s also a solid description of contracts, which are often overlooked by new freelance writers, with templates included in the accompanying list of resources.
3. Getting Out of Bed Every Morning and Facing the Fears of Freelancing
This section is a genuine, authentic address of fears Amber faced as a freelance writer, from rejection, to running out of money/work/good ideas, to not being a good writer, along with tools to help writers deal with each fear.
You’ll come back to this section each time you start to lose faith in your ability to earn a living from your writing. Re-reading it will remind you why you started your writing business and psych you up to go bigger.
4. Getting Bigger and Building Your Business
This is the section to return to as your business grows; each time you read it, different options will jump out at you. It includes guidelines to finding writing work using Twitter and a blog, as well as an awesome list of ideas to shake up your business, help you find more clients, and earn more money.
The Best Part: Amber addresses many fears commonly associated with freelance writing head-on, gently but firmly; reading the guide is like having a no-holds-barred conversation with an observant, more experienced writer friend.
The real numbers included in the discussion of rates are fantastic and will be appreciated by writers who are sick of vague descriptions of “a rate that makes you feel good about your work.”
What Would Make It Even Better: While this is a fantastic guide to launching and growing your freelance writing business, it doesn’t include details on specific genres — that level of detail is beyond its scope. Writers looking to break into a particular writing genre (for example, social media, business writing, or travel writing) will want an additional resource with genre-specific information to accompany this guide.
Our Recommendation: Both versions offer great value and will be helpful as you build your writing business.
If you’re just beginning to dip your toes into the freelance writing waters, the Pen-for-Hire package is a fantastic launching pad. For those looking for more detailed support, the Editor-in-Chief package is more comprehensive and its pitch samples are a welcome addition for writers who need help crafting their first one.
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