The Handbook for Freelance Writing provides aspiring writers with helpful insights on how to turn a passion for writing into a business. The author, Michael Perry, carefully identifies differences between the popular perception and reality of writing for a living. The primary focus is the business aspect of freelance writing and not on specific writing styles. The book provides instruction on writing for magazines although one chapter does explorer the vast opportunity and financial benefits of commercial writing.
Michael Perry proposes many different avenues of obtaining assignments to write pieces for publication. Each approach is backed with an example of success or a lesson learned. A significant percentage of the book is focused on tactics available for convincing editors to publish your work through the proper use of query letters. A sufficient number of examples are included and they effectively demonstrate the “do’s and don’ts” of writing and distributing query letters.
Secondary topics covered by the book include interviewing subjects, finding experts, marketing, managing contracts, and making sales. This book provides a road map to help one embark on a career as a self-employed writer, with only a brief overviews of each topic.
The author does reference additional sources, however, where readers can find detailed information on these topics. Interestingly, the references selected by the author are one of the book’s most useful features. These references have allowed the book to become a cornerstone from which interested readers can initiate additional research on writing.
Although this book is a practical guide to starting a writing business, it is surprisingly easy and enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to any individual determined to write for magazines. However, individuals who wish to focus on commercial or technical writing will probably want to begin with a different book. In the end, the author is quick to remind readers to practice the trade of writing, and only with a persistent and determined effort will writers prevail.