'Tis the season to launch new business ventures, evaluate your freelance career, and make plans to do even better in the New Year. So why not treat yourself to one of the long-time best, and recently updated, books that can help you do just that? I'm talking about Peter Bowerman's The Well-Fed Writer.
Earlier this year, Peter released the third edition of this essential inclusion in any commercial freelance writer's library.
I've been recommending The Well-Fed Writer to freelancers for almost as long as I've run All Freelance Writing, through every version released. It was essential to my own career early on, and it's a book I also keep at arm's reach because I still periodically refer to it.
If you're familiar with my "query-free freelance" approach to things, you might wonder why I keep recommending a book (and Peter's Well-Fed Craft course) that features such a different strategy.
Peter teaches you how to use more direct marketing tactics like cold calling and direct mail (and email) marketing. I focus more on professional platforms, PR, and attracting clients rather than seeking them out.
But here's the thing...
There's nothing wrong with taking a different marketing approach than what I promote here. These tactics are tried and true. They're effective. And they might be perfect for you.
But even beyond that, The Well-Fed Writer is about so much more than ways you can land new commercial writing gigs.
It's also about knowing your value as a freelance writer.
It's about leaving behind the "starving artist" mentality and making good money doing something you love.
And it's about taking that dream and making it a reality, with practical tips and advice and stories along the way.
In other words, The Well-Fed Writer hits the sweet spot between being inspirational and actionable.
From the first day I picked up the first edition of The Well-Fed Writer, I realized something about Peter. He spoke my language.
Peter was doing for writers what I'd spent years doing for literal starving artists through my former music PR firm. He knew creatives were capable of extraordinary success in business. And this book was a tool to help them do that. It still is.
And that's why The Well-Fed Writer is, after all these years, still my most recommended book for new freelance writers.
Who is The Well-Fed Writer for?
Chances are good, if you're here at All Freelance Writing, you're exactly the kind of freelance writer who could benefit from the latest edition of The Well-Fed Writer.
For example, this book can help you if you write:
- website copy;
- sales letters;
- white papers;
- company blog posts;
- case studies;
- press releases;
- technical documentation;
- or any other type of writing you might do on behalf of a business or organization.
What about journalists and freelance magazine writers?
In all honesty, the marketing ideas here aren't tailored to those markets. But even so, I'd still recommend this book. Cold calling magazine editors might not work the way cold calling corporate prospects would, but there's more to The Well-Fed Writer that might be helpful for you.
For example, if things have been slow with your usual projects, you might find high-paying alternatives to pursue with your skills, even if it's temporary.
You'll learn how your fellow freelancers price their work and get clients to pay $100 an hour (and more).
And who knows? Maybe Peter's sales and marketing tips will even help you get more creative about how you pursue non-commercial gigs and close deals with editors.
What's new in the 3rd edition?
In addition to fresh edits, "tightening up" of the book as Peter put it, and updating where necessary (because, let's be real, a lot has changed over the last decade or so), you'll also find more background on some of the project types freelance commercial writers take on.
Personally, I love this. But admittedly, I'm also biased.
Peter asked me to contribute a short intro to public relations writing that appears in this new edition. And as a long-time fan of The Well-Fed Writer, I'm happy to have been able to contribute.
Side note: I've also contributed to the Well-Fed Writer email newsletter several times this year, with two more pieces due out in December and February. You can check those out in the e-newsletter archives and subscribe to make sure you don't miss upcoming editions.
In my contribution, I cover things like:
- what public relations is (and isn't);
- examples of PR writing projects you might take on;
- how some of what you might call "content marketing" now actually stems from PR;
- how much you can realistically make when you master a PR writing specialty (hint: it's a lot).
And I'm not Peter's only guest in The Well-Fed Writer.
You'll also hear from:
- Bob Bly on direct response copywriting;
- Casey Hibbard on writing case studies;
- Gordon Graham on white paper writing (NEW);
- and Beth Carter on content writing (NEW).
That barely brushes the surface of the project types covered in the new edition. If you're looking for a new specialty, or if you're hoping to introduce new services to your existing clients, you'll find plenty of ideas in The Well-Fed Writer.
Note: While the book introduces some of these freelance writing specializations, it doesn't go over the "how" behind each of them. But if that's what you're looking for, you can find it in Peter's course, The Well-Fed Craft.
In addition, you'll find new and updated information on using tools like LinkedIn and email marketing to build your freelance commercial writing business.
All in all, The Well-Fed Writer's new edition keeps all the best of the previous version, updates information where necessary, and gives you some new marketing tools and potential specialties to consider.
As has always been the case, I can't recommend The Well-Fed Writer highly enough. I truly consider it essential reading for anyone even considering a freelance copywriting, blogging, PR writing, or related career.