If you want one good book on freelancing and you are just starting out, Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer by Jenna Glatzer is definitely it. Jenna walks through the query process, tells some juicy insider secrets and teaches those who are just starting out a ton about the business of writing. She has penned many an article including credits in Woman’s World, Woman’s Own, and Prevention. Glatzer is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest and has written several books including an authorized biography of Celine Dion.
There is a lot of information out there for the new freelancer, but you have to dig around in writing forums, magazine articles and books to find it–and it’s very time consuming. It can be difficult at first to tell the good advice from the bad. Glatzer’s book is a good starter resource that can help answer those “newbie” questions all in one place. Jenna has eaned herself the moniker “The Writer’s Writer,” and one of her specialties is helping other writers learn the business. This book is the perfect example.
See Jenna Glatzer’s blog or take a look at her impressive list of titles at her official site
When you’re writing for a living, diversity is the name of the game. If you can add photography to the mix, you’re instantly more marketable in more ways than one. Since one of my main strengths is music and culture writing, I’d be a fool NOT to be a writer/photographer.
When I first started taking pictures for my pieces, I used any old bag for the gear, but after getting the Quantaray Pro as a gift, I am completely sold on a dedicated bag for all my gear. I carry my Zoom H4 recorder, mics, camera and lenses, plus my laptop in the Quantaray Pro and have used the same one for years without so much as a broken zipper. We do a lot of different types of gear reviews at Freelance-Zone, but this one ain’t based on specs alone–I am a huge fan of this backpack and will definitely buy another one just like it when I finally kill it years from now after one location shoot too many.
Buy the Quantaray Pro camera/laptop backpack for $79.00
Deborah Ng’s FreelanceWritingGigs.com is one of our favorite resource sites. There is a good mix of traditional gigs with blogger opportunities, and the presentation is top notch. One of my personal compaints about some writer’s sites with job listings is inherent user-unfriendliness. Not so with FreelanceWritingGigs.com.
For new writers, this site is a treasure trove. Jennifer Chait’s “So What” should be required reading for anyone who presumes to put up a blog about…anything. I am also a big fan of “writer beware” articles, and the piece warning about a content site called Giant Wow made me about as happy as I can get without a “paid on acceptance” check involved.
As a full-time writer, I find FreelanceWritingGigs.com quite useful in a number of areas. Anyone who doesn’t scour a fellow writer’s links section is cheating themselves out of gigs and networking opportunities. It’s also the chance to meet new people in the same boat–all still waiting for paychecks due two months ago, hunting high and low for another chance to throw some words together for money and make them stick. Your friends might not understand your job, and your family may still think you’re on some kind of extended vacation, but your fellow writers understand.
If you aren’t familiar with this excellent resource, hop on over and get acquainted with FreelanceWritingGigs.com. Highly recommended.
At first glance, stock market genius Jim Cramer’s painfully frank biography Confessions Of A Street Addict might not seem like a writer’s cup of tea. What freelancer has the money to sink into stocks or the time to properly manage a portfolio?
That’s what I though plowing into this, but I was quite surprised to read about Cramer’s horror stories as a writer–working as a broke, literally homeless crime writer for the LA Herald Examiner. It’s hard to complain about a little freelancer cabin-fever when reading about a writer who lived in the back seat of his car when he wasn’t out hanging out at murder scenes. Jim Cramer learned a great deal the hard way as a writer, including a much publicized scandal that nearly got him indicted for writing about stocks that he also happened to be invested in.
He nearly lost his entire career because of a simple editorial mistake. (He was cleared of any personal wrongdoing, and if the facts as presented in the book are true, he didn’t really deserve any of blame.) Cramer repeatedly tried to walk away from writing as his stock market career took him into millions of dollars in personal success, but his love of the craft brought him back for the creation of TheStreet.com, and the rest is history.
In short, this is an AMAZING book to read from a struggling writer’s standpoint. You can learn a lot from Jim Cramer’s mistakes and his successes in and out of the writing game. This is making the rounds at Freelance-Zone, and it’s kept at least one of us up at night, unable to put the damn thing down.
Buy for $10.20
The Zoom H2 Handy Recorder is a simple, easy-to-use digital recorder custom designed for interviewing and on-location recording. The built-in mics are broadcast quality and even features a surround sound recording option. The Zoom H2 records to an SD card and has a USB port, letting you send audio files to your computer, or you can listen to the playback with headphones Best of all, it records to .wav or MP3 formats in a variety of quality settings–with a 4 gig SD card you can record two hours of audio at the highest .wav setting (96K) or a whopping 130+ hours of audio in MP3 format. A half-gig SD card is included, plus a USB cable and power supply. The H2 weighs only four ounces and uses two AA batteries. The Zoom H2 is perfect for interviews and podcasting, even as a budget location sound tool for indie documentaries or film projects.
Buy for $188.00
Sure, children’s writing is an overcrowded market. Every mom comes up with at least three ideas they’re sure would make a great kid’s book. Don’t get us wrong, we’d never discourage anyone from putting ideas together…but the market is vastly overcrowded. How do you get an edge on your competition? The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Guide has plenty of information and resources for the beginner. Knowing how things work in the world of children’s publishing definitely gives you an advantage, at least over the clueless competition. We’ll take a wild guess and say that for every person who properly submits to publishers in this genre, at least five people ahead of you at the post office sent manuscripts without a clue on how to avoid the reject pile. Don’t be one of them!
Buy for $17.81