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The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  335 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews

In this era of entrepreneurialism, Atlanta freelancer Peter Bowerman shows those timid (but talented) souls how almost anyone can forge ahead as an independent writer. His advice is good, couched in brassy prose that is easy to read. He anticipates every conceivable question and issue, including typical charges, marketing oneself, types of available work, and deal

Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by Fanove Publishing (first published August 2000)
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Feb 09, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Yeah, I read self-help books from time to time. Sometimes a girl needs help. Sure, I might order it anonymously online and rip the unmarked package open in a dark room in my home, but I read them.

More specifically, I’ve read quite a few self-help books about freelancing recently. But this last one, The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman, really gave me the confidence to stop freelancing on the side and take the plunge into a full-time operation.

While many other freelance books play on the fanta
Sincere W.
Jun 30, 2012 Sincere W. rated it really liked it
To be honest, if I was to review this book based solely on readability, it would scrape by at three stars. You can tell that Bowerman enjoys writing... and that's not a good thing, especially when for a How-To book. As I was reading it, I was reminded of a line from True Grit: "not only does he continue to talk but he spills the banks of English."

With that said, this book still deserves 4 stars because, frankly, the information works. I would've made my money back on the book within 3 days of ge
Robert Medak
Oct 03, 2009 Robert Medak rated it it was amazing
The Well-Fed Writer (TWFW)
By Peter Bowerman

If you’ve ever entertained the thought of being a freelance writer, or as Peter calls it, Freelance Commercial Writer (FLCW), this book will give you all of the information you need to start and run a freelance business. While most people think magazines when they hear “freelance writing,” TWFW isn’t about writing for magazines, but rather “commercial freelancing” – writing for businesses, large and small – a lesser-known and exceptionally well-paying f
Kressel Housman
Boy, am I glad to finally get this off my "currently reading" list. I'm not saying it didn't have good information, but slogging through it was a CHORE! I learned a few new things, but it was mostly common sense, and since it was written in the 90's, it was soooo dated. Forget the "consider getting a cell phone" thing - what about the recession? Maybe writers could charge $50.00 back in the day of the "employees' market," but with the 10% unemployment rate of these days and the closing of so man ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Brad rated it liked it
Great information and inspiration for anyone looking to operate a freelance business. The information is tailored towards writing, but the principles would apply widely.

I was surprised to find a number of typos and errors, especially surprising since it's a book on becoming a professional writer. There were also a couple of instances where I felt the information was unclear, and others where I found it to be needlessly stretched out. With a better copy-edit, and generally tightening the book, it
Feb 23, 2014 Teri rated it really liked it
This was step two of beginning my business. Step one was getting the license. Bowerman really does cover everything needed to start a freelance writing career. Now I gotta go do it!
Maria Timonina
Dec 23, 2016 Maria Timonina rated it really liked it
Although a bit outdated with references to fax machines and floppy disks, this book is a terrific guide to keep on hand when establishing your business. It will also come in handy when dealing with specific client scenarios. I'll be keeping a copy in my home office for all the vital info that I will need in the future!
Whenever anyone asks me where to go for advice on how to become a freelance commercial writer, I send them directly to Peter Bowerman's website. He’s the guru on this topic. His book The Well-fed Writer was the best guide I’ve read to setting up a lucrative (that’s the well-fed part) copywriting business. It was so well-written, easy to understand and down to earth, that even if you didn’t want a career in commercial freelancing, by the end of the book, you were contemplating it. The book has no ...more
Terry Freedman
Jan 12, 2016 Terry Freedman rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-advice
The book is, in effect, a marketing manual for the would-be serious freelance writer. Thus there is much about how to choose products and services (free is not always second-rate compared to exorbitant, it turns out), and how to approach potential clients. There is good advice about website design and what you should provide on the site, a wealth of websites to explore, and guest sections by other writers (including a few I've come across in the blogosphere, and whom I respect as writers).

Mark Speed
May 10, 2014 Mark Speed rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Bowerman's angle is slightly different from that taken by Six-Figure Freelancing, which I reviewed here:

What's changed enormously since both of these books were written is that the internet has sucked out the demand for freelance journalism. I know of plenty of professionally trained journalists who can't make a living at it. Content has moved to blogs, which are often free, and newspapers and magazines are closing everywhere.

Bowerman describes how he spe
Apr 15, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it
As someone who wants to make money freelance writing, but has no idea of where to start and how the business works, this book was a gold mine. It was pretty well organized, covered a lot of information, and gave me the confidence to get going, though there's still a lot to learn.

I would have given it 5 stars, but one thing just drove me NUTS, and that was Bowerman's penchant for writing in sentence fragments throughout the book. Almost every section started something like this, "Got an ema
Rachel Helm
Aug 05, 2016 Rachel Helm rated it really liked it
I laughed along the way at the dated comments about technology (floppy diskettes are really important, and just you wait for CD and CDi technology to really take off!!), but the rest of the information really is sound. I wouldn't say this book gave me a ton of new info, but I wouldn't have been on the wrong track if I'd picked it up before reading other resources. The author included lots of details, and I got a handful of "light bulb" moments for markets that I hadn't immediately thought to inc ...more
Tom Burke
Dec 30, 2012 Tom Burke rated it really liked it
I saw a 30 minute video by Peter Bowerman a few weeks ago and was so impressed that I picked the book up from the library to learn more. After reading it I realized this was a resource I could not do without. I now have my own copy of this book as well as the sequel "TWFW: Back for Seconds" and even the highly recommended "Copywriters Handbook" by Bob Bly. "The Well Fed Writer" lays out simple, easy to follow steps on how to create your own freelance writing business. There is so much informatio ...more
Black Heart
Jan 24, 2010 Black Heart rated it really liked it
Great book on copywriting, and lots of excellent tips crammed into this volume on how to start your own freelance writing biz in 6 months or less (and with no experience, too!). I would've given it 5 stars, except that I still feel a bit lost here, wondering how to figure out which companies to target, and what to sell as my "niche," because I know that I've got lots of different types of writing and editing under my belt, but it's definitely a question of specialization.

And then it's all just c
Dec 16, 2013 Jessi rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
I had read good things about this book, and being a freelance writer I felt compelled to see what it suggested. After my first copy was stolen from my porch, I picked up another and eagerly dove in. At first it made sense, gathering materials and all that, but then it got a bit dated, like recommending I have a computer and a fax, and a phone, things that are usually in every home now. Even though it was written in 2000, a lot of it feels dated, like talking about invoicing which is already hand ...more
Jan 18, 2008 Elaine rated it liked it
The book was clearly written and offered a vast amount of concrete and helpful information and examples for the basics. The author has a chatty, engaging style that carried me through lots of detail. He is also a great cheerleader. I plan to read his bood on self-publishing soon.

My copy was published around 2001 which made it outdated for salary expectations, computer systems, and the internet. I also thought the title was misleading, because "writer" and "freelance writer" are broad terms, cov
Jenn Flynn-Shon
Jun 03, 2013 Jenn Flynn-Shon rated it it was amazing
A necessary reference tool for any Freelance Writer. Some slightly dated material on web writing but that's to be expected in such a fast changing industry. The benefits of direct advice, tips, hints and examples from Bowerman's own arsenal far outweigh any material that isn't current for 2013. I will buy his follow up. Bowerman is a new favorite Author for me - a budding Freelance Writer - and I'm thankful for his simple language and easy to understand descriptions. A must read for any Writer w ...more
Michelle Rittler
Oddly enough, I think the most valuable sections of this book had to do with the emotional aspects of kick-starting a freelance writing career. The motivating comments to keep going when things get frustrating -- and they WILL get frustrating -- were helpful since I'm reaching a lull in work.

The majority of the practical tips were outdated, however, since this book was written over a decade ago. Very little of the book is dedicated to the digital space or how to grow a freelance writing career/
Nichole Lawson
Mar 06, 2015 Nichole Lawson rated it it was amazing
I was so encouraged by this book. Just reading it made me feel like my dad was patting me on the head, telling me to be brave, and encouraging me to follow my dreams. All of that sentimental stuff! Seriously, though, Mr. Bowerman has written honestly and encouragingly. I am very thankful for the wisdom he shared.
Feb 09, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Outdated but still has solid, applicable advice. His warning about the dangers of chat rooms made me chuckle. You may have read similar advice somewhere else (though his is a great mix of practical and inspirational), however Bowerman's "if I can do this, anyone can do this" attitude might provide the motivation needed to jump into freelancing.
Sep 26, 2014 Duygu rated it it was ok
Dont spend too much money on it. Im sure some goodwill store somewhere is selling it for 0.99cents. By the way, he says things like "floppy discs" and "computers, if you have one of those..." Ummm this book is outdated.
Anna Rose
Mar 22, 2014 Anna Rose rated it it was ok
This book has many helpful tips for someone starting out as a freelance writer. However, the superior tone and belittling of other types of writing really bugged me. I really like the parts on certain types of copywriting and how to deal with clients. Yet it overall left me annoyed.
Leslie Patrick
May 17, 2015 Leslie Patrick rated it it was amazing
An extremely helpful book that covers everything you need to know to get started as a freelance commercial writer. I've been a freelance writer for over five years, and I still learned a lot from this book. Recommended.
R. Canepa
Feb 14, 2010 R. Canepa rated it did not like it
Some good info about writing/calling/drumming up some prospects, but the technological age of the book, overabundant pom-pom waving, and seemingly distorted as-of-2010 hourly rates do much to detract from its usefulness.
Linda Leon
Oct 14, 2012 Linda Leon rated it really liked it
Great book, very detailed in what is provided to help a person actually reach the status of a successful freelance writer. What I liked most were the good examples on how to do this and that he sets realistic expectations for those wanting to go this route.
Marcie Hill
Jul 19, 2012 Marcie Hill rated it it was amazing
Man, this provides everything I need to make an income as a corporate freelance writer. Peter Bowerman shares his experiences and knowledge in an engaging and entertaining manner. This is exactly what I needed at this time.
Apr 03, 2013 Angela rated it it was amazing
Another great book full of practial advice on how to succeed as a freelance writer. Some of the information is dated because of its focus on technology, which is now obsolete, but the majority of the book will always be valid and helpful so it's worth reading and learning from.
Becky C. Hennessy
Oct 12, 2008 Becky C. Hennessy rated it it was amazing
What can be said: This is a very good book by a master of freelancing success. He'll lay out his systems and infuse you with confidence.

His follow-up book is on my must-read list.
Ruth Portnoy
Jan 18, 2009 Ruth Portnoy rated it liked it
If you are trying to make writing into a money-making enterprise, read this book. It's got great suggestions. And they work. I've tried them.
Dana Severson
Mar 01, 2012 Dana Severson rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Good and informative but sometimes a little too much "motivational-speak" for me, if you know what I mean...that being said, you'll likely walk away from it feeling more empowered as a freelancer.
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The Well-Fed Writer 1 8 Oct 28, 2008 12:10PM  
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