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The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work, and Thrive on Your Own Terms

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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Prime Your Freelance Writing Career for Success!

So you want to be a freelance writer. Great! But now you're faced with a laundry list of questions: Should I freelance full time or part time? Should I write for magazines, newspapers, or online markets? How do I dream up the perfect article idea, and how do I pitch it successfully? How do I negotiate contracts, foster relati
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Paperback, 234 pages
Published November 16th 2015 by Writer's Digest Books (first published October 19th 2015)
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Tana Schiewer
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For the past month, I've been on a binge of reading everything I can get my hands on regarding freelance writing. So far, Petit's book is the best I've come across.

Throughout his book, Petit takes the reader through the process of getting started in the "freelance business." Not only does he provide extremely clear instructions, he does so with a sense of humor that makes the book even more enjoyable. He also provides many examples of what to do - and what NOT to do - which makes the information
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Nazire
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
He is a bit pompous, and tries really hard to impress and connect with the writer. His anecdotal stories sometimes got insufferable. But that said, I found this to be one of the better written books on Freelancing. He is detailed without getting monotonous, and he is not constantly repeating the same information he covered a page earlier. He is informative, and I really liked that he took you step by step through the whole process. The two chapters in the middle were really long. I wish he would ...more
Scott J Pearson
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Those who follow me might notice a trend. I am reading a series of books on freelance writing and on writing and communication in general. This book, part of a series by Writer’s Digest, talks about how the author continues to pursue a career in freelance writing.

Petit talks about the art of the query (i.e., pitching an idea), how to freelance both as a full-timer and as a part-timer, and what to expect from the business end of the transaction. For his credential, Petit is a senior editor at Wri
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Katie Minion
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: improvement
I think this book is great for journalists, but not as helpful for technical writers who have a strong niche. A lot of this book talked about how to pitch stories to magazines and newspapers, which isn't something I plan on doing too much of (if at all).
Bookalicious
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, read-yearly
This book is a goldmine. Zachary Petit is an experienced writer and editor, so you know you’re in good hands. Although I plan on further enriching my knowledge on writing through other books on the subject, honestly I could stop after this one if I so choose. It’s just that concise.

Be aware, however, that this book is geared specifically towards writers wanting to submit to magazines and newspapers. If that’s you, then this is a must read.

Not only is Petit clear and thorough, he also manages to
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JoAnn Johnson
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This book touts as the answer to all your freelance writing questions; however, I didn't feel any more educated than before I read the first page. Granted, it does explain most freelancing lingo and basics of the business, but I already knew most of that.
I appreciate the section on deconstructing a query. Maybe I was expecting a step-by-step explanation as to what I am doing wrong in the business and suggestions on how to fix it?
The book is useful and insightful, but do not think, if you read it
...more
Gregg
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalism
User-friendly, conversational and incredibly helpful, both for the novice and the seasoned professional who needs some pointers about the business or how to market their work. Highly recommended.
Carrie
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiring freelancers/writers
I couldn't have found this book at a more perfect time. When I as a writer have decided that time's a-wastin', and it was high time to get myself out there and start submitting to literary magazines. I'll never make it as a writer if all I do is dream about it right?

Not only does Petit know his stuff (being a freelance writer himself AND a magazine editor) and offer helpful advice, but he's a pretty funny guy - including plenty of writer/publisher-type humor to make it a fun and engaging read,
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Tina
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is a lot of good info in here delivered in a concise and approachable manner. Petit adds in a some humor and personal voice to keep it interesting. The content is definitely focused on freelance writing as a journalist for newspapers or magazines, so keep that in mind. I was hoping for a little more content about freelance writing for businesses, so some of this didn't feel entirely relevant to what I was personally seeking. At the same time, I still found a lot of useful content about wri ...more
Jessica Cross
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great resource for those looking to enter the writing field, especially those looking to work for newspapers or magazines. Zachary Petit offers valuable information to help you kick start your career and start off on the right foot, and he covers every aspect of having work published from pitching ideas to submitting to publication to getting paid...and of course everything in between. Very conversational , making it easy to read and surprisingly funny at times. Definitely a resource I'll be com ...more
Jessica
The main take-away I had from this book is that I'm already ready to freelance write, I just need to do it. I'm not sure how this book would play for someone who is starting earlier in their career (I've already got a PhD, am a published writer, and an editor). The most useful chapter was the business one, and I wish it had been longer. It is a quick read and informative. (though not as funny as the back cover would lead you to believe)
Matt
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the most informative and concise book on freelance writing I've ever read. Petit offers instructions and examples, as well as explanation regarding what is always true, sometimes true, and totally fluid in the freelance marketplace. His writing is pithy and entertaining, and he speaks with an impressive portfolio to back up the talk.
Samantha
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the humor and easygoing approach this book takes in explaining all the essentials. It would have been nice for the author to go into a bit more detail with some parts (particularly the bit about contracts and financing/taxes), but overall it was a great read and a book I shall be referring to again when I get my freelancing going.
Colette
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly is an essential guide to freelance writing.

Everything from starting freelance writing to style, from editors to edits,and publications to payments and everything in between. It also includes bonus links to useful articles on WritersDigest.com. Based on the author"s recommendation, I also subscribed to Writer's Digest and am glad I did. I would recommend this book.
Donald
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
The book is sort of light and conversational but it appropriate for the situation. Mostly just works through expectations that you'll face as a writer before you have to deal with them, like the terms people use, what to do during interviews, etc... It was a good first book to read about something that I've started doing without knowing what I'm doing.
Cheryl
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Even though I have been freelancing writing for three years, a lot of the information is helpful. I enjoyed the humor peppered throughout and often in the footnotes. My favorite parts were explaining the masthead, the structure of different types of articles, and working with editors. I wish the author explained more about how to submit to trade journals but otherwise I enjoyed the book.
Andrew Lind
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Zack's humor along with interviews he has with such people as Neal Adams and Joe Hill make this book worth reading. The only negative part of the book is it is slow in the beginning, but like with a meal, you gotta eat your vegetables before you can dive into the meat, potatoes, and the dessert (PS The dessert starts around page 184)
Andrew Post
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
Probably the most helpful, approachable, and digestible book on writing I've ever read. Funny, too. Lots of helpful (and most importantly of all, encouraging) stuff in the appendices, too. Gave me the oomph I needed to try to launch my freelancing career. Thanks, Zach!
Chris
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found the overview of pitching to publications very helpful. I took extensive notes so I could easily reference the advice in the book, but I plan to purchase my own copy as well. Highly recommend for anyone getting into freelance writing.
Melissa Boles
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely a good starter for someone interested in being a freelance writer. It wasn’t my favorite “how-to” ever, but I learned things from it and it got me to spend some time putting together my website. Certainly helpful!
Kathy
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easily readable, and a good introduction to the industry. I read it, even though I've been freelancing for a long time, because I've been doing it more as side work and I'm wanting to focus more on freelancing again. It was a good refresher for me, but would also be great for newbies.
Benjamin Letharbarrow
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What I would give to have read this book ten years ago. Now I’m looking back on previous forays into writing and journalism, and kicking myself. What a book.

Essential reading to writers of any kind.
Sally Kilpatrick
This is the rare book that is both informative AND entertaining. I feel more confident about how to query a nonfiction article now, and I'm keeping this one in the office because I'm sure I'll refer back to it. Even better? I was quite amused.
D.J.R
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As concisely written as any aspiring scribe could hope for. Petit will not string you along with generalizations like many of this book's ilk will do. "There's a set of stairs. That is your plot. Walk up the stairs. Now you're on the landing and ahead of you is a door and behind that door is your novel, open it. The room is dark, but don't turn on the light, for your novel wants to be found not shown. Feel for it in the darkness, stretch out your arms, wave them in front of you until you touch i ...more
Hailey Hudson
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Well-written, funny, and oh so helpful--a must for every freelance writer and freelance writer wannabe.
Anthony
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some really helpful and practical advice.
Lozza
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Informative and enjoyable read. Learned lots on getting a foot in the door with magazine and publication editors. Great tips and ideas.
Now to put them into action.
Mayalekach
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book to own
Daniel Rosehill
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A basic introduction to freelance writing. Didn't find much new information here.
Marco Frey
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
One day before stores shuttered to Covid in NYC, I decided to stroll down 7th Avenue to the Park Slope Barnes & Noble. I know I should support local bookstores but I just had to get this book. I had a stray thought that, with my music career uncertain, this may be the time to nurture my second, dormant, passion.

Anyways, I enjoyed the book; it's practical as well as motivating. It's straightforward and goes over the necessary bullet points, from pitching to taxes.

I found the formatting to be la
...more
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Zachary Petit is the editor of the National Magazine Award-winning publication PRINT, a freelance journalist and a lifelong literary and design nerd. Formerly, he was the senior managing editor of HOW magazine and PRINT, the longtime managing editor of Writer's Digest magazine, and executive editor of several related newsstand titles. Alongside the thousands of articles he has penned as a staff wr ...more

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