Lately I’ve been engrossed in everything related to Freelance Writing. Part of my research has revolved around the words and advice of other freelance writers – which has included reading as much as possible about the freelance world. I’ve been reviewing books along the way – starting with a pair of career books by Michelle Goodman – and now I’ve just finished a book by a successful Canadian freelance writer and author, Paul Lima.
I attended a workshop on Freelance writing at the Maritime Writer’s Workshop and the instructor, Wendy Kitts, mentioned Paul Lima’s works a number of times. Naturally, I checked out his online offerings at www.paullima.com. He’s the author of 10 books, available in a number of formats, on a variety of topics including the Freelance Business, Copywriting, and writing specialized documents including media releases and non-fiction books.
I decided to purchase an ebook copy of Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Writing which is actually a combination of two of his previous works: The Business of Freelance Writing: How to Develop Article Ideas and Sell Them to Newspapers and Magazines and The Six-Figure Freelancer: How to Find, Price, and Manage Corporate Writing Assignments. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t read one without the other unless you are focused on either publication or corporate freelance work.
There’s something about Lima’s writing style that clicks with me. As I’ve mentioned in previous book reviews – I’m a no-nonsense kind of reader. I like things that are clean, easy to read, and without extra flourish or too many personal touches/stories. I learn best from things that are laid out and progress logically. Lima certainly gets it.
With 25 years of freelance experience under his belt, which is equivalent to my entire lifetime, Lima was not someone who I expected to relate to. However, despite our generational difference, I found the book was laid out to suit the needs of a beginner of any age or gender. Moreover, he was more than capable of explaining the technological side of writing, which evidently comes from his years of writing his technology column for the Toronto Star. I was impressed.
As for the book’s contents – you could hardly ask for more. I was please to be provided with a complete explanation of how to approach freelance writing from a business standpoint. Everything was covered: from overcoming a lack of previous portfolio work, to setting up your website, to defining business and marketing plans. If you follow along, you’ll come away with an understanding of what clients are looking for and drafts of business and marketing plans.
If there’s one thing that I’ve taken away from this book, it’s that successful freelancers treat their writing as a business. They are constantly marketing their services and pitching new companies in order to stay afloat. Failure to see writing as a business will make it impossible to write for a living.
I will come away from this book with a better understanding of how to pitch articles to periodical editors (including the basics for writing query letters and article leads) as well as a starting point for pitching my services to corporate clients. I’ve also come away with the draft of my first-ever business plan.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – it’s a great starting point for anyone who wishes to gain an understanding of the freelance writing business – no matter your age or education level. I would, however, recommend reading at a slow pace and completing each of the exercises in turn, otherwise you’ll be backtracking. This book is so saturated with valuable information that I’ll be re-reading it at least once more in the weeks to come.