I find many “how to” books on writing, freelance writing, and self-publishing tend to have much of the same information because many of these writers are writing these books as a source of income rather than relating personal experience. There are exceptions to the rule such as Andrew Ardmore’s book “How to Become a Freelance Writer: The Complete Guide to Making Money from Home.”
Often these types of books offer nothing more than a listing of all the online locations like Odesk, Elance, and Freelance Writers Marketplace and tell you to fill out the profile and start offering your services. While these locations are not the ideal in creating a livable wage, it is a way to start out from scratch.
Andrew explains further why you should consider these sites even though they are looked down upon by many freelancers. When you’ve just started and you’ve little to show in terms of a portfolio the options are limited. How do you contact clients and build on your customer base? How can you make sure you get paid and make sure you are protected from scams? How does someone start from zero and work their way up? These are the questions most newbie writers want to know and sadly, they are often the most unanswered questions in these types of books. Andrew takes these questions and answers them truthfully and provides a blueprint on how he started his own business. Note that he tells you this information is how he started and that it might not work for you, but you may learn a thing or two about the industry by reading about his experience.
While every writer is different and every experience is relative, the step-by-step explanations found in this book are helpful. As a writer myself, I often wonder about those writer marketplaces and have shied away from them because of all the horror stories and because I didn’t have a grasp on what these types of places could do for me.
Andrew doesn’t pull punches; he tells you right away that it’s not as easy as signing up and getting paid. It can take time to find your first client, and likely you will be paid very little for your hard work, but what Andrew does is tell you how you can grow this type of work to create your own business in a way that doesn’t interfere with your current life.
Starting out small is only the beginning and he takes you through the pitfalls and explains how and why things work the way they do in these types of marketplaces. He also tells you how you can take these writing opportunities and turn them into more than just a one-time low paid fee. Everyone has to start at the bottom and getting your feet wet with these types of sites will help you learn more about the business of freelance writing. With this in mind he provides examples of how he won over his customers, increased his rates, and eventually had people coming to him for work.
His experience in the business (5 years) has been pitted with success and failure and he is candid about what a bad reveiw did to his writing career and how he bounced back. The information he provides is personal and unique, but it is relevant as it provides a more in-depth introduction on what you have to accomplish to succeed as a freelance writer.
I do wish he had gone a bit further into the specifics of what he does when he contacts individual clients, and how to deal with the pricing once leaving the online writing sites, but he does discuss why you should start off with what he calls his “price penetration technique.” Just because you start out at low prices to get attention and work, you should not stay there but instead grow your business. He talks about how often people will do the first step and offer low rates, but they never go beyond that to increase their opportunities and thus they find themselves stuck in a low-paying situation which often leads to dissatisfaction and ultimately and end to an interest in writing.
I do have a bone to pick with Chapter 10 “Alternative ways to find writing clients” which was not much of a chapter. There were several links and a few ideas with supporting information, but it wasn’t much more than a quick few options and would have preferred this chapter been more comprehensive. This is where I can see the most potential for this book, but sadly it was lacking.
Andrew Ardmore does a decent job in providing more information than most books in this genre. He does offer some great advice in streamlining your work and making the most of your time and effort with better optimization of your writing skills. For this reason the book was a winner and something I would recommend. The book does offer great tips and gives you a starting point if you’ve not worked as a freelancer.
If you currently work as a freelancer, this is perhaps not the book for you as it is geared more toward people with little to no knowledge of the industry.
Overall I recommend How to Become a Freelance Writer by Andrew Ardmore for anyone interested in learning more about becoming a freelance writer. The information provided was informative and provided great examples. There is room to expand on the topics and the book is a quick read, but with the value offered I give it a 3.5 stars out of 5.
For another source of income as a Freelance writer – consider PLR or Private Label Rights. Don’t know what that is or how it can make you money? Check out my article “What is PLR and How can I Make Money with it?”
Thank you for reading, have you read other books on this subject? Would you recommend them? Feel free to leave a comment.