Looking forward to starting your freelance writing career? Or turning a side hustle into a full-time freelance writing business?
But before you step into the freelance writing business, you should be prepared. Because freelance writing is not a cakewalk.
It takes a lot more than only writing a blog post. Freelance writers have to deal with all aspects of the business. Be it networking, pitching their services, or filing taxes.
The more you learn, the more chances you have to become a successful freelance writer. That’s why I would recommend reading books.
Books are the best source of learning. Reading books can help you develop skills useful for your freelance writing business. The books you need to read depend on your specified goal.
Also, you wouldn’t want the things you read to go over your head, right?
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the twelve best books that will fit your specific goal and help you learn the secrets of a freelance writing business.
How to Know Exactly Which Book to Read First
Before diving deep into the list, let’s understand how to use them as a guide to freelance writing.
Always read the book with a fresh mind and keep a notebook. Grab your favorite book or the one that excites you the most. Read it downright, take notes and apply them in your writing.
Pick a book that – fulfills your writer needs and teaches you tips and tricks.
Import the best ideas and try to imitate them in your current work. Don’t overthink and practice the concepts. Even 30 minutes a day will make all the difference and help you write more creatively.
“Reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
— Annie Proulx
Best Books For Freelance Writers (You’ll Ever Need)
The books given below are categorized into four different categories:
1. Books on being a writer
2. Books on productivity and time management
3. Books on starting as a writer
4. Books on advertising and business
Books on Being A Writer
1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephan King
On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft is a must-read book on King’s life journey of becoming a writer. The book talks about his early exposure to writing and his attempts to publish.
In the book, King illustrates the childhood stories that made him a successful writer. Besides the wild stories, he also shares valuable lessons. The book talks about the structure and mechanics of writing compositions. You’ll also learn about the important factors to consider while writing craft.
The book helps you peep inside his mind and understand how he crafts those bizarre plots and ideas. The book will help you understand the perfect frame of mind for a writing life.
The book will help freelance writers peer inside their readers’ minds to write better.
2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Author: Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird is a small guidebook for budding writers. One of the best books to develop a growth mindset to become a good writer. In the book, Anne reflects upon her thoughts and experience. She uses storytelling to make you feel connected with her personal stories.
Anne emphasizes the power of routine and finding a voice and passion for writing.
My key takeaways from the book that has helped me build a strong foundation for my writing:
1. Building a routine of writing daily
To become an effective writer, you must develop a habit of writing daily. It helps the brain infuse creativity and express thoughts more efficiently.
2. Believe your writing skills no matter what others say
You might not be the best writer when you start writing, but you’ll become better with time. Fall in love with the process and not worry much about the outcome when starting.
3. Connect with fellow writers
Writers fall into the trap of self-isolation which affects their writing. It’s better to connect with fellow writers and discuss new ideas. Take inspiration and constructive feedback on your writing. This will help you understand your flaws, and become better at them by working on flaws.
3. The Elements of Style
Author: Willam Strunk Jr.
Great writing demands clarity of thought and proper use of grammar. Writers should learn certain elements of writing. These elements bring authority to their writing and make their talent praiseworthy.
“The Elements of Style” teaches you the same. It teaches you about grammar, clarity, conscience, word choice, and style. If a writer masters these skills, they can express themselves in the language of their reader. And writers need to understand what their readers want to read.
The book teaches you about the importance of clear writing. Avoiding fancy words. Writing in clear words to convey the meaning of their writing.
The more your practice, the more you’ll be able to write with more clarity.
Books on Productivity and Time Management
1. A Writer’s Guide to Persistence
Author: Jordan Rosenfeld
A Writer’s Guide to Persistence talks about contentment in one’s writing journey.
In the book, Jordon talks about how fame and fortune can distract you from your true purpose.
“To express yourself through your words.
He talks about dealing with the regular chaos of the world and the feeling of loneliness. He shares advice and techniques to avoid burnout and find balance in your busy life.
You’ll learn about the perfect tune and resilience in your writing. You’ll learn how to do quality editing, how to polish your work, and how to publish your work.
This a simple guide for anyone who is starting their freelance writing journey. To help you find encouragement and motivation from already-established writers.
2. Productivity Planners for Freelance Writers
Author: A. Energize
Time management is an essential element for the success of a freelance writer. Freelancers juggle a lot of things. Thus, they need to keep a track of their activities and give productive hours to the work.
The book Productivity Planner teaches you about the same. The book will help you learn and provide strategies to be productive. You’ll learn how to save time and do focus work.
The book comes with enough planning sheets to track your business’s financial goals.
3. Your Work-From-Home Life
Author: Becca Anderson
Your Work-From-Home Life is a productivity guide for freelancers. The book is useful for those working from home as a freelancer. writer. In the book, Becca advises on planning, budgeting, contingency plans, etc.
Becca talks about taking advantage of technology and time-to-time breaks to avoid burnout. She also talks about the importance of deep and focused work to achieve deadlines.
She also talks about prioritizing self-care while working from home. And how it can help you rejuvenate your energy levels and perform better at different tasks.
Books on Starting as a Writer
1. Pyjama Profit: The Millennial’s Guide to a Sustainable Freelance Career
Author: Varun Mayya and Abhinav Chikara
Pyjama Profit is a freelancer’s bible. It is for millennials who want to start their freelancing journey. The book shares a perspective of working as a full-time freelancer.
The authors share their rich experience and valuable information about the freelancing world. They have explained everything from the basics. They’ve talked about leveraging social media as a marketing tool to build a successful freelance writing business.
They’ve emphasized mastering in-demand skills to become an expert in your domain.
In this book, you’ll learn about:
- Building a skill
- Communicating your value
- Bidding on proposals
- Sending personalized cold emails
- Personal branding
The authors have also shared brief pajama categories and a list of online courses. These courses will help you enhance your skills as per market standards.
If you wish to read this book, then don’t wait. Go for it!
2. 365 Days of Freelance Writing
Author: Carton Kilmann
Being a self-employed freelance writer can be challenging. Most of you want to be your boss or want the flexibility of time to work. But that’s not the case.
365 Days of Freelance Writing has defined what is “freelancing writing”. Carton has shared 365 days of journey as a freelance writer. His transparent and honest advice will help every freelance writer plan ahead into the writing journey.
You’ll be able to understand what it takes to be a full-time freelance writer and run a successful business. You’ll get a thorough understanding of:
- Client Acquisition
These strategies will help you define a base for you as a freelance writer. You’ll be able to focus on expanding your business within less period.
3. Steal Like an Artist
Author: Austin Kleon
“Steal Like an Artist” is a manifesto for Creativity in today’s era! Every freelance writer feels lost when starting their writing journey. You feel you need to write something extraordinary that no one said ever.
This book highlights the exact point and also gives valuable information to follow. In this book, Austin states that “Nothing is Original”. He talks about how we’re influenced by something or another. And it’s in our hands to pick “good” or “bad”. We’ve to find a way to find good work and imitate it.
The more you imitate, the more you’ll be able to emulate soon. Don’t wait until inspiration strikes your mind. Write what you want to read. Take inspiration from others and mix it up with your imagination.
If you’re a new freelance writer, then this book is a must-read to overcome the barrier of perfection.
Books on Advertising and Business
1. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Author: Tim Ferris
Have you ever felt stuck in your current job or not been able to live the life of your dreams?
If you wish to be your own boss, work from different parts of the world and become a successful freelance writer, then this book will help you achieve all.
Tim Ferris is a New York Times best-selling author for his book The 4-Hour Workweek. In his book, Tim has given a step-by-step blueprint to build a successful career out of your passion and say goodbye to your boring 9 to 5 corporate life. The book talks about earning more money in less time.
Tim talks about managing time smartly. He talks about working on important things, delegating, and automating work the rest. He talks about creating a “To-do list” and “NOT-to-do list”.
“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.”
Tim suggests using the 80/20 Pareto principle. It means spending your time on 20% of things that gives 80% of the results.
If I’ve to pull out 3 learning from the book, then these learning will be:
- Be effective, not efficient
- Validating your business ideas
- Charge a premium to make your life easier
If you wish to become a freelance writer and looking for guidance, then 4-Hour Workweek is a masterpiece. It will not only motivate you but help you develop organizational skills.
In the book, Tim doesn’t talk about how to save or find your next dream job. He talks about how to make the most of your free time and automate your income.
2. Breakthrough Advertising: How to Write Ads That Shatter Traditions and Sales Records
Author: Eugene M. Schwartz
Breakthrough Advertising is considered a gem in copywriting industry. If you wish to get started as a copywriter, then this book shares the most practical advice.
Eugene has breakdown the process of gaining the attention of your target audience and then selling to them over and over again.
His advice will help you understand your audience better and generate more income. The book talks about understanding human psychology and developing marketing skills.
The more you understand consumer behavior, the more money you can make.
Important key takeaways to writing effective copy for your brand are:
- Mass desire
- Stages of Awareness
- Ways to strengthen your headline
- Stages of market sophistication
- The optimal length of the copy
- 7 techniques for breakthrough advertising
So ready to start your copywriting journey?
3. Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Make More Money
Author: Kelly James Enger
Many freelancers start with the hope of making money fast. But it becomes difficult to juggle between pitching, networking, writing, invoicing, and whatnot.
In the book, Kelly talks about how it is possible to become a six-figure freelancer in less time. She emphasizes different factors such as:
- Time management
- Adopting a business mindset
- Identifying lucrative markets
- Having friendly relationships with clients and editors
- Setting short and long-term goals for your business
- How to write for magazines, blogs, publications, etc.
Six-Figure Freelancing will teach you practical approaches to growing your freelance career.
Scope of Freelance Writing
Freelance writing has enormous potential. Since 2020, more people are working from home than ever. With the increase in remote work, demand for freelance writers will rise. According to Standford University Research, 42% of the U.S. labor force works from home full-time.
Companies are building an online presence. They need skilled freelance writers to create unique and original content for websites.
The Freelancing writing career has a great scope in the future. It offers many opportunities to learn and make money on the job.
Read Your Way to Become a Better Freelance Writer
I’ve mentioned a good number of books to help you become a good writer — but do not fall into the trap of reading only.
Only reading won’t help you become a good writer and increase your income. Practice what you’ve read. Using day-to-day imaginations and experiences can help you craft mesmerizing stories.
Books can help you bring structure to your writing and helps with the main act – the act of writing. So break off your search and start reading and writing.
With constant efforts, you can improve your writing skills and become a successful freelancer writer.
So which book has helped you most in your freelance writing journey? Let me know if I missed any books. Add them to the comments list below!