The Well-Fed Writer : Financial Self-Sufficiency As a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less


Why Commercial Freelancing?

Writing drives business. In the course of communicating with its customers and employees, a typical corporation generates an enormous volume of writing. Yet, in today's downsized business world, the catchword is outsourcing. Many companies are asking: "Why pay salaries and benefits when freelancers-offering a range of talent and fresh "outsider" perspectives-give us only what we need, and only when we need it?"

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Why Commercial Freelancing?

Writing drives business. In the course of communicating with its customers and employees, a typical corporation generates an enormous volume of writing. Yet, in today's downsized business world, the catchword is outsourcing. Many companies are asking: "Why pay salaries and benefits when freelancers-offering a range of talent and fresh "outsider" perspectives-give us only what we need, and only when we need it?"

In TWFW, you'll learn what and where those writing projects are, how to land them, how to do them, how to get paid, and how to get hired again and again (even with less-than-brilliant writing ability...).

A Surprisingly Accessible (and Lucrative) Writing Direction...

With NO industry contacts, NO previous paid writing experience, and NO writing training, the author built a commercial writing business from fantasy to full-time in less than four months.

Have an unusual niche? Live in a small town? Need to start part-time? Terrified of "sales and marketing"? It's all here. Follow this step-by-step, blueprint for leveraging your background into a profitable writing practice that moves light years beyond "starving writing"!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967059877
  • Publisher: Fanove Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Pages: 339
  • Sales rank: 683,069
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction XVII

A Comfortable, Not-Unusual Week Nets $2,000

From NO Writing Background to Self-Sufficient in Under Four Months

The Joy of Doing What You Enjoy (Minus the "Finding-Your-Passion" Trap)

Adios, Online Sites; "UN-Commoditize" Writing, and Watch Income Rise

A Realistic Biz-Building Guide (i.e., Assumes You're a Lazy Human Being)

Two Assumptions: You're a Decent Writer & You Want to Make a Living at It

Book Addresses Wildly Different Circumstances, Backgrounds, Realities

Attn: "Marketing-Phobes"! Entire Chapter Devoted to Developing "Marketing Mindset"

Free Ezine, Blog and KnowledgeBase Await Those Ready to Get Serious

Chapter 1 Why Be a Freelance Commercial Writer (FLCW)? 1

High Demand for Writing Talent (i.e., Beaucoup Lousy Writers Out There...)

Unlimited Work: Businesses Have Extensive, Wide-Ranging, and Ongoing Needs Great Time For Freelancers (Courtesy of Downsizing and Outsourcing...)

Four Economically Sound Reasons Why a Company Would Hire a Freelancer

Live Life on Your Terms (The "Eating-Breakfast-at-10:00-a.m." Story)

Minimal Investment: Have Computer? That's Basically It...Seriously

A Huge Variety of Work-ADD'ers Rejoice!

Healthy Income-No More Ramen Noodles & Dodging the Landlady

Totally Different Financial Paradigm: ALL Your Time Counts (What a Concept...)

Be a Hit at Cocktail Parties (No Lampshade Necessary...)

What's Your Story? Attn: Journos, At-Home Moms, 55+, Recent Grads, Others!

Downsides (True for Any Writer, Actually...)

Chapter 2 What's it Take to be Successful? Healthy Traits and First Steps 13

Writing Ability-But Not as Much as You Think (AND You Can Get Better!)

Graphic Design Experience (NOT! Repeat After Me: "We're Just Writers....")

Ad Agency Experience (Double NOT! Dispelling the Silly Myth, Once and for All...)

Ability to Market Yourself; And BTW: It's Nowhere NEAR as Scary as You Imagine

Discipline-I'm Lazy, Believe It or Not (Just Like You...)

Technical Expertise-If I, THE Original Techno-Moron, Can Do It...

Being a Tenacious, Flexible, Reliable, Curious, Assertive Non-Conformist...

Being Easy to Get Along With Is Your Secret Weapon

Ability to Ask Lots of Dumb Questions = Less Work & Happier Clients

Getting Ready For Self-Employment-It's All in Your Head!

Get Mental, Make Money; And Remember: You Give the Raises Around Here

Getting Your Finances in Order

Business Names, Business Plans, and Business Cards-Three Ways to Procrastinate

Creating a Portfolio from Thin Air (AND Buying an Actual Portfolio...)

The Writer's Bookshelf: The Books You Need to Sound Brilliant

Chapter 3 Learning to Love S & M (Sales & Marketing...) 35

Success is Far More About a Process than a Personality

Marketing: What It Is and What It Isn't

You're in Control of More than Enough to Succeed

The Game Is Already in Progress; Just Learn Your Lines

That "Icky Sales Thingy": Bad Experiences, Bad Associations

B2B and B2C: The Definitions and the Differences

Marketing Lessons from a Former "Love Merchant"

Eight Sales Tips for Non-Salespeople (from Sales Training Firm CEO)

Real Sales: A Single-Bullet Assassination Story

All-Star "Sales" Stories: Not What You'd Expect "Sales" to Look Like

Into the Mind of the Marketer (C'mon in, the Water's Fine...)

Why Write Anything? (Hint: Think Like a 10-Year-Old)

Tune into WIFM ("What's In It For Me?") and You Win

Sales & Marketing Cornerstones: Learn and Earn

Who's the Audience? (Still the First Question)

Features Vs. Benefits (Stop Talking About Yourself...)

It's Not Just Business, It's Human Nature

Thoughts of Resumes, Releases, Books, Drill Bits and...Love

The USP (Every Company Has One...)

Are You "Branded"?-The Basics of Standing Out

Chapter 4 63

Tale of Two Writers-One with Web Site, One without. Guess Who Wins?

Writer Reluctantly Builds Site, Business Soars, Leaves Crummy Job

Web Site Goals: Marketing Simplified, Credibility Enhanced

The Point: Instant Access to Your Samples

What Yours Should Include (Less Is More...)

(Don't) Show Them the Money

Three Best Ways to Display Samples Online (Including MY Favorite...)

Sample-Posting Etiquette (i.e., Do You Need Permission?)

The $75 DIY Website: No Catch, No Kidding

Dozens of Commercial Writers Show Off Their Sites

Chapter 5 Where's the Business? 73

B2B, B2C, and "Internal" Communications: Enough Work to Last Forever

End Users (EU's) and Middlemen (MM's): Pros and Cons of Both

The BIG Small-to Medium-Sized Business Market: Upsides/Downsides

Corporate Roads Less Traveled: Hidden Pockets of Work in Big Firms

Proven "Drill-Down" Prospecting Techniques to Land the Big One

The Not-For-Profits: Where, Why, Who & How Much

Success "By Association": Writing for the Association Market

Back to School: Landing Work with Universities

Middlemen (MM's): As They Find Work, They Find Work for You

Graphic Design Firms: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Other MM's: Ad Agencies, Marketing Firms, PR Firms, Event Production Companies

Creative Temp Agencies & Technical Staffing Companies: Writing Gigs, for a Cut

Where and How to Find these Lovely Bill-Payers

Potent List-Builders: Online Phone Directories, Library Databases, & The Book of Lists

Leverage Any Career/Educational Background for Instant Competitive Edge

Sixty Potential Writing Clients (Most You'd Never Imagine...)

"Event-Full" Marketing: Big Events = Lots of Potential Copywriting Gigs

Online Job Sites: Definite Waste or Decent Wage? Depends...

Chapter 6 Cold Calling: No Cold Sweat, Just Cold Cash 107

Is Cold Calling Dead? (You Should Be So Lucky...)

Cold Calling Isn't the ONLY Way, But Get Comfy with It...

You're Selling a Professional Service, NOT Aluminum Siding...

Take the Quiz: "You Might Be an Annoying Telemarketer If..."

You Care + They Don't = Phone Phobia

Lessons from a Ballsy Door-to-Door Book Salesman

"Why Is It So Hard at First?" Here's the Surprising Answer...

Understand This and You'll Lose Most of the Anxiety

Become One With the Law of Averages...

"Everyone I Call Already Has a Freelancer" and Other Silly Excuses

The Nitty-Gritty, Cold-Calling How-To Details

Your Cold-Calling Script: Focus, Don't Freak

Crash Course: Dealing with Barbed-Wire Secretaries

Turning Voice Mails into Productive Feelers

Strategies for Maximizing Calling Success

The Critical Importance of Critical Mass

The Super-Duper Expanded Cold-Calling Script

Chapter 7 Nuts 'N Bolts: Letters, Meetings, Follow-Up, Phone Interviewing, Client Types and More 129

Six Snail-Mail Follow-up Letters Right at Your Fingertips

The Sample Copywriter's Résumé-Not Your Standard Format

The "No-Web-Site-Prospecting" Primer (Not Ideal, but if You Must...)

Client Meetings: Biz-Builders or Time-Wasters? Different Takes...

Different Types of Meetings: Preparation and Objectives

"The Discovery Questionnaire" (Or How to Look Really Good, Really Easily...)

Talk Money Before Meetings! (and Avoid $150-Brochure Clients...)

Showtime! Actual Meeting Dress, Agenda, Process, Do's and Don'ts

Ten Ways to Stay in Touch with Clients (Without Asking for Work!)

Google Alerts-Go from Basic Vendor to Valued Partner to Your Clients

Phone Interviewing Fundamentals-From Set-Up to Sign-Off

Crafting Testimonials that Make Clients Sound Fabulous

The Nuts 'n Bolts of Content-Gathering Interviews

One Simple Tip to Ensure Your Copy Hits the Mark Every Time

Working Smarter with Interns and Offshore Outsourcing (No Kidding!)

The Ebb and Flow of Work & Learning Your Work Rhythms

Three Cool Tips for Dramatically Maximizing Work Efficiency

Clients and Other Fascinating Species: From the Perfect to the Not-So

Chapter 8 Touching Your Market-By Direct Mail and Email 157

Direct Mail (DM): Proven Strategies and Resources

DM Tips From Industry Pro Avoids Common Mistakes

DM Postcard Houses: Fast, Easy, High Quality, Economical

The "Free Report" Direct Mail Strategy: Powerful and Proven

One Mailing to 77 Clients Yields $80K+ in New Business

A Novel (and Highly Effective) Direct Mail Approach

Is it a DM Postcard? A Case Study? Both!

FREE Direct Mail Through the USPS?

The ABC's of Email Marketing

How a Florida Freelancer Made Email Her Marketing Centerpiece

Chapter 9 Money Matters: How Much to Charge and How to Get Paid 169

Only Talk Flat Rates with Clients & Hourly Rates with Yourself

Debunking the Myth of "Standard" Writers Rates...

The Commercial Writing Field Just Pays Better. Period

Basics of Project Estimating (Hint: It's All About Time...)

Get Them to Talk First and Make More Money

Find a Mentor for Pricing and Other Mysteries

Laughably Simple, Anxiety-Free Ways to Raise Rates

Be a Pro, Not a Doormat

Got "Aggravation Fees"? The Red Flags that Warrant Them...

Discounted Meeting/Research Time? NO!

Need Contracts? Try the Simple, Adequate "Bid Letter" Instead

Don't Write that Proposal Until You Ask the 'Magic Question'!

"Spec" Work: Your Game, Your Call

A Neat Trick for Turning Invoices into Soft Selling Tools

Getting Upfront Deposits and Invoicing in Stages

Tracking Deadbeats: Getting Your Money the Nice Way

Chapter 10 The Well-Networked Writer 193

Keeping the Radar Up (Politely) Over Chips and Dip

Everyone You Know Works for Some Company Needing Writing

From Volunteer Work to Paying Work (and Barter, Too!)

Crafting "Elevator Speeches" and "Verbal Taglines" The Curious Psychology of Self-Employment

Getting the Most From Your Chamber of Commerce

Smart Networking-Going Where You're the Only Writer

A SERIOUS Networking Organization (Check It Out...)

Got Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo? The Basics of Social Networking...

Starting Your Own Writers Group (AND Taking the Idea to New Heights...)

Chapter 11 Full-Time Dream, Part-Time Reality 209

PT Biz-Building: How to Do It When You're a "9-5, M-F" Employee

Kansas City FLCW Still Holds FT Job and PT Writing Biz

FT Software Salesman Builds PT Writing Biz, Makes $163K in First FT Year

Tips For "Ethical Juggling" of Job and Part-Time Careers

Working Nights and Weekends Might Just Be What It Takes...

Chapter 12 Eating Well in Smaller Markets & Rural Areas (Bonus: Subcontracting!) 219

Seven Strategies for Thriving in Smaller Markets & Rural Areas

Geography Is Irrelevant; Prospecting Anywhere and Getting the Best of All Worlds

Gulf Coast Gumption: African-American Woman Flourishes in Florida

Heartland Harvest: Iowa Woman Makes It Happen

Minnesota Maxie: Using Creativity, Resourcefulness, and Partnership

Subcontracting: Small-Town Success by Managing a Writing "Stable"

Chapter 13 "How Do I Make $125 an Hour?" (or More!) 235

The Three Big Shortcuts: Talent, Marketing Chops, and Specialized Expertise "Spot Specializing": How a FT Generalist Profited from a PT Specialty

Demonstrating P-C-O to Clients: Professionalism/Competence/Ownership

Speed Boosts Rates: How One Fast Writer Regularly Earns $375 an Hour!

Take-No-Prisoners Attitude + Competence = One Lethally Profitable Combo

Six "Best-Bet Backgrounds" to Make $125 an Hour and Beyond

If $125 Isn't in the Cards, Would $60-75 (+ Great Lifestyle Bennies) Work?

The Great Debate: Generalist vs. Specialist-The Pros & Cons

Chapter 14 What Will We Be Writing? 245

Endless Work in Three Main Arenas: B2B, B2C, and "Internal"

"Who's the Audience?"-The First Question for Any Project

Got the Commercial Writing Chops? Surf 'n See...

Marketing Brochures/Corporate Identity Pieces

Crash Course: Creating a Simple Tri-Fold Brochure

Advertising Copy, Newsletters, and Direct Mail

(Guest) Bob Bly: Getting Started in Direct Response Copywriting

Press Releases, Web Site Copy

(Guest) Casey Hibbard: Knack for Storytelling? Give Case Studies a Try!

(Guest) Michael Stelzner: White Papers 101

Business Letters (Bonus: Three Attention-Getting Openings)

Marketing Emails & Landing Pages (with Input from a Pro)

Speeches: Speechwriter for 56 CEO's Offers Up the 411

Ghostwriting & Trade Articles

DVD/Video/CD Scripting (25-year Video Vet Offers "State of the Field")

Event Scripting, Hi-Level Proposals, Blog Writing

Technical Writing (vs. High-Tech Marketing Writing-BIG Difference)

Chapter 15 Final Words 283

"The 5% Rule: Why Success Is Easy"

No, the Market is NOT Saturated with Writers

Reality Check: It'll Be Easier for Some, Harder for Others. Like Life...

Bad Days in this Business Are Like Bad Days at the Beach

Take the First Step, and Watch What Happens...

Appendix A Well-Fed Writing Resources 289

Books, Web Sites, Ezines, Blogs, Writing Groups, National Organizations, and More...

Appendix B Well-Fed Success Stories 301

General Success Stories

Niche Practitioners

At-Home Moms (AND Dads!)

Appendix C The Deluxe Well-Fed Tool Box & The Well-Fed Writer's Time Line (you're going to want these...) 323

Index 327

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    voluminous guidance, tips, and techniques for the freelance writer

    This is a companion handbook to Bowerman's previous The Well-Fed Self-Publisher. Its subtitle How to Turn One Book Into a Full-Time Living mirrors the subtitle of this book. Picking up where books on writing leave off--and usually leave the writer dangling--the concept of both books is earning money from writing. The self-publishing handbook goes into working with a book one has written; whereas this book goes into getting writing work from others. Bowerman is himself a prime example of what can be done in either enterprise. His Well-Fed Self-Publisher sold more than 50,000 copies bringing in enough income for him to support himself for seven years. Bowerman's enthusiasm and savvy as a motivational seminar leader and business coach carries into his books.

    The author first lays out the terrain which he realizes is unfamiliar and thus somewhat forbidding to many writers. Marketing especially can be off-putting for writers used to working alone. In a full chapter titled Learning to Love S&M (Sales & Marketing), Bowerman gives guidance on developing a mindset for overcoming this. Early on, he also clarifies that his guidance and coaching are not aimed at having the writer "find your passion." Determined poets and novelists are not the target audience; though the handbook does contain material such writers could benefit from in getting their writing known to the public.

    Bowerman thus focuses on practicalities, techniques, and tools. The tools are few--basically a computer and some promotional materials. It is what the commercial writer can do with these which generates work. A good website is a basic. Bowerman relates favorable design and optimum content for a website. The computer is also invaluable for promotion, communication with clients, management of tasks, and delivery of assignments.

    The author gives not only psychological advise for feeling confident in making cold calls and other techniques for getting assignments, but also deals with practicalities of appropriate contacts in corporations and other businesses, proper research and preparation before approaching them, and focusing one's sales pitch to induce interest and at least leave an impression which may be beneficial in the future when not landing an assignment at the time.

    Bowerman does not leave out anything of worth to the skilled writer wanting to get into the field of freelance commercial writing. Though as Bowerman advises, the writer wants to give quotes by a job, not hourly rates, hourly rates can range from about $60.00 to $125.00 or more for some specialized areas. The book's one weakness is that while it is systematic, it sometimes doesn't seem systematic with the author's enthusiastic desire to get in as much as possible to be as helpful as possible and the plain, simple formatting. Better use of graphics, including more imaginative use of type sizes and styles, would have made the book more reader-friendly. But this isn't really a drawback considering the patent relevance, usefulness, and guidance of this work of consummate interest to freelance writers in varied fields.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fantastic book

    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 freelancing specialty, where hourly rates can run $50-125 and more.

    The bad news is that, like any business, if you don't do the work described in this book, you won't succeed. TWFW provides all the information necessary for creating a thriving freelance commercial writing business, but you must follow through. Should you purchase it? If you have ever thought of writing for a living like this reviewer has, yes.

    The good news, according to TWFW, is that if you follow and implement the principles laid out in its pages, you can create an income that will allow you to leave the cubicle world and work from home on your terms. Reading TWFW is the first step. The book is full of information from someone who's been there and done the work, and is helping others by writing this book.

    Topics covered include: Why become freelance commercial writers (writing for businesses) in the first place? The traits and first steps to becoming successful; sales and marketing fundamentals; all about websites; where to find the work; cold-calling; what to charge and how to get paid; networking; working in small markets (for those in rural areas); resources, and more can all be found in this wonderful book. This great reference should have a prominent place in your home office. It is within reach on mine. Read it before you begin and you'll save yourself a lot of trial and error.

    Reading the success stories will show you it works no matter where you live. This reviewer lives in a town with a population of 1,600. For anyone considering writing as a way to make an income, this reviewer recommends purchasing this book. Also, check out The Deluxe Well-Fed Tool Box & The Well-Fed Writer's Time Line (discussed in the book).

    This reviewer recommends this book for those thinking about freelancing (five-star rating).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2010

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