I recently received a copy of Rachael Oku’s e-book Become a Freelance Writer: Your complete guide to the business of writing. For those of you not in the know, Rachel founded the fantastic Creative Bloc, a social enterprise for freelance writers.
Outside of her work on Creative Bloc, Rachel is a freelance editorial consultant, editor and writer, and this is her first book. Her experience speaks for itself, so you know that she is more than qualified to advise on the business of becoming a freelance writer. I should say upfront that this isn’t for someone thinking about becoming a writer, i.e. embarking on a degree. It is assumed that anyone reading this book is already a qualified/experienced writer and that they are looking for help in making money from it. As Rachel says, it’s ‘a call to action for all the writers I’ve met who lack the self-confidence or business savvy to effectively promote and sell their work’.
I found the book really interesting as someone who has a journalism degree and experience as a published writer but having made no money from my writing. Rachel focuses on building a successful brand and advises readers on how to position themselves as experts and create a platform online using blogs and social media. There is a huge emphasis on self-promotion and networking, which, reassuringly, is easy enough to do even if you work from home and are based primarily online. She also dedicates a chapter to the logistics of making an actual living from selling your work, including pricing your work and monitoring your cash flow.
My experience of trying to ‘make it’ as a freelance writer since graduation has been hindered mainly by my issue of self-confidence and discipline, which is where this book really helps. Rachel provides information on building your discipline in a way that isn’t patronising, from the basic idea of writing daily, to reading widely. I made a good few pages of notes, featuring ideas that I will definitely be implementing in the near future, including making a note of when I’m most productive and using that time wisely, and making the most of the free online opportunities. I also plan to further develop my portfolio and use this as a stepping stone when it comes to pitching to big name publishers and editors.
Despite my five years of higher education, I didn’t know much about how to get work as a journalist aside from just going out there and pitching. Become a Freelance Writer is a short guide to the actual business of writing and breaks it down into manageable chunks, so that it doesn’t seem too daunting. There is also a substantial resources section at the end which offers websites for readers to visit to collaborate and network with likeminded writers, as well as enter competitions. Considering it’s just £4.12 for a Kindle download from Amazon, I’d say it’s well worth it.