10 Books Every Freelance Writer Needs to Read for Business Success

To Be a Writer You Gotta Read

Renee Rose
May 1, 2020 · 10 min read
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I consider myself quite a reader. I also consider myself a pretty adept writer as well. I subscribe to the idea that in order to be the best writer you can possibly be, you have to be a consistent reader as well. In my line of work, however, there are certain books that I recommend solely for the purpose of boosting your own career as a freelance writer.

Whether you are an amateur blogger or someone who has recently made the decision to start building your own writing business, you need to read a lot and write frequently. While you’re reading, it would really be nice if all of the information you’re soaking up like a dry sponge weren’t useless information, right? That’s why I’m recommending 10 books that every freelance writer should read.

If you have yet to read these books, do yourself a service and check them out immediately. The key to true success in our craft is to develop our skills consistently over time and by reading these books that’s just what you’ll be doing! Let’s get started.

There’s a reason that Timothy Ferriss’s book tops my list of the 10 books every freelance writer should read. This book was majorly impactful on my decision to dive in headfirst and pursue my career as a full-time freelance writer. To this day I still pick up this book and flip through a few of my favorite chapters just to gain a bit of extra motivation to continue forward.

Take it from me, this book is like medicine for the entrepreneurial soul; something you’ll need to keep well-fed with books like this if you hope to succeed as a freelance writer.

In The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss rallies up the troops and implores us to break free from the dreaded 9–5 lifestyle instead opting to become what he calls one of the “new rich”. This book is packed with useful, empowering information that any freelance writer needs at their back to push forward. As described by Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, The 4-Hour Workweek is “a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle”.

If you want to break free from the traditional means of work and stress that so many of us suffer from, The 4-Hour Workweek is the book that you need to convince yourself to take the leap. That’s definitely what it did for me.

Mark Schaefer is a well-known award-winning business writer. With years of both marketing and global sales experience, Schaefer is a valuable resource of knowledge concerning content creation. In The Content Code, Schaefer details how to create unique content that outclasses your competitors, effectively beating “the content shock”. With thorough explanations of branding, brand development, content production, and content distribution, Schaefer effectively outlines surefire methods to producing content that gets you recognized as a brand.

As freelance writers, we have to be at the top of our game when it comes to creating content that, rather than following the standard set by everything to come before, has something interesting, informative, and important to say. That’s what truly sets a good freelance writer apart from the rest. In order to do so, we have to know how to break the content code and that’s exactly what Schaefer describes in this illuminating book. In order to better understand all facets of marketing (something that every freelance writer should have a grip on), you should certainly read The Content Code.

When we set out to become freelance writers, many of us were burdened by a series of what-ifs. What if this doesn’t work out? What if I don’t have what it takes to be successful? What if I can’t pay the bills doing this? This is what I like to call “freelancer’s doubt” and it can make diving in headfirst a particularly challenging task.

In Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, Moira Allen sets out to clearly outline the process of becoming a freelance writer. Following the process she details, the entire thing becomes much easier. Providing all of the necessary strategies and tools that you need to become a freelance writer, Allen sets you down the path to full-time income as a writer and she does so with unshakable confidence.

In the latest edition of Allen’s book, there is even a section dedicated to “online writers” where she discusses matters of particular importance including how to set up your own freelancer’s website and how to be an active participant on social media. These are powerful forms of advertisement for any freelance writer and Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer outlines them beautifully. Check this one out for a straight-forward, no-nonsense guide to becoming a successful freelance writer.

The Renegade Writer sets out to break the mold of convention when it comes to becoming a freelance writer. Demonstrating how to break the set rules to how to become a writer in unique ways that set you apart from your competitor’s, this book is truly the renegade’s guide to freelance writing. Both Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell know what they’re talking about when it comes to freelance writing. After all, they have a combined over 20 years of experience writing for a slew of the top magazines and newspapers in the country.

If you’re looking for a book that guides you along the process of becoming a successful freelance writer without warranting so much attention to the “rules” set in the past, The Renegade Writer is truly the guide founded in doing things a bit differently that you are looking for. Despite how unconventional it is, it’s a gem for those interested in freelance writing full-time nonetheless.

Sara Horowitz’s book, The Freelancer’s Bible certainly lives up to its name. If there was any one book out there that I would recommend to cover all of the basics when it comes to freelance writing, the Freelancer’s Bible would be it. Packed with useful information ranging from setting up your freelancing office (the sanctuary of any full-time writer) to how to effectively market yourself as a writer, Horowitz covers all of the bases and does so in a language that is straight-forward and remarkably easy for anyone to understand.

If you have a desire to become a freelance writer and don’t know where to start in picking up the basics, this book is your starting point. While there are many guides out there pertaining to building your own freelance writing business, this one is by far the most thorough and accessible and I have yet to read one that outdoes it. If you are someone who wishes you could have a constant mentor right by your side to guide you every step of the way, pick up this book. It’ll be your desk-side mentor to walk you through each step of setting up and running your own freelance writing business.

Write and Grow Rich: Secrets of Successful Authors & Publishers sets out to help you become a better writer all by sharing secrets from 24 of the most reputable names in the industry. By telling their own stories, the 24 authors featured in Write and Grow Rich share their secrets for “turning books into a six-figure calling”. While geared more towards novelists, Write and Grow Rich is a book that can help anyone become a better writer.

Some of the themes covered in Write and Grow Rich are especially useful for freelance writers as they put freelance writing into a business perspective. As a self-employed writer, you are your own boss and these tips from 24 success stories teach you a number of valuable secrets to the trade ranging from:

  • What these authors would have done differently if they could go back and start their businesses all over
  • How to cope with feeling overwhelmed and how you can use that to your advantage
  • How quickly you can expect to begin profiting from your work
  • Key factors for book-based business (especially important for freelance e-book authors)
  • Skills you can use to take you writing business to the next level

Regardless of what type of writer you are, it goes without saying that creativity is a much-needed skill in our trade. To be a writer one must be creative, harnessing the ability to spin words into images and ideas into reality. Still, you have to admit that many of us weren’t born inherently creative and it is, rather, a skill that has to be learned and fine-tuned as we develop as writers.

In Creative Confidence, Tom and David Kelley help us to discern the principles of what it means to be creative as well as strategies you can use to flex your creative muscle. According to Guy Kawasaki, a well-known marketing specialist, author of many best-selling books, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist:

“This is the only book about creativity that you’ll ever need.”

I tend to agree with him.

If you are a freelance writer, there stands a good chance that at one point or another you will have to act as a copywriter. Copywriting, while different from many other forms of writing, involves using many of the skills writers possess inherently in order to describe, inform, and represent a business. As one of the biggest areas of freelance writing work, it is best to know how to be an effective copywriter sooner rather than later.

With Start and Run a Copywriting Business, Steve Slaunwhite sets out to help you develop your skills as a freelance copywriter as well as give you all the necessary strategies you need to build a successful freelance copywriting business from the ground up. With copywriting being so lucrative (a niche that can help freelance writers earn up to six figures) it is important that you are able to constantly develop your copywriting skills. With this book in hand, you’ll be able to do just that continuously.

There are certain industry secrets that you have to know in order to be a successful freelance writer. While you can browse any number of online how-to guides and seek advice from Medium authors claiming to have all of the secrets, sometimes you need a book that outlines everything you need to know and then some. That’s exactly what Secrets of a Freelance Writer: How to Make $100,000 a Year or More sets out to do, sharing industry secrets that have been kept under lock and key by some of the most successful freelancers.

These secrets include valuable information concerning how to make significant annual income by writing annual reports, ad campaigns, newsletters, catalogs, and more. If you are looking to build a freelance writing business that is especially lucrative (and who here isn’t), you need this guide.

If you’ve been around the blogging scene for any amount of time it is likely that you know exactly who Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett are. As well-respected names in the blogging world, each of these authors set out to share everything you need to know about building a lucrative blog one step at a time.

Outlining secret techniques, any freelance writer who is looking to make blogging one of their multiple streams of income will need the help of Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. Here are just a few of the valuable skills you’ll learn from using this practical guide:

  • Make the distinction between direct and indirect earning methods
  • Learn how to develop a truly successful earning strategy for your blog
  • The ins and outs of content creation
  • How to market your blog posts and attract readers
  • How to engage your followers across multiple social media platforms

Blogging is a huge part of what successful freelance writers do each and every day. This book leads you down the path to building a lucrative blog that you can be proud of.

Note: This article contains Amazon Affiliate links that directly support me should you wish to purchase any of the books I’ve talked about here

Want more tips on the best SEO practices, guides to boosting your freelancing career, and the tools you need to jumpstart your career as a self-employed professional? Check out my website.

My name is Renee Rose and I am an SEO expert and freelance writer. I have a passion for helping clients achieve success in reaching their target audience, driving sales, and boosting online visibility. Stay tuned to my Medium page and website for more useful information. Thanks for reading.

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Renee Rose

Written by

Freelance Writer. Blogger. UFO enthusiast and lover of space. Email me at: reneerosefreelancing@gmail.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

Renee Rose

Written by

Freelance Writer. Blogger. UFO enthusiast and lover of space. Email me at: reneerosefreelancing@gmail.com

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

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