Unless you are a total pro you are going to want to have some resources on hand to guide you through the start of your career. Just like any job, hobby, passion, or side hustle, there are always tools to help you get better. I have a collection of writing-related books that I keep glued to my writing desk and they are so marked up, highlighted, tabbed, and dog-eared you would think I was back in college. But these books have been so valuable to my growth as a freelancer and helped me get started. What are your top books for your toolkit?
by Kelly James-Enger
This was the first book I bought when I decided I was going to pursue freelance writing. I purchased it on Amazon and found it to be a roadmap to getting published as a freelancer. This book helped me land my first pitch, hone my niches and went over aspects of the freelancing life I wouldn’t have even thought of. Such as invoices and contracts. I wrote to Kelly James-Enger to let her know how helpful her book was and she responded right back. If you don’t already have it, Writer for Hire is an excellent resource to have on hand.
by Strunk and White
This should probably be the first book you purchase if you want to write period. Basically the writer’s dictionary. It’s a small book and ranges less than 100 pages, but those pages are jam packed with all the style and grammar help you need to raise the bar with your writing.
by Peter Bowerman
This is another book dedicated to helping freelance writers. But it differs from Writer for Hire enough that it’s not repeating the same helpful hints. Bowerman’s book helped me look for gigs outside of the typical websites and magazines, trying advertising and marketing agencies which always need reliable copywriters.
by Stephen King
If The Elements of Style is like a writer’s dictionary than On Writing is like a writer’s bible. Maybe a bit hyperbolic but King talks about his career as a writer, his personal experiences, and his own tips and tricks to create well-crafted writing. On Writing also helped me up my daily word count and finish my drafts faster. Even if you aren’t a fiction writer, this a helpful tool to have on hand.
Even if you don’t want to be a Pulitzer prize winning journalism, having the AP stylebook on hand is a good idea. One way to get your start as a freelance writer is to reach out to local newspapers and offer your services. To do any kind of journalism writing you’re going to need to know AP. And this book will help with quotes, captions, and effective word choice.
Those are my top five recommended books for freelancers. The books that helped me get published, polished my writing style and gave me insight into all things freelance.