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BOOK REVIEWS

GET PAID TO WRITE!
Thomas A. Williams

If you want to know the secrets of travel writing success, then bypass Thomas A Williams’ Get Paid to Write! and pick up something else. But if your goal is to learn the art of freelance writing and how to make money at it, then this book is worth your time.

Get Paid to Write! is simply a guide to freelance writing. Nonetheless, the 13 easy-to-read, straightforward chapters can be applied to travel writing, or any other form of writing you might practice in order to make money.

And in these tight financial times, isn’t the ability to write beyond the travel genre a good thing?

What’s Good:

A lot of writing books tend to rehash the same old suggestions on the subject, and this book does the same by noting the elements of a strong query, uncovering the “secrets” of freelance masters (they write every day, they revise what the write, etc.) and offering tips on how to read a magazine like a writer.

However, this book also has chapters on more unconventional ways that writers can make money, such as writing and selling e-books, manuals, special reports and similar products, and how to write for businesses. There is also a thorough chapter dedicated to business details such as rights and contracts that is organized well and easy to understand.

I was particularly intrigued by the last chapter, How to Build Your Reputation as a Writer, which suggests that writers prepare a media kit about themselves, their achievements and their specialties. I’ve never heard of this before and would be interested in knowing if writers who do this have success with it.

What Could Be Better:

Like I noted earlier, if you’re looking for a book that tells you how to become a travel writer, this isn’t it. There are no travel-specific suggestions, though many of the general tips in the book can be applied to travel writing. What it lacks is any discussion of press trips, different types of specific travel articles or reviews and ethics.

This book was published in 2004, so while many writing tactics are, in fact, ageless, there are things missing from the book. I’m impressed that Williams was writing e-books six years ago, but there are additional opportunities and issues that have popped up since then, such as writing apps, blogging and social media, that should be added if the book is ever updated.

Summary:

This book presents new ideas and information I haven’t found anywhere else, so those looking for inspiration might especially enjoy this book, and those who want basic but solid advice on freelance writing should get a copy of Get Paid to Write!

But if you need the nitty gritties on travel writing, choose another book.

Travel Writers Exchange

Would you like to set your own hours, work at home, and write about fascinating topics and interesting people, all while getting well paid for your efforts? Selling articles to magazines, newspapers, and websites–or even writing your own book–can be a very attractive career option, especially in tough economic times, if you like to write and have a little initiative. Author Tom Williams has been a freelance writer for twenty-five years and he knows what the aspiring freelancer needs to be successful. He has written for magazines ranging from Esquire, to Home Office Computing, to Writer’s Digest. He has edited and published his own magazines and newspapers, for which he has bought thousands of freelance articles and read many more queries. He has also written and published 13 successful books, both with major presses and by self-publishing.

In Get Paid to Write! Williams shares the trade secrets for divining the style and editorial slant of the publications you want to write for, crafting the all-important query letter, finding good ideas for articles, structuring an article, selling information on the internet, and much, much more. He also covers many topics of interest for those who want to write books. He answers questions such as:

How can I get a literary agent? How much money will I make and when will I make it? Will they steal my idea? What about the new Print On Demand publishers like IUniverse and 1st Books. How do they work? Should I use them? How can I know what editors are really looking for? How can I write query letters that regularly get results? What is the article type that is both easiest to write and easiest to sell?

Using the information in this book, aspiring freelancers won’t have to keep sending out query after query without knowing where and how to send them, without knowing who’s buying what, without knowing how much editors are paying, without protecting their literary property, and without the agent they need.

Get Paid to Write! is loaded with detailed, highly-practical, step-by-step instructions on topics not often found in other books on this subject, such as how to use the stylistic elements that editors are looking for, how to protect your ideas, or what to do when your book or article gets published. This is the book to buy if you want to be a successful freelance writer!

Fast Cash Freelance

Thomas A. Williams' Get Paid To Write: The No-Nonsense Guide To Freelance Writing is part of the rather consistently impressive Sentient Publications "The Culture Tools Series". An extremely practical self-starter career guide packed with tips, tricks, and techniques for selling articles to magazines, newspapers, and websites, or even writing a book, Get Paid To Write covers everything from the basic facts of freelance to learning what magazine editors want just from reading a copy, using the query system to one's advantage, success secrets, getting an agent if needed, dealing with the possibility of idea theft, writing especially for business, building one's professional reputation, and much more. A highly recommended "must-have" for anyone contemplating a writing career.

Midwest Book Review
June, 2004

 

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