For the past two years I have been recommending that visitors to my site buy Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less. It is a great introduction into the world of writing for profit. His new book, The Well Fed Writer: Back for Seconds is more narrow in focus, but that is what makes it even more useful than the first. Seconds is focused almost entirely on marketing your writing.
Seconds is aimed at business and commercial writing, often called copywriting. This is not a how-to book so much as a business guide. While I believe poets and literary writers can benefit from much of the advice in this book, the focus is on writing as a business, not as a creative endeavor.
Seconds begins with a general discussion of sales and sales tactics, and why writers need to become comfortable with the sales aspect of their careers. Even in the first chapter, one of the key improvements over the first book becomes apparent. Bowerman is not just giving you his advice, he is including the opinions and testimonials of other successful business writers (he calls them FLCWs, for freelance commercial writers). Each writer discusses an aspect of sales or marketing with which they are familiar.
In the beginning, Bowerman discusses the sales and marketing mindset. He soon moves on into specific areas of sales such as creating your own web site, which is something every writer should do regardless of their style of writing. Web sites, and writing portfolios on web sites, are inexpensive and versatile marketing tools that allow people to reach their audience, whether it is for sales or simply self-expression.
After Bowerman covers web sites, he moves to the key areas of marketing such as cold calling, direct mail, E-mail and fax campaigns. He discusses both the benefits and the pitfalls of these forms of marketing and how they work best for a writer. Bowerman also discusses networking and partnership strategies as well as the special needs of people working in small markets.
This is a great book for people who are serious about making a living as a writer. It is both instructional and inspirational. Bowerman even takes the time to encapsulate his advice from the first book so that writers need only purchase this book to get the information they need. Overall this book is a bargain and one that every writer who is serious about making a living should read and reread.
Bowerman practices what he preaches. One example of that is his web site portfolio. Take a look at www.wellfedwriter.com.