Making A Decent Living: A Review of Michael Meanwell’s The Enterprising Writer

Making A Decent Living: A Review of Michael Meanwell’s The Enterprising Writer

 Meanwell knows what he is talking about — public relations, writing speeches, putting together newsletters, advertising, how to market your own business, dealing with writer’s block and lots of links, forms to copy, schedules, stationery templates, prospect letters, and a plethora of case studies from Meanwell’s own work. At worst, this book will provide freelance writers with a lot of new ideas, new markets to target, and food for thought. For those who really want to turn their writing hobby or vague career goal into a proper, money-making business, this book could be just the right tool.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

I’ve never been excited by the idea of e-books. As a compulsive reader and book pack rat who hunts down boxes in garage sales and likes to carry my books around with me, I’ve always felt that sense of accompaniment and portability would be lost, although e-book readers and the development of more eye-friendly type may well change all that. Some books however work particularly well in an electronic format. Those you read for information, to help you learn something, to grow, to get ahead, to hone your craft. There are also advantages to e-books which hard copy books don’t have. You can have them minutes after you decide you want them, you can search them, and store them without cluttering up the already full-to-the-brim bookshelf, and since they are cheaper to produce, they are generally cheaper to buy. Michael Meanwell’s The Enterprising Writer works perfectly well as an e-book. Using Acrobat’s free eBook Reader (http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html), I was able to bookmark, search and even hold a page. I could copy and paste, and jump from section to section. The book itself is well written, tastefully produced, and quite printable if you want a hard copy. Meanwell’s 20+ years of experience as a working writer has been codified and put into a useful manual on how to turn your writing talent into a proper writing business. I’ve read a number of books on how to create a business plan, set up a new business, and others on the craft of writing and even how to make money with writing, but not many that actually treat writing as a serious business in need of a professional business plan, marketing plan, and how to target a market and go for it, which is what this book is all about. There are sections which look at putting together a business plan, working from home and setting up an office, and how to evaluate whether writing as a business rather than a hobby is right for you.

Some of it is fairly obvious, and a lot of it has been written before in other contexts, but Meanwell’s considerable experience working as a freelance writer and making money shows, and it is helpful to think of a writing career as a proper business. Some of the concepts, while standard practice for other types of business, are unusual for writers and therefore worthy of thought, such as using systems and procedures, assessing your market, and direct response mailings. Meanwell’s sample procedures for attracting new clients is useful, and his suggestions for setting up routines that target new clients while servicing the old are good ones. This 300+ page book covers a broad range of mostly commercial topics, including Technical writing, writing for the web, which I’ve never seen covered in such a clear, detailed way, how to do direct marketing, e-publishing — and since this book was self published, Meanwell knows what he is talking about — public relations, writing speeches, putting together newsletters, advertising, how to market your own business, dealing with writer’s block and lots of links, forms to copy, schedules, stationery templates, prospect letters, and a plethora of case studies from Meanwell’s own work. At worst, this book will provide freelance writers with a lot of new ideas, new markets to target, and food for thought. For those who really want to turn their writing hobby or vague career goal into a proper, money-making business, this book could be just the right tool. The Enterprising Writer costs 19.95usd and is available from the Meanwell Store (www.meanwellstore.com).

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