Reviewed by Elizabeth King-Humphrey
The Freelance Writer’s Bible: Your Guide to a Profitable Writing Career Within One Year
By David Trottier
ISBN: 1-879505-85-1, $19.95
David Trottier’s The Freelance Writer’s Bible is certainly chock-full of good ideas for breaking into the writing business. But the title might be better as The Freelance Writer’s Primer or Workbook. Although if you think of the bible as a series of journeys, perhaps the title is appropriate. For that’s what this book is: it is a journey into finding your life as a freelance writer.
Trottier approaches a freelance writing career from the angle of creativity. Trottier helps his readers get over the initial hurdle of writing—into that place of feeling safe as a writer.
If you have already written your first article or short story and have a few clips, this book may be more basic than you need, but if you are still trying to find your way into your own voice or the way to approach writing from the more creative side, this is a strong book.
Within the contents of this book, Trottier begins with Book I – Discover your creative vision. In this section, readers are coaxed into answering questions about their writing lives and to learn more about their writing spirit. Trottier helps readers explore their commitment to writing; imagine their legacy; dip into their words of advice to a child. Many of the questions and exercises would not be out of the ordinary for a community or online writing class. After the reader has identified “specific writing projects that have stirred your passion” Trottier leads you into the next book: Book II –Write with freedom and confidence. Again, the reader explores creativity and fears that may be blocking their desires to become a writer. Trottier discusses keeping track of time, as well as the writing process (“1. Generate ideas, 2. Set project parameters, 3. Create the first draft, 4. Revise for content, 5. Polish for publication.”) Book III is all about setting up the business, with one of the most important concepts: figuring out markets, such as copywriting, public relations, and 15 other areas to target. One of the bonuses is Trottier includes a table that will guide copywriting freelancers into suggested rates they can charge. The third section is probably useful to the novice, as well as the pro. There may be areas that someone wants to specialize in (which is not all bad), but there are opportunities that are sometimes forgotten about because of the specialization. Trottier points these areas out in the service of presenting the range of possibilities.
Book IV concentrates on creating a master plan to making the dreams the reader uncovered within Book I. Trottier sets out a plan for a writer to create a marketing plan, whether the dream is to write and sell a book proposal or become a part-time writer. Trottier returns to asking of the reader to workbook: “Set goals for the next 12 months” with room to focus on the answers. Trottier continues with his guidance, reaching out to help readers who want to become freelance writers within a year.
The breadth of Trottier’s knowledge is pretty amazing—and it shows by the lengths he goes to illustrate different areas to suit any and all freelancers. This is a good addition to a freelance writer’s collection.
Trottier has been a “freelance writer and writing teacher since 1988” according to the biography on his book. He is also the author of The Screenwriter’s Bible
and is a columnist for scr(i)pt magazine.