Useful websites, books and gear for Jet-setting Copywriters
Books for Writers
I’ve read over a hundred books on copywriting and how to run a freelance writing business. Of those, probably 10 per cent were really worth reading. I don't want you to waste time or money buying books that won’t help you, so I’ve compiled a brief 'best-of-the-best' list of writing books. If you’re serious about making a living by selling words, these will put you on the right track. Many are available as eBooks.
Secrets of a Freelance Writer (3rd edition) by Robert Bly
Bob Bly is one of the highest paid freelance copywriters in the world (over $500,000 a year) and he has written some excellent books for aspiring writers. If you're just starting your freelancing career, this authoritative guide will show you how to build a lucrative freelance writing business from the bottom up.
The Copywriter’s Handbook (3rd Edition) by Robert Bly
Another classic from Bob Bly. It reveals some of the most effective copywriting techniques out there. Learn how to write compelling headlines, make your copy more readable, get more attention, be more persuasive with your writing and much more.
The Well-fed Writer by Peter Bowerman
Peter Bowerman started making a living as a freelance business writer in 1994 with no previous paid writing experience - going from zero to full time in about four months. Since then, his clients have included big names like Coca-Cola, Dupont, Mercedes-Benz, IBM, American Express and the Discovery Channel. The Well-Fed Writer is full of good, solid advice that can help you become a profitable writer for businesses of all sizes.
The Wealthy Freelancer by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage and Ed Gandia
This book is chock-full of practical tips on how to get the clients, income and lifestyle you want by setting high standards for yourself and all aspects of your writing business. It's written by three highly successful writers, so you're getting the benefit of their collective experience packed into one common-sense book.
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman
Written by a legendary ad man, this book bills itself as 'The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters', and I can't argue with that. I found it particularly useful in regard to explaining the art of persuasive sales copywriting, which is Sugerman's specialty. This book demystifies advertisement copywriting and is a great read for beginners. Remember Blu-Blocker sunglasses and those ads that made millions of people buy them? This author is the guy that wrote those.
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy's ability to attract customers and create sales for businesses through carefully crafted copy is hard to match. His individual sales letters have been known to command fees of $50,000 and more. Learn how to craft ads, compelling headlines, sales letters, prospect emails and more from one of the best in the business. Kennedy's strength is his deep understanding of the psychological triggers and underlying emotions that convince people to pay for a particular product or service - and he makes good use of all of that when fine-tuning his epic sales copy.
Start and Run a Copywriting Business by Steve Slaunwhite
This book provides new copywriters will all the essential information needed to kick-start their new career. There is step-by-step advice on how to find and keep clients, master basic copywriting techniques, manage your time, work and money, market your business effectively and tap into higher-paying markets. Professional freelance writing is a business, and the advice in this book will help you run yours more efficiently.
How to Get Great Freelance Clients by Carol Tice, Linda Formichelli and Chris Marlow
For many freelance writers, putting the words down is the easy part - it's getting enough quality clients to pay the bills (or fund that trip to Majorca) that's the biggest obstacle. This book contains some excellent (and proven) methods of hunting down new writing clients and shows you how to become more targeted in your approach. What types of businesses, magazines and other sources of work should you go after, and what strategies can you use to improve both the quality of your clients and the profits you make from them? If you're not sure how to get more (and better) clients for your writing business, this book should help a lot.
Online Resources for Writers
Here are some websites that might come in handy on your freelance writing journey:
This is one of the most comprehensive lists of online copywriting resources I’ve ever seen. You could spend days and days on here wading through all the goodies.
Copyblogger has lots of extremely useful copywriting info in their Marketing Library. They also produce a free eBook called Copywriting 101, which gives you the basics on how to write compelling copy.
This is a great ‘one stop shop’ for online copywriting resources – you’ll find everything from research databases, article directories and writing style guides to copywriting courses, keyword tools and swipe file lists.
This site is a brilliant place to learn from some of the most successful direct marketing advertisements of the past; it’s entertaining and informative.
Carol Tice’s award-winning site is just what a newbie freelance writer needs to get on the right track. Just about every question you could ask about writing for money is answered somewhere in one of her articles. If you’d like to get into freelance writing and earn solid money, this is a good, BS-free starting point.
This diverse collection of articles can help you improve different aspects of your copywriting.
One of the best ways to get better at copywriting quickly is to understand and use some of the standard formulas that professional writers follow when crafting persuasive copy. This post is an excellent summary of some of the most useful copywriting formulas.
Resources for Digital Nomads and Travellers
When it comes to living and working abroad, the best advice comes from those with a proven track record of long-term travel and successful global self-employment. If you plan to take your writing business 'on the road' for any length of time, you'll want to be properly prepared. Here are some links to my favourite travel sites for this kind of information:
Nora Dunn has been travelling the world since 2007, using her writing career to finance visits to over thirty countries on five continents. Her website is a fine resource for writers who want the nitty-gritty on living a nomadic lifestyle. Nora even breaks down her year-to-year expenses to give prospective globe-trotters a better idea of what it all might cost.
It’s hard to argue with a travel blog that gets over 800,000 visits a month. This excellent resource has more real-world travel tips than you can shake a stick at.
The biggest expense when working overseas is accommodation, so house-sitting is a brilliant way to reduce those costs. The link to ‘The House-sitting Directory: An overview of all major house-sitting websites’ is handy and there’s lots of other useful info here about this unique lifestyle. Professional writing and house-sitting are made for each other!
This online resource has been around since 1977 and covers many aspects of work, travel, volunteering and study abroad.
This travel blog follows the adventures of a UK couple who have roaming the world as digital nomads since 2010. Entertaining stuff and a good example of global adventures where making money isn’t the main motivator.
While many nomad gurus are happy to gush about the joys of running a business from a beach, very few outline the less glamorous technological challenges associated with working abroad. This site will show you how to stay connected and work efficiently on the road, whether you need to keep in touch with global clients, boost a dubious Wi-Fi signal or keeping sensitive information secure in far-flung locations. Their eBook Hammocks & Hard Drives is excellent too.
From some of the best kept travel spots and secret locales to the most disappointing tourist destinations, this travel blog from 1Cover puts a unique spin on travelling.