The 12 Best Books For Freelance Writers In 2024

There are lots of ways to learn how to become a better freelance writer, and books are one of the most underrated methods. While most of us turn to courses, blogs (like this one!), and YouTube videos first, it’s worth checking out some of the best freelance writing books too.

The 12 best books for freelance writers are:

  1. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business by Entrepreneur Media and Laura Briggs
  2. The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing by Zachary Petit
  3. Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen
  4. The Renegade Writer by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell
  5. Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer by Jenna Glatzer
  6. The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman
  7. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer by Jennifer Gregory
  8. The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Horowitz and Toni Sciarra Poynter
  9. Falling Off The Ladder by Helen Hill
  10. Start & Run a Copywriting Business by Steve Slaunwhite
  11. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost
  12. 365 Days of Freelance Writing by Carter Kilmann

Below, I’ll talk more about why I chose each of these freelance writing books, and what you can expect to find inside each one. Let’s get into it!

Note: This list is in no particular order, and these are just some of the best books specifically for freelance writers. There are a few more generic freelancing books on here, but the vast majority of them are targeted directly at freelance writers.

The 12 Best Books For Freelance Writers

1. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business By Entrepreneur Media And Laura Briggs

Pages: 176 | Best For: Any freelance writers looking to boost their income

Up first we have an excellent resource from the staff of Entrepreneur Media and Laura Briggs. Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business serves as the ultimate beginner’s guide to making a living as a freelance writer.

The book covers essential topics, including:

  • How to position yourself as a successful freelance writer
  • How to pitch clients
  • Finding the best writing opportunities
  • Managing your time as a freelance writer

The book dives into lots of other aspects of freelance writing, from using freelance job websites to assessing your skills as a freelance writer.

I think this book is ideal for all kinds of freelance writers, from those at the start of their journey to those with significant experience in the industry. It contains an ideal blend of writing-focused information and business tips that will help set you up for a successful career as a freelance writer!

2. The Essential Guide To Freelance Writing By Zachary Petit

Pages: 240 | Best For: Beginner freelance writers with a focus on journalism

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing is an all-in-one handbook for beginner freelance writers. Zachary Petit draws upon his vast experience in the writing and publishing industry to bring you a guide packed with helpful tips and guidance for getting your career off the ground.

The book explores topics including:

Zachary also explores more specific aspects of freelance writing, such as how to interview people for your writing and how to quit your day job to pursue a career as a freelance writer.

The book is quite an easy read, and the author’s sense of humor comes through on every page. This makes it a very accessible book, while also being packed with useful information.

However, I do have to note that overall it does seem very much targeted at magazine or newspaper-focused freelance writers. This makes it an ideal choice for those looking to go down the freelance journalism route, but there is still a lot of value in here for freelance writers in general.

3. Starting Your Career As A Freelance Writer By Moira Anderson Allen

Pages: 368 | Best For: Beginners in the world of freelance writing

As the title suggests, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer is best for beginner freelance writers. It deals with all the important aspects of getting started as a freelance writer, and how you can grow your career in order to become successful.

Moira Anderson Allen covers aspects of freelance writing like pitching to clients, approaching editors, and how to prepare your submissions. Income, expenses, and taxes are also discussed here, which helps it serve as a great introduction for absolute beginners.

There’s a strong focus on digital marketing and how to create a solid online and social presence, which I think is invaluable for the modern freelance writer. It’s worth noting however that this is for beginners, and more experienced writers may not find it to be as useful.

Note: There are a few different versions of this book, with the latest being the 2018 edition. Older versions may contain outdated information, so bear this in mind when you’re looking for it!

4. The Renegade Writer By Linda Formichelli And Diana Burrell

Pages: 206 | Best For: Freelancers looking to pitch to big publications

The Renegade Writer is another book targeted primarily at those looking to pitch to newspapers and magazines. However, it still contains lots of nuggets of wisdom that can be applied to all kinds of freelance writers.

Drawing on their 20+ years of experience, Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell tell you everything you need to know about successfully pitching to magazines. If you want to learn how to secure big-paying clients and how to negotiate with them, this is the ideal book for you!

The book is an engaging read, and the focus is very much on showing you that there are more ways to go about freelance writing than you might have thought. If you want to publish your work in big magazines, this is the freelance writing book to go for!

Note: As with a few other books on this list, the latest edition is still 5+ years old, and there are other even older versions out there. Just be aware of this when buying.

5. Make A Real Living As A Freelance Writer By Jenna Glatzer

Pages: 176 | Best For: Those looking to earn more as a freelance writer

Another old-but-gold choice, Make a Living as a Freelance Writer is a crash course in how to get paid more for your freelance writing. The book dives into topics such as:

  • How to become an expert in your niche
  • How to find opportunities
  • How to deal with publishers that don’t pay

While some of the information is outdated (the latest edition was written back in 2004!), the basics still apply. It’s another read for wannabe magazine writers, and I would probably say it’s not going to be the number one pick for more generalist writers or freelance writers with a focus on creating content for blogs and other websites.

However, the book contains actionable advice, tips based on the author’s success, and overall it serves as an excellent reference for any freelance writers that want a seat at the high-paying table!

6. The Well-Fed Writer By Peter Bowerman

Pages: 294 | Best For: Freelance writers that want to know how to find high-paying clients

The world of freelance writing is filled with a huge range of opportunities. Some pay pennies per word, while others pay thousands of dollars per piece. For beginners, this can be hard to imagine, but The Well-Fed Writer aims to make you aware of just what kinds of opportunities truly exist out there.

The author targets this book at anyone that wants to make a living as a freelance writer. He aims to open your eyes to the fact that businesses need writers, and many are willing to pay a lot of money for the right candidate.

But the book isn’t just about inspiring you to take action – it also teaches you what actions to take. You’ll learn how to find these lucrative writing jobs, how to sell your past experience to land clients, and how you can turn freelance writing into a very well-paid career.

Just make sure you pick up the latest edition, as some of the older versions are now quite outdated.

7. The Freelance Content Marketing Writer By Jennifer Gregory

Pages: 274 | Best For: Freelance content marketing writers

The Freelance Content Marketing Writer by Jennifer Gregory is a great choice for any freelance writers with a content marketing streak. In the age of everything being online, all businesses need to do some sort of content marketing.

That means there’s a big market for writers with strong marketing abilities. This book is therefore a great addition to your library if you want to make it in this niche!

The book covers things like:

  • Crafting letters of intent (LOI)
  • Finding the right niche
  • Creating your own website and LinkedIn profile

This book is perfect for freelance writers that want to boost their marketing skills and learn how to build a solid network. It’s worth noting that Jennifer also set up a Facebook group for those looking to join a community full of passionate content marketing writers.

8. The Freelancer’s Bible By Sara Horowitz And Toni Sciarra Poynter

Pages: 496 | Best For: Beginner freelance writers looking to learn the basics

Next up we have a book that’s more general rather than being targeted specifically at freelance writers (and it has also featured in our list of the best freelancing books). However, it’s still an excellent read for anyone looking to sharpen their skills regarding the ‘freelance’ part of freelance writing.

The Freelancer’s Bible is the longest book on our list – as the title might suggest! It’s packed with valuable insights on various aspects of freelancing, from getting clients and setting your rates to negotiating and the ins and outs of taxes.

I’ll note that the book does cover a lot of the basics of freelancing that many writers may already be aware of. It functions best as a reference to a wide range of aspects of freelancing in general, and it doesn’t go overly deep into any one thing.

Nonetheless, it’s a great starting guide for beginner freelance writers!

9. Falling Off The Ladder By Helen Hill

Pages: 271 | Best For: Beginner freelancers

Up next is a book all about changing your mindset to thrive as a freelancer. While the book isn’t targeted directly at freelance writers, it does serve as a very useful guide for those looking to take their first steps into the world of self-employment.

This book is ideal for those that feel their career path is anything but a straight line. Helen Hill explores the feelings and situations you might experience when considering making the leap to freelancing, and how to make a real success of it once you get there.

My real takeaway from Falling Off the Ladder is centered around the vast amount of honest, practical advice. This book feels like a friend is talking to you, guiding you through the early stages of going freelance. While not focused on writing, this is a book worth picking up for those that have yet to get their freelance writing business off the ground.

Check out our full review of Falling Off the Ladder.

10. Start & Run A Copywriting Business By Steve Slaunwhite

Pages: 232 | Best For: Freelance copywriters

Back to writing-centric books, we have another option from the mid 2000s. Start & Run a Copywriting Business is rather obviously aimed at those looking to break into the world of freelance copywriting – one of the most lucrative forms of freelance writing! However, it does discuss a lot of general content writing ideas as well.

While some of the information is perhaps a bit outdated now, the majority of this book’s wisdom still applies to the modern copywriter. The book provides strategies to help you find and retain clients and extract the most value out of your copywriting endeavors.

I found the book to be easy to read without feeling too basic, and I’ve taken various copywriting courses and read similar books, and there is definitely a lot of unique stuff in here.

If you’re thinking about taking on a role as a freelance copywriter, this is the best book on our list for you. For more like this, check out our list of the best books for freelance copywriters!

11. 100 Ways To Improve Your Writing By Gary Provost

Pages: 176 | Best For: Beginner freelance writers looking to hone their skills

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing is strongly focused on the ‘writing’ part of freelance writing. While lots of the books on this list go into detail about the ins and outs of making it as a freelancer, this one is packed with actionable tips that will help you improve your writing.

You get lots of tips paired with useful examples that will guide you towards becoming a better freelance writer. It’s not aimed at freelance writers specifically, but it’s still a great resource!

I will say that I think some of the tips are quite generic, and you could find a lot of this information elsewhere. However, it still serves as a handy reference guide for beginners looking to really nail down the fundamentals of good writing.

12. 365 Days Of Freelance Writing By Carter Kilmann

Pages: 474 | Best For: Those looking to become a freelance writer

The subtitle of this book is “The Practical Guide to Surviving Your First Year as a Self-Employed Writer.” The key word in there is ‘surviving,’ as this book paints the clear picture that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when you become a freelance writer!

The book is an honest take on the ups and downs of your first year (and beyond) as a freelance writer. Based on the author’s own diary of his journey as a self-employed person, 365 Days of Freelance Writing serves as a guide for those wondering just what the life as a freelance writer is like.

This does mean it’s focused on the beginner aspects of freelance writing, so I don’t recommend it for those that are already deep into the career path. However, it can be a super useful resource for those thinking of taking the plunge.

Which Freelance Writing Book Would I Recommend?

While all of the options on this list of the best freelance writing books have something unique to offer, my personal favorite is Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business.

It’s packed with useful tips and guidance that is applicable to all kinds of freelance writers, and it blends the business parts with the writing parts in a way that I think best serves beginners in this field.

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