Top 5 books for self-employed writers

Becoming a self-employed writer is a great way to turn your passion for words into a job that lets you be creative. But once you do, it’s always good to improve your skills, gear your business towards success, and find a suitable focus

This guide will highlight the five best books for writers based on their needs, including:

  1. How to Think More Effectively by The School of Life
  2. A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters by Dan Nelken
  3. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, PhD.
  4. The Copy Book by D&AD
  5. The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

1) How to Think More Effectively: A guide to greater productivity, insight and creativity The School of Life

An essential part of any writer’s journey is the ability to come up with quality ideas. But it can be challenging to put a structure on creativity and make it work on demand. In the same way, for imaginative writers, it can often be challenging to stay focused and be productive.

If those problems are familiar to you, then the intellectual collective The School of Life has some help for you. Their book on the act of thinking offers several ways to improve your creative and productive abilities. 

The book also includes some activities for you to help get the creative juices flowing. With that said, the frequency of philosophical speech may not be everyone’s cup of tea. So, before you pick up the book, you should be mindful of that. But overall, it’s a worthwhile read to speed up the process of coming up with ideas by looking at things from different angles. 

(Buy the book)

2) A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters: A resource for writing headlines and building creative confidence Dan Nelken

Coming up with headlines may be more important to some writers than others. You may look for catchy titles to draw readers in for an article or perhaps, you are responsible for writing a slogan for a new brand. But the ability to write compelling headlines is undoubtedly a good one to have; it may even help you advertise your skills to find work.

As the book’s title suggests, Nelken wrote this primarily for copywriters. Still, the author clarifies that it is more about the creative process than the specifics of writing copy. He expresses this by joking that those who work with copywriters will also enjoy the book by pointing out their flaws.

It will help you write better headlines, and it is enjoyable to go back to. If you are looking for something to help you develop lines, you’ll struggle to find something better than this book. Though, if you respond better to a more serious tone, you might not enjoy it.

(Buy the book)

3) Influence: The psychology of persuasion Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.

As a writer, you’ll likely need strong persuasive skills. For example, to buy a product from a client, get your book published, or argue an extension on a deadline you may also need to write persuasively. Before you can become a persuasive writer, it may be helpful for you to understand how to persuade people.

Cialdini focuses on why people say ‘yes’ to and the factors behind that within this book. Specifically, Cialdini talks about six principles of influence that can encourage someone to act.

By reading this book and applying its principles to your writing, you may find it easier to create persuasive pieces. Psychology is a science, and with that, the book could prove a heavy read for some. It may feel like reading a school textbook, but it is undoubtedly full of valuable knowledge.

(Buy the book)

4) The Copy Book: How some of the best advertising writers in the world write advertising D&AD

If you’re a copywriter, writing long articles or short social media captions, you likely aim to continually improve your work. The better writer you can be, the more you can attract clients and build a reputation.

To become a great copywriter, you should learn from those who are better at it than you. That is what this book provides. It highlights some fantastic writers by showing their work outlining their advice.

The book shows off iconic work from the past as well as more recent exciting pieces made. The D&AD serves as a catalogue of inspiration to both new and established copywriters. The writers’ advice is put together from varied creatives, meaning that some may be more helpful than others. But showing the diverse personality and approaches of the advertising industry could be very useful for your work.

(Buy the book)

5) The Forest for the Trees: An editor’s advice to writers Betsy Lerner

For new authors writing and publishing a book can seem like a daunting task. Even established authors sometimes might stumble on the changes and hurdles that they face in the industry today. 

The Forest for the Trees: An editor’s advice to writers by Betsy Lerner

This book addresses the modern world of the publishing industry and offers helpful advice for getting the most out of it. It features a look at the daily life of an author and the common stresses.

Lerner aims to present herself as a friend within the industry to provide you with the advice or motivation to carry on writing. Although, if you seek a guide on how to develop an idea for writing a book, this may not be the one for you. What it will do is help you get that idea over the line.

(Buy the book)

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Being a self-employed writer comes with the challenges of attempting to network within different industries, market your services and deliver for clients. All of these things can produce costs for your business, which often presents the additional hurdle of financial management. Countingup can provide you with cash flow insights that let you keep track of everything that is coming in and out.

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