During each of the interviews I did with successful freelance writers, I asked them about their favorite about writing or small business.
I love hearing about the books that really make a big difference in how you approach your career.
The books they listed might surprise you. Some are related to freelancing, but others are just great books about life. Here are some of the picks they mentioned.
“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of the most pragmatic how-to guides to living a satisfying and productive life. Read it twice.”
“I’m an addicted reader, and can’t give you just one. Among the top books that have influenced me:
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, by Stephen M.R. Covey–amplifies my own work on strong ethics as a key business success strategy (and I was utterly thrilled when he agreed to write the Foreword to my own Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green)
Cash Copy, by Jeffrey Lant–still the most transformational book I’ve ever read on copywriting (maybe just because it got to me before I’d read a lot of others)
The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer–the only self-help book I recommend regularly.”
Lisa Merriam mentioned a classic that should be on every freelancers desk:
I’m an avid reader and at any one time will be reading several books. For freelance writing, I like Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer by Jenna Glatzer and for queries I like How to Write Irresistible Query Letters by Lisa Collier Cool. Both are old, but the info and steps are good. I use The Synonym Finder by JI Rodale a lot in both fiction and non-fiction. Most small business books that cover the basics (business name, structure etc) are fine. Right now, I spend my money on marketing information, which is the area I think small business owners and freelancers often fall short.
Jeff Vandemeer’s Booklife is a useful, up-to-date book on how to manage one’s writing life as a professional. Stephen King’s On Writing is also entertaining and helpful, and of course Fowler’s Modern English Usage is essential.
As I mentioned earlier, I was fortunate to have a great mentor, the late Eugene Schwartz, who wrote one of the most valuable books on writing. Entitled Breakthrough Advertising, my copy was given to me by Gene in 1988. I have read it more than once! It’s not always available. However, I think every so often you can find copies for sale on Amazon, anywhere from $50.00 to over a $150.00 per copy – it’s that sought after by others.