on 14 June 1998
This book is terrific if you're interested in making a living as a free-lance writer and would like practical guidance about how to do it -- and it's funny too. The author focuses on the part most writers have trouble with -- finding a unique "take" on a subject -- and his advice about that is very good. I also heartily endorse his comments about how to present your work most effectively to editors. He doesn't downplay the drawbacks of working as a free-lancer, but he's also upbeat enough to make you believe it's possible if you're willing to put in the effort. I agree with his recommendation to find a good accountant to handle the financial aspects -- but, for those of us who don't live in a pop. 485 town, it would have been useful to have some hints about what to look for in an accountant! But in general this is an excellent guide to the free-lance life.
However, based on my own experience (I've been making a living as a writer for most of my adult life), I have one caveat: Perry's life as a writer may not be the best life for you. If you just want to earn a living from your writing, and aren't fussy what you write about or for whom, this is a great book for you. If you have an area of specialization (e.g., computers), you can still free-lance successfully in that area -- and it's sometimes helpful in getting work for you to be an "expert." But if you're a writer who wants more time to work on your Big Project (your serious novel, your mystery series, etc.), you're better off taking a full-time job in a totally unrelated field and writing in your spare time. Free-lance writing is time-consuming, requires total commitment, and can be psychologically and physically draining; if you have any spare time at all, you'll want to go fishing rather than work on your novel! Before you quit your day job, consider WHY you want to become a free-lance writer; you may find you're better off where you are.