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As Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot… If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write. Simple as that.”
Being a writer who doesn’t read is like being a chef who doesn’t eat. How will you improve your cooking skills if you don’t try new foods? How will you improve your writing if you don’t pick up a few books?
Reading is essential to writing. No matter what style of writing you’re doing, whether it’s copywriting, business blogs or fiction for children, there is always something to be learned from reading, especially from books written for writers.
Here are the 19 books you need to read to become a better freelance writer.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
The Elements of Style starts with the basics of what you need for clear and concise writing. This is a book every writer needs to keep on hand.
Starting Your Career As a Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen
Speaking of the basics, this book by Moira Anderson Allen is the perfect first read for any new freelance writers. You’ll find everything you need to get your career started on the right foot and to make money as a writer.
My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman
If you’re dreaming about making the jump from 9 to 5 to full time freelance, Michelle’s book is for you. This book is written with the female freelancer in mind.
Escape From Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim
Need a bit more inspiration before you make the leap and leave your office job for good? Read Pamela’s book and know that you can leave your cubicle behind and become your own boss.
The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer’s Journey by Joanna Penn
Struggling with self doubt, perfectionism and other mental blocks writers are afflicted by? Then this is the book for you.
The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelle and Diana Burrell
If the rebel aspect of freelance writing appeals to you, this book by Linda and Diana will be right up your alley. It’s all about breaking the rules in order to win the freelancer game.
Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer’s Guide to Making More Money by Kelly James-Enger
Like Kelly, I believe that writers deserve to be paid, and paid well, for their work. Writing for exposure won’t pay the bills. This book will help you charge what you’re worth and get paid what you deserve.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
As they say, content is king. If you’re in the content writing space, this book by Ann is a must read.
The Street Smart Writer: Self Defense Against Sharks and Scams in the Writing World by Jenna Glatzer & Daniel Steven
Sadly, in our digital age, not every client you meet is going to be a good one. With this book by Jenna and Daniel, you can learn how to protect yourself from shady contracts and potential scams.
The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman
One of the main concerns of freelance writers is making enough money to pay the bills. Peter walks you through exactly what you need to know to make a living from your writing from day one.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
As freelance writers, we can’t afford to let writer’s block and creative ruts get the best of us. With Steven’s book, you’ll be able to push past your blocks, get un-stuck and get back to writing.
How to Get Great Freelance Clients by Carol Tice, Linda Formichelli & Chris Marlow
At the end of the day, you can’t be a successful freelance writer if you don’t have any clients. This book by freelance heavyweights Carol, Linda and Chris will show you how to land the clients you want.
Shut Up and Write by Mridu Khullar Relph
Sometimes we need to stop with the excuses, put away our phones, buckle down and just write the thing. Mridu will show you exactly how to do that in her no-BS book.
The Content Code by Mark Schaefer
If you’re working in content marketing, you’re going to want to pick up Mark’s book. Mark reveals all of the lessons he’s learned about content in his years working in marketing and sales.
The Wealthy Freelancer by Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage & Ed Gandia
We often call people who write for a living starving artists; the idea of a “wealthy freelancer” is almost laughable, right? Not according to Steve, Pete and Ed. In their book, they’ll show you how to get the income and create the lifestyle you dream of.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk
Working in social media content creation? This is the book for you. Gary shows you exactly how to balance high quality content and perfect context in a crowded digital space.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration, motivation and organization as you embark on your freelance career, you’ll find all of that and more in Timothy’s bestselling book. Use this book as the blue-print to create the job and life you want.
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley & David Kelley
David and Tom believe that every single person is creative – you just have to know how to access your creativity. If you find yourself struggling to stay creative and fresh in your writing, turn to Tom and David for some inspiration and practical guidance.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99U
Half the battle of a freelance writing career is staying organized and being productive. Your writing skills mean nothing if you spend all day procastinating. Get on top of your career with this awesome book, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei.
What book would you recommend all freelance writers read? Let me know in the comments below!