Great gifts for freelancers include office staples like paper, pens, ink cartridges, and day planners. If your wallet's a little thicker, you might spring for a computer, printer, or fax machine. But if you're not rich and you'd like to shop somewhere a little more exciting than Office Depot, there's one type of gift with which you can never go wrong: books.
Freelance writers love to read. And one of the things we most enjoy reading about is how to start, grow, or improve our freelance business.
I've read a lot about freelancing since I first started writing for the Web in 2005 (and first started actually getting paid for it in 2008). I've compiled a list of what I personally believe to be the highlights:
- Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer by Jenna Glazter. Every aspiring freelancer should read this book. It's like the Bible. Although it is slightly limited (Jenna focuses on writing articles for print magazines, rather than other venues such as copywriting or Web writing), this book is chock-full of useful information about how to get your career off and running. There's tons of information about coming up with ideas, querying editors, dealing with deadbeat clients and more.
- The Anti 9-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman. I got this book for Christmas last year and have read it cover-to-cover about 10 times since then. Michelle writes with an upbeat style and a dry sense of humor as she provides tips and advice for fleeing the cubicle. The book includes practical advice for building a business on the side and eventually taking the great leap into freelancing. It also covers temping, part-time work, and breaking into a new career.
- The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman. If you're looking to simply write articles and fiction, this book won't be of much use to you. If, however, you're open to working in commercial and business writing, this book should be with you at all times. Peter teaches would-be freelancers how to build a business from scratch, and---more importantly---how to market themselves.