Books -- Free-Lancing: A Guide to Writing for Magazines and Other Markets by Ronald P. Lovell

Article excerpt

Lovell, Ronald P. (1994). Free-Lancing: A Guide to Writing for Magazines and Other Markets. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, Inc., Publishers. 356 pp. Paperback, $18.95.

At last--a freelancing book without an attitude. If you've read many of them, you know what I mean. Authors often seem to take the position that freelancing is easy: "You, too, can do it, even if you've never written a grocery list;" or impossibly hard: "Few can make a living at this, and you're probably not among them".

Ronald P. Lovell, in contrast, presents a realistic picture of the good, bad, and ugly aspects of the freelancer's world. In a straightforward way, with no ax to grind, he gives practical advice for approaching freelance writing as a business. Setting up a home office, keeping records for the IRS, and making money with nuts-and-bolts skills like public relations, technical and brochure writing, are treated as thoroughly as the formal, academic writing process.

The text is divided into five parts. Part I, in addition to the joys and sorrows of freelancing, offers information on magazine history and how today's markets are affected by it. Part II, the meat of the book, describes the main types of articles. Part III details the pre-writing process, from research to query to interview. Writing, rewriting, and submission form Part IV, while "Keeping the wolf from the door," Part V ends the book with eminently pragmatic advice about writing to pay the bills, and includes law and ethics for writers.

Citing the "sometimes cruel" lessons he learned during 30 years as a magazine staffer, freelancer, and university professor, Lovell seems more than willing to level with readers. …

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