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Make A REAL LIVING as a Freelance Writer: How To Win Top Writing Assignments Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning with plenty of realistic words of caution, veteran freelancer Glazer (Outwitting Writer’s Block and Other Problems of the Pen; Words You Thought You Knew) provides a practical guide for aspiring writers who want to earn a living doing what they love. Glatzer takes readers through the must-do basics—from sending clean, spell-checked cover letters to avoiding harassing busy editors—then delves into the processes of generating ideas, pitching, landing assignments and negotiating contracts. Once a writer has the assignment, she also has to know how to do research, conduct good interviews with experts and provide solid back-up ("if a fact-checker complains loudly enough that Writer X’s article was full of holes, or that the source material was badly organized or unreliable, an editor might not hire Writer X again"). In this honest and thorough volume, Glatzer gives the inside scoop on all of these things, and many other facets of the business that novices (and, quite frankly, many experienced writers) might not realize they need to consider.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"An in-your-hand education in professional writing." —Christian Communicator

"Really shows what publications are looking for in a writer."  —Dawn Papandrea, managing editor, The Collegebound Network

"A 'behind closed doors' look at freelancing...advice that will keep you ahead of the competition."  —The Writer

"Covers everything novice and experienced writers need to know to succeed at freelancing."  —Sheri McConnell, founder and president of the National Association of Women Writers

"A must-read for freelancers and wanna-be-freelancers."  —Julia Rosien, senior editor, ePregnancy magazine

"A must-read for any freelancer wanting to break into the business and stay there."  —Colleen Oakley, editor, Women's Health & Fitness 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Nomad Press (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097220265X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972202657
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the author or ghostwriter of 24 books, including Celine Dion's authorized biography (Celine Dion: For Keeps) and a Marilyn Monroe biography authorized by her estate (The Marilyn Monroe Treasures).

Some of my books have been turned into movies; others have been released in multiple languages around the world. I love what I do and the opportunities it gives me to meet and chronicle the lives of some pretty fascinating people.

Take, for instance, Scott Rigsby, the first double-amputee to finish the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon. Not only did he have no legs, but he also had two slipped discs in his back and one eye swollen shut on the day of the race. Our book is called Unthinkable.

Then there's Susan Markowitz, whose son's murder was the basis of the movie Alpha Dog. Our book is My Stolen Son.

Gaby Rodriguez made major headlines when she faked a pregnancy as her senior project in high school. Our book is The Pregnancy Project (also a Lifetime movie by the same name).

I've also written several health and self-help books, such as Bullyproof Your Child for Life with Joel Haber, Ph.D.

I live in New York with my awesome daughter. I have oddly wedge-shaped feet, and an excessive number of mugs. Maybe one day I'll get bigger cabinets.

See my author site at for more about me.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Debbie on April 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was an easy-to-read book written with a "you can do it" attitude - good for writers who are new to the field or are trying to break into bigger markets.
The book is a good mix of the author's experience (what worked and what she learned from mistakes she made), and quotes from editors and other established writers.
Very helpful were the websites with additional helpful information, like a fax site where you can receive your faxes by e-mail at no cost (i.e. no need for a fax machine), websites for writers, websites for finding sources, etc.
Also helpful were sections on negotiating contracts, how to pitch a story, how to study the market for your work (and the importance in doing so), how fact checking works, and how to find story ideas (and spin them off into even more ideas).
If you're the type who does well with assignments, the book has assignments you can do like one on coming up with ideas.
The book is less how to write, than the mechanics behind getting assignments and following through on them. It takes the mystique out of the process. I ended up earmarking a bunch of pages to go back to, and have already used some of the information (mainly websites) to further my own writing.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Maryanne Raphael on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Book Review by Maryanne Raphael, Writers World

Sustain a Lucrative Career while Wearing Pajamas
MAKE A REAL LIVING AS A FREELANCE WRITER explains how to be successful "in today's publishing climate where the Internet rules and stamps are nearly obsolete and the articles that earned front-page headlines last decade wouldn't even get short blurbs today." The book shows how to earn top dollars writing for magazines, how to write a marketable story, how to know what sections of a magazine welcome freelancers, how to market reprints, and how to become an expert in your chosen field.
Author Jenna Glatzer is the editor-in-chief of Absolute Write and author of Outwitting Writer's Block. She is a full time writer from NYC who has published 9 books and hundreds of articles. Her style makes reading fun with her quick wit, vast experience, knowledge of her subject and her use of meaningful quotes, relevant anecdotes and helpful resources.
She says, "You'll have to learn where to find writing markets and how to study them, write irresistible query letters, make editors fall in love with you, get regular assignments, negotiate, make deadbeats pay up and more." She helps discover your strengths and how to use them.,, shows you how to set goals, see writing as a business and get started.
"You must find something worth telling to a mass audience," she says, "and convince the `powers that be' that you're the right person to tell it."
She even tells how to make the most of rejection slips, how to network, write a column, interview, write for the Internet, have a Web Site, and make your article timely.
Read more ›
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sally DeLellis on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
You could easily finish this book in one sitting; Glatzer's tone is amicable and the information is very accessible. My favorite aspect is that there are many quotes from editors of the most popular magazines (Woman's Day, etc.), as well as lots of other tips specific to magazines that are in my chosen women's genre.

Glatzer uses a great method of coming up with story ideas; you take a very general concept - she used cats as her example, and then she suggests categories pertaining to cats (or whatever your general concept may be) that are a bit more specific. Fill out her chart completely and you'll arrive at 10+ different article topics. I've alread made a spreadsheet mimicing her chart and plan to use this once a week to brainstorm article ideas.

For the aspiring freelance magazine writer, this book is extremely useful!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Donna Talarico on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have many books on freelance writing. And I have had some luke-warm results in my relatively new freelance career. But, the books I have read in the past were either written too text-booky- or were filled with things that every other book contained- it just had a different title!

However, reading Glatzer's book was a great change of pace. It was not even the content- but her voice that made it such a great read. She is a passionate freelancer with wonderful success- yet in reading her words, I realize that she once was just like me. It was personal and uplifting and tongue-in-cheek at times- her style matches mine. So this book meshed well with my personality, and therefore, it has rejuvanated my spirits that my work can one day be in major magazines.

Her book told real stories- real successes and real roadblocks. Seeing real magazine names and all her other true stories gives her an immense amount of credibility. Her willingness to share is wonderful.

Look at some other freelance books- are they from successful writers that you have heard of, or can easily find clips of? Not really- they are from someone who wants to write- and therefore tells others how-- not with Glatzer.

I am actually taking a magazines class now, and I gave the book to my profressors- I think it should be demanded by journalism professors everywhere to open students to the world of freelancing!
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