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Math for Writers: Tell a Better Story, Get Published, Make More Money Paperback – February 4, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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"I used to tell people that as a writer, I was good with words, not numbers. Thanks to Laura Laing, I'm good at both, now." -- Sandra Beckwith, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book
"This is the age of big data. For journalists, big data means big stories. Laura Laing takes the mystery out of math that writers need to understand big data. I highly recommend her work - it just adds up." -- Michelle V. Rafter, WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age
"Math? Let's just say it's not my strong suit. Laura Laing's book is invaluable, explaining how todo the math, and how it can make you a better writer and a more successful freelancer." -- Kelly James-Enger, Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition
"Thanks to Laura Laing, math is no longer like the scary monster under the bed. Now we writers can easily deal with math in our business life without truckloads of antacid." -- Michele Wojciechowski, Next Time I Move, They'll Carry Me Out in a Box
From the Back Cover
Crunching numbers for a story; pricing out a project fee; interpreting your royalty statement: a little bit of math can go a long way to a successful writing career.
Don't panic. You can figure out the math you need as a writer. Self-proclaimed math evangelist, freelance writer and author of Math for Grownups, Laura Laing is here to help.
Her newest book, Math for Writers: Tell a Better Story, Get Published, Make More Money, will help you with the scary calculations and mind-boggling tables and graphs. You'll emerge ready to leap a tall equation in a single bound!
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Even better, she helps writers figure out whether you can make a living freelancing, managing book advances, and setting rates for your freelance business. As everyone knows, "it all comes down to the numbers." This book will help you figure it all out.
Full disclosure: I won a copy of the book at the Write Now Coach blog, but you'll get more than enough value at the cover price.
First, I use math every day as a health & fitness writer. For example, in a query or article, I will often mention what percentage of people suffer from a certain health condition or what the risk is developing another. These kinds of numbers grab an editor's (and later, a reader's) attention. I was pretty confident I was not going to read anything in these pages that I didn't already know, but I was wrong. I was reminded of the difference of understanding a correlation and causation and really "get" it now. And know now when you should cite a median figure versus a mean--and why. Another valuable takeaway was what size a sample needs to be for reliable survey results (for the record, it's 1,000, which I had never read in 17 years of freelancing). I never mastered stats in college but this overview was hugely helpful and made me feel smarter. Hopefully I can demonstrate that with future pitches.
What I found really instructive, though, was Laing's second section of the book, specifically geared toward writers. She breaks down an example of a writer who's seeking to improve her social media numbers (hugely important to book publishers today) in an easy-to-read and understand why; her chapter on how to calculate her hourly rate is worth the cost of the book for a new freelancer who's serious about succeeding in her business. I'll be giving this book to a friend of mine who just launched her freelance biz, with the caveat that she return it. For other writers, I suggest getting your own copy.