Numerous people I have met harbour the desire to write a book at some point in their life and I am no different. However a whole book can seem a daunting prospect, leaving many people shelving their writing dreams altogether. Recently I have decided that in order to pursue my writing seriously I need to start looking at it from a business perspective rather than an artistic one – and to that end Antonia Chitty’s book Commercial Writing – How to Earn a Living as a Business Writer is precisely the book I have been looking for.
A successful business writer herself, and author of several parenting and business books, Antonia’s book is full of proper ‘nuts and bolts’ advice. From advertising campaigns to blogs, press releases to magazine articles, training manuals to SMS marketing, there is a whole world of writing opportunities out there and through the course of the book Antonia guides you towards the right avenue for you. In her book Antonia speaks with a quiet authority which is both knowledgeable and trustworthy. At no point do you feel anything has been added as ’padding’ – everything in the book is pertinent, useful and to the point.
Part One of the book looks at how to become a business writer. It looks at setting up your business and your office, the financial and legal requirements of being self-employed, along with the equipment you will need. It then goes on to look at the skills, knowledge and experience must have (or acquire) as well as looking at good business practices such as writing contracts, setting fees, doing your research and getting paid. The final chapter then covers in some detail how to go out and find those all-important clients, both on and offline
The second part of the book gives a comprehensive and detailed insight into all the different markets for commercial writing – Advertising, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, Journalism, New Media and other areas of related work. Antonia explains how to break into each market based on the skills, knowledge and experience you will need for each, as well as the type of work you could hope to attract, and the relevant training opportunities and professional organisations which can help you find the work you want.
A really interesting aspect of the book is where Antonia highlights the different personality traits suited to the different markets. Some people want their writing to lead to fame and recognition, but for many the thought of being in the limelight horrifies them. For people like this, she suggests Corporate Communications or Ghost Writing may appeal, or even related industries such as Indexing and Proof-Reading. Antonia encourages you to look honestly at your abilities and your weaknesses right from the start, to save you wasting time in pursuing avenues not suitable for you.
Having read the book I now feel better placed to pursue my writing in an area which suits my circumstances as a work at home mum, as well as my personality, and feel confident that I have identified an area and a niche on which to concentrate. All in all a must read for anyone serious about taking that leap from spare time writer to earning a full-time living from commercial writing.