sitemap Michael Meanwell | Interviews

Non Fiction Interviews

  •'s Jenna Glatzer talks with Michael about the business of commercial writing, including getting started, what to charge and how to attract and keep clients.
  • Writer Lisa Ann talks with Michael about the business side of writing and success principles all writers can adopt.
  •'s Kathryn Hardman talks with Michael about the pros and cons of epublishing, the benefits of ebooks and strategies for online marketing.

Jenna Glatzer interview: January 2001


How did you get your start as a writer?

Like many in our profession, I dreamed of being a writer when I was at school. In fact, that's when I first started writing. I wrote articles for the school magazine as well as poetry and even a short, three-act play.

But, my 'real' start came straight after school. I couldn't get a job with the small handful of newspapers or publishing houses in my city (Brisbane, Australia), so I started writing articles, firstly for me and then for publication. Then (1981), like now, I was very conservation-minded, so I wrote articles on the state of the environment, the mass destruction of the earth's resources, and animal rights issues.

It wasn't easy breaking through. In the beginning, I collected more rejection slips than checks, but before long, my articles were being published in local newspapers and then national magazines at the ripe old age of 17.

I still recall the daily anticipation, as I waited for the postman to arrive: would I have a letter from an editor or another returned manuscript?

In some ways, it didn't matter, so long as I got some kind of response from the publishing world. (I used to joke to friends that I had been rejected by the best newspapers in the English-speaking world: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, even the London Times had all rejected me now - but not for long. Well, it's 20 years later, and I still haven't been picked up by any of these newspapers, but one day they will bend to 'public pressure' - what can I say - I live in hope.)

I did feel one step closer, however, when I became a staff journalist for a regional daily at 19. It sharpened my skills, and gave me a lot more confidence. Throughout the past 20 years, whether I had a full-time job or not, I continued to freelance.

Why did you get into business writing?

By the time I was 25, I had gone as high as I could go as a journalist in terms of seniority. I had worked as a staff reporter, sub-editor and columnist for various newspapers along the east coast of Australia and was currently working for a stable of national business magazines.

One day, I was reading a collection of news releases received from PR agencies and, I thought, I can write these far better. That was part of my job anyway - to turn these thinly-veiled advertisements into something worth printing. Often, I would sit on the phone, interviewing the PR agency's client, to discover the real 'meat' of the story. Before long, my stories were being praised by the PR agencies' clients.

By then, I was ready for a new challenge. So, that was when I decided to move from the mainstream media to public relations and marketing.

I worked with a small agency. By small I mean, it was myself, the boss (an ex-journalist like myself) and a receptionist. I don't begrudge my start in PR and marketing. I got a far better hands-on grounding in these disciplines than many colleagues I know who worked for the major agencies.

Because the business was so small, I had to handle a wide range of activities and work across a variety of accounts. It was hard work, but it was a lot of fun. It's actually one of my most memorable experiences before starting my own consultancy a few years later.

I learnt PR and marketing communications from an ex-journalist. So my news releases were written often as hard news and often printed verbatim. I still think and write PR as a journalist. I think it's the only way you're going to keep your clients in print.

Before I got into PR, however, freelanced for an advertising agency, producing some direct mail, point of sale and other material. That's where I got my first taste of the difference in writing PR copy versus ad copy.

Again, with the small agency I worked for, we handled not just PR but also DM (direct mail) and advertising - virtually any kind of marketing - which broaden my skills.

Where do you find markets for your work?

This is one of the areas I discuss in my ebook, The Enterprising Writer.

For me, I have found the most effective ways of gaining corporate clients are through referrals from existing or satisfied clients. I realize this is chicken and egg stuff - you need clients first, before you can get client referrals.

Even if you haven't got any clients, you can get referrals from people you know. That's what I did when I went out on my own in 1991.

I knew people in their own business, and I had contacts in the media. Both groups knew people who needed my services, and so that's how I initially found clients. I was friendly with a number of advertising representatives for newspapers and magazines. They all had clients who spent money advertising with them, so I was able to add value to the client's advertising dollar by writing stories about their business. Sometimes the story accompanied an advertisement in a feature. But, if it was an important story, it was syndicated to the national media.

Once I had gained the confidence of the client, I would add value to their PR campaign by producing a direct mail program or maybe a newsletter or some other marketing services.

Today, when I am in need of clients, I practice what I preach. I have produced a brochure on the benefits of working with my consultancy. I send this out to relevant organizations with a personalized letter, just as I do when conducting a DM campaign on behalf of one of my clients.

How do you approach these companies?

I target both small businesses and large corporations, and I make sure that the letter I send addresses issues pertaining to their business size, needs or industry.

The letters are, of course, sent to either the marketing manager, national sales manager or managing director - whoever is most appropriate. If I am unfamiliar with the company, I will do a little preliminary research on their product range, target markets and other areas. It's easy to gather this marketing intelligence from their Web site or from brochures. Another good source is newspapers and magazines. In fact, I sometimes get my best leads from reading about companies in the news.

Keep in mind that each of these people are well versed in marketing. They have seen it all and heard it all. I find the best approach is to write honestly. I would suggest that for any marketing communication, but in this instance, play it straight and always think from the viewpoint of the reader. What do they need, rather than what are you selling.

Is it important to be incorporated, or at least to have a business license?

Operating in Australia may be different to the US. What I have found here is that being incorporated carries an air of professionalism. If you're incorporated, you must be serious about business - that seems to be the attitude for some people.

My marketing consultancy is incorporated, but my other business, a natural therapies center, is not. It's important to make the distinction. The consultancy deals with other companies (be it corporate clients, newspapers or magazines), the center deals mainly with private individuals. That's why there's not the same need.

How do you outsource work? Do you tell your clients that you do this?

Absolutely! Again, honesty is the best policy.

I not only tell my clients, I actually use this to my advantage.

My business has one employee - me. But I can have anything up to a dozen people working with me at any one time. Sometimes, we get together for in-person meetings, but often I brief my sub-contractors via email and the phone.

Each of the regulars has a brief biography in my corporate profile, which every prospect and client receives. I have hand-picked my sub-contractors so that their skills complement mine and the client work I undertake.

This gives me an advantage over larger agencies as well as similar-sized consultancies and freelancers. I am able to handle larger projects, requiring two or more staff - something freelancers and similar-sized consultancies can't do. And, because I only pay sub-contractors when I need them, I can charge my clients a lot less than the large agencies who maintain a staff of consultants.

I have used sub-contractors for piece-meal work as well as ongoing accounts, including Kodak, PACCAR and Telstra (Australia's largest telecommunications carrier).

Also, when you're working by yourself, it's good to work on account with others. It reminds me of the days when my consultancy had a staff of five. We had the ability to put some or all on one account, and to brainstorm and just share in the work. I used to miss those days, but now I can have that with sub-contractors when the work is available.

My sub-contractors bring fresh ideas and viewpoints, and they also give me the freedom to take time off to work on other projects or to have a holiday when I want to rather than when a client's schedule allows me to.

That's a big plus when you are the business.

How would you advise a writer who has no experience with business writing to get his or her start?

Getting started is the hardest. Clients are more willing to take a chance on you if you have a track record - a folio of work.

The best way to begin building a folio is to approach people you know in business. These can be family or friends, and offer your services at a low cost or, if you have to, at no cost. I am not suggesting you make a career out of working for free. I am only suggesting this approach if you cannot find paid work.

If you don't know of anyone in business, try various volunteer organizations, churches and social groups.

It's important to remind yourself that you are in a training phase, and that usually comes at a cost. In this case, the cost could be working for a reduced rate.

Of course, once you start to collect samples, you now have a track record. At the same time, I strongly recommend you seek testimonials from people you have worked with. This can be a simple, one-page letter written by your client regarding your performance. This is particularly important in the early days - it will add value to that track record.

Once you have been in business for a while, you may find that you receive referrals and testimonials without even asking for them. That's what happens to me. This is generally far more powerful than asking for them, and it's a great vote of confidence in your abilities.

How do you know what to charge?

Essentially there are two ways of charging. You can be a 'price leader' and set the rate, or a 'price follower' and charge the same as the competition.

When you are starting out, it's best to follow the market and charge the same or a little less, until you gain a reputation.

In addition to knowing what to charge, there are different ways of charging - by the hour or by the project.

I have found that clients generally prefer paying by the project. That way they know how much the job will cost at the start. This is particularly important when you are starting a new client relationship. You are an unknown quantity to them, so one way you can gain their trust is to set a rate and stick to it.

Funnily enough, this point was raised by a client of mine just last week. She praised me for charging a flat fee for the production of media releases.

This is one of the largest companies in Australia, and it uses several agencies for marketing. Most of the larger agencies charge by the hour, not the project. And, she was telling me, that approach generally blows their budget, especially when there are major rewrites involved in the job.

My policy is that as long as the client brief does not alter, I will rewrite the release until I get it right. That may take me one draft or several. Fortunately for me, I usually hit the target with the first draft.

When you look at this from a client viewpoint, it's fair. It may not be fair for the writer to put in all those extra hours. But if you have misunderstood your client's wishes, then I see that as your problem, not theirs. Would you pay extra for someone else's mistake?

Ironically, these larger agencies don't always see it that way. They charge by the hour, and that means the client pays for rewrite after rewrite, with the bill coming in several times higher than mine.

What is a "call to action", and why is it so important when writing advertising material?

When you write a 'call to action', you are asking the reader to do something. That could be to pick up the phone and call a 1800 number. It may be to fill in a coupon for further information or it could be to click on a link and order an ebook.

Again, this is an area I cover in my ebook. I look at the best call to action devices and word triggers you can use for success.

It's important to remember that when you write any kind of advertising communication, you are a sales person with a pen. Or, at least, you should be thinking that way.

A sales person, sells the benefits of the goods, and then delivers the 'call to action'. Do you want to pay for that by charge or check?.. Do you want to pick it up now or lay-away?

As 'sales writers', we can use more sophisticated techniques, but you still need to make a firm case for the reader to act on your 'call to action'.
Sadly, a fair percentage of ad material either does not have a call to action or has a weak one. Have a look next time at the ads which you act on versus those that leave you cold. I bet you'll find the latter fails with its call to action.

Are you expected to distribute the releases you write? If so, where do you find media contacts?


As in my country, you will find that there are publicly available media guides or directories, which list every newspaper, magazine, and radio and TV station in the nation. You can build your own media database with this resource, and then hone it as you liaise with the media.

Journalists seem to be one of the most transient people on the planet, so it's important to keep your contacts up to date.
And, on a similar note, consider not only who you syndicate material to but how you do it.

With every media release I produce, I invest considerable time selecting the right media markets. There's no point wasting your clients' money and the media's time sending it to the wrong publications. The more targeted you can make your releases, the greater the strike rate and the more satisfied your clients will be.

I usually fax and email media releases, and offer to send photos electronically if requested. I have found this to be the best method for news releases. For features or stories that are not as timely, I usually mail a hard copy with photos and email the copy, so that journalists can save time copying and pasting the text.

One of the 'tricks' to working with the media is to treat them like your own clients. That's why I go out of my way to make their life easier. This helps promote a good working relationship and that's a win-win for journalists, myself and, most importantly, my clients.

If approaching a client via email, how do you send samples of your work?

The best approach I have found is to offer to send samples and clips via email, or to scan and post them on a Web site. I say offer to send samples, rather than discriminately send large files. Some people have slow modems and can spend half an hour or more waiting for a file of clips to download.

If you are an active, online freelancer, I would recommend included in your email links to a 'cyber folio' on your own Web site. If you haven't got a Web site, there are a number of domain hosts who offer free and inexpensive plans, such as Doteasy. I have a number of free and fully-featured web sites with this provider, so I highly recommend them.

[Edit: Since doing this interview, I have switched to InMotionHosting. Doteasy still offers an excellent range of hosting services ~ and it's a great place to get your feet wet.]

In addition to having your own Web site, freelancers can also maintain a 'virtual resum' at They call this free service a Talent Profile and it allows you to provide a lot of detail about yourself and your services to prospective clients.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Quoting my book, I believe all you need to be an Enterprising Writer are three things: Drive. Ability. Responsibility.

You need the drive to get things done on time, to brief and within budget; you need to run the extra mile when others can't or won't.

You also need to have the ability to handle a range of projects and a variety of clients' demands, so that you can capitalize on every opportunity that comes your way.

And, finally, you need to take responsibility for the journey. That means, not only taking responsibility for your business but also for your life; finding a balance between work and play, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

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Magdalena Ball interview: February 2001


Tell me about the origin of The Enterprising Writer.

I got the idea to write this book a few years ago after working with a number of professional writers.

In my 20 years as a professional writer, I have spent half that time in my own business, hiring both full-time and freelancer writers.

Some, like me, had a newspaper and magazine journalism background, others had come from TV and radio, and others from corporate marketing. In many cases, I hired people who had 10 or 20 more years more in the industry and, with that, far more experience and skills. Some writers had worked on well-known Australian and overseas titles, and one had enjoyed six-figure salary with a large corporation before working for me.

The point is that most of these professional writers had the credentials, the track record and the ability to be a major success in their own writing business. And yet, without exception, none had risen to great heights working for themselves.

This got me thinking ... "what am I doing that they are not doing?" ... and so the germ for The Enterprising Writer was born.

There's some conjecture whether great writers are born. Whichever school of thought you belong to, I believe writers can develop the skills needed to become enterprising writers who are not only prolific but profitable.

You earn a reasonable living from your writing. Did you have to make the big decision at one point and just stop everything else and focus on the writing career to get to where you are now?

Yes. Put simply, I think that if you want to be a success at anything, you need to focus on what works and discard what doesn't.

In my case, it wasn't a matter of just focusing on writing but focusing on the right kind of writing.

When I got my first full-time job as a reporter on a regional daily on the Gold Coast, I also became the paper's film critic. It was a lot of fun and I didn't mind seeing and reviewing a few films a week in my spare time. But that experience led to other opportunities to review videos, music and then books. Before long, I was spending a good portion of my spare time, 'researching' and writing weekly reviews. This didn't worry me at the time, because I was learning my craft, enjoying the fruits of my labor, and also interviewing celebrities and attending gala events.

But, when I took a job as a sub-editor for a group of newspapers in Melbourne, I also continued my moonlighting as an entertainment critic. By then, I was working a 40-hour job as a sub-editor and spending at least another 40 hours a week writing reviews for this group of newspapers and freelancing for other newspapers and magazines.

The hours were long and the pay abysmal. But it took me several years to work out that my time could be better spent elsewhere. Once I finally cut the ties, I was able to move on to a better job and focus my freelance energies in more profitable areas.

It can be difficult to let go of things that have been a part of your life, even when you see them as a waste of time. That's why it's important to have clearly defined goals. To be a success in anything, you need to know what you truly want and what you are prepared to do to get it. You need to acknowledge your dreams by breaking them into bite-sized chunks ~ goals ~ and attach a deadline for their completion. That's the only way I know to stay on target and to make it happen.

Can anyone earn the sort of money writing that you do?

Let me begin by saying this.

We all know there's big money in books. Celebrity authors, like Stephen King, can command $40 million a year or more. We also know that there's just a handful of writers in this stratosphere, and that the bulk of mid-list authors scramble to make a decent living.

But how many writers realize that behind every message they hear, read or see, be it in a newspaper, on radio, TV, the Web or even product packaging, is a writer. Someone has to come up with that memorable slogan or that catchy phrase or even the media invitation which attracts journalists to a press conference.

And that someone is a writer.

The whole point of The Enterprising Writer is to show others what I believe is the most lucrative area available to writers today. Writers can generate a higher income from writing newsletters, brochures, ads and sales letters than they can from writing for newspapers and magazines. And, once you have a number of clients, you have ongoing work for months or for years. The same can't be said when you freelance for magazines.

Having said that, commercial writers are a little like novelists, in that there's a small echelon who are earning good money and there is a larger community who are getting by.

The difference is that there is a lot of work available in commercial writing, if you know where to look, if you know how to target prospects and snare clients.

So, to answer our question, yes any writer can earn a good living from their craft if they know not only how to write but also how to manage their business. And that's what I address in my book.

You spend a fair amount of time in the book focusing on the need for an appropriate business plan. Do you think that this is an area that writers tend to be particularly lax in ~ not treating their work as a proper business?


Being an enterprising writer is about maintaining a sustainable living as a writer. Seeing writing as a business in every sense of the word. That appears obvious on the surface, but I wonder how many writers truly see their craft as a business and work it as such. That means not waiting for the muse to take you. That means doing something about writer's block, even if it's prospecting for new business or administrative work.

The first step is to determine whether you are cut out to work for yourself. If so, lay the right foundations by developing practical, business management skills, writing a business plan and so on. Most writers I know fail to do this, and consequently fail to succeed in their own business.

At the back of your book you have a number of templates, including a few for direct marketing a person’s own writing business. Do you think that direct marketing is a good strategy for beginners?


I think DM is not only a cost effective way of attracting and maintaining business, it's also a simple way to show rather than tell prospects how well you can write and how much your skills and services can benefit their business.

It stands to reason that if you are going to promote your commercial writing services, you should use the very skills you are promoting.

What sorts of responses have you had from direct marketing?

Direct marketing is one of the core marketing tools I use to attract new business.

Word of mouth still out-ranks all other promotional activities I undertake. But, particularly in the beginning when I was building the business, I would issue prospecting letters to a dozen companies a week, and follow them up religiously a few days after receiving them. In the beginning, like any sales activity, it's hard work and it can be a little frustrating when you're not getting past the first phone call.

But it is a far better approach than straight cold calling from the phone book, as some writers do. In this line of work, I see cold calling as less than professional, and I think the results speak for themselves.

DM, as mentioned earlier, gives you a chance to introduce yourself, your services and your skills to a prospect. So that when you follow-up the letter and brochure with a phone call, the prospect is 'warm', meaning they are already familiar with you. That makes it easier to gain an appointment compared with cold calling from names in a directory.

Did you find that it was difficult to get work until you had a few clients to list? How can a writer just starting to do commercial work get these?

Yes, in the beginning it's a little hard. Not just because a writer hasn't got the clients, but they probably haven't got the confidence to sell themselves nor the ability to provide marketing solutions on their feet.

When starting out, the goal is to develop a folio of work. This is chicken-and-egg stuff. You need a folio to gain work and you need work to develop a folio. So to get started, approach people you know in business. These can be family or friends, and offer your services at a low cost or, if you have to, at no cost. I am not suggesting you make a career out of working for free. I am only suggesting this approach if you cannot find paid work. If you don’t know of anyone in business, try various volunteer organizations, churches and social groups. It’s important to remind yourself that you are in a training phase, and that usually comes at a cost. In this case, the cost could be working for a reduced rate.

Once you have completed one or more jobs, seek testimonials from your clients. This will help support your growing folio and give potential clients confidence in your work. Once you have been in business for a while, you may find that you receive referrals and testimonials without even asking for them. That’s what happens to me. This is generally far more powerful than asking for them, and it’s a great vote of confidence in your abilities.

Now it's time to check out the job classifieds ~ not just for journalists, freelance, PR or marketing writers -- but for any sales and marketing roles. If a company is expanding its sales force it will more than likely need marketing collateral, an ongoing PR program or maybe just some overload services. Be proactive, write to the Marketing Manager, CEO, Managing Director or Sales Manager (whoever is more appropriate), offering your services. But don't wait by the phone, call them within a few days of mailing the letter.

Your book is self-published (and an e-book). Did you try the traditional route first?

Not with this book.

I had decided to launch an epublishing business last year, and this book screamed to be heard. So it was my first ebook and first self-published work.

Do you think e-publishing is easier for writers to break into, and does that reduce the kudos associated with it?

Yes. Today a writer only needs to put pixels to screen and they can be published. In the 'old days' there was a series of gate-keepers, called editors, who allowed just one in one thousand submitted manuscripts to see the light of day.

But, even though those it's easier to be epublished, there is already a great deal of competition in cyberspace. Writers will need to do a lot more of their own book promotion and marketing to get noticed. But once noticed, if your work is worth reading, the public will vote with their wallets.

There has always been a perception that self-published works do not come up to the standard of traditionally published books. This stigma is accentuated with epublishing because it is seen as a new and unproven medium.

It's important to remember that many best-selling works, like 'Celestine Prophecy', 'What Color is Your Parachute?', 'The Joy of Cooking' and 'The One Minute Manager' started life as self-published tomes before being picked up by major publishers.

I do not look down on ebooks. I have purchased a number of them and some I refer to regularly in my business.

Writers need to remember that the greats of our industry ~ King, Forsyth and Kootnz ~ to name a few, are also epublished and doing well out of this new medium (King sold half a million copies of his first e-novella in three days). Thankfully these name authors are validating the industry for all of us.

Are there types of books which work better than others for e-publishing?

Yes. With few exceptions, fiction does not sell well as ebooks.

eBooks, particularly those commanding $20 or more, tend to be instructional manuals or reference guides.

The best areas for ebooks, in my view, are:

• Health
• Hobbies
• Lifestyle
• Philosophy
• Business
• Wealth
• Success

If you can show people how to improve their personal or professional lives in a simple, cost effective or time efficient manner, you have a good chance of doing well in epublishing. But, as I said earlier, be prepared to become your own publicist.

Your book is oriented towards commercial writing, and I imagine that this is where the money is, but what about writers who write fiction and poetry? Do you recommend that all writers diversify in order to make a living? Can writers who aren’t commercially oriented still make a living with their work?

There are ways writers can improve their living without resorting to commercial writing. Again, it all comes back to how you structure your business and how you promote yourself ~ two areas I cover in my book.

But, it's still going to be hard for the majority of writers to make a solid living out of fiction and poetry, in my view.

My advice would be to find a balance in your writing between what you enjoy (poetry and fiction) and what is profitable for you to write, such as commercial writing.

I am like all other writers. There are some things I like writing about and some things I don't. But I try to involve my own personality in whatever I am writing. This makes it more interesting to me and, hopefully, to the reader.

There are enormous opportunities and choice in commercial writing. You can choose to everything from PR and feature stories, newsletters and brochures to ad copywriting, DM sales letters, scripts, speeches. Also, there are a plethora of industries out there needing writers' services. So you have a choice of working with a few writing disciplines in various industries, or a range of disciplines in select industries, or you can become a generalist.

You’re writing a few novels yourself. Do you find that the more urgent and more lucrative commercial work interferes with the time you have for more personal writing?

Yes, it does.

When I started preparing to write The Enterprising Writer, I was working almost seven days a week for my commercial clients. I needed a break from the stress, and I also needed some variety, so I started to farm out work to some trusted freelancers.

Now that I have produced three ebooks and developed an ebookstore, I can ease back into my commercial writing business. I have enjoyed the break away from it, but it's nice to get back into the day-to-day interaction with clients and the media.

I have two novels I want to complete. One needs a rewrite, the other is only half written. But I haven't touched either in two years. So, yes, commercial writing pays today, so it gets first preference.

Tell me about Meanwell Store. How did that come about? Are there plans to carry other books?

The Web is not new to me. I have been an active user since 1995 and I have had my own Web sites since 1997.

The Meanwell Store is one of two sites I maintain, and it's the ebookstore for my growing range of ebooks. When I decided to write ebooks, I considered working with an established epublishing or going solo. I have actually done both. One of my ebooks, Writers on Writing, [this ebook was expanded and retitled in 2008 as The Write Advice] which is a compendium of literary quotations and original positive affirmations for writers, is available at my site as well as Booklocker.

Ultimately, I hope to publish a wide range of both reference material and fiction by myself as well as other authors. I hope to offer other writers some of the traditional publishing services, like editing, book promotion and marketing, that are missing with most epublishers. Most are content just to post ebooks on their site and leave the promotional work up to the writer. I don't think they can justify taking 50% or more of the royalties merely for providing a glorified web hosting service.

Since doing this interview, I have replaced the Meanwell Store with which is the title of my premier reference book for writers. This is not only an ebookstore but a resource for wordsmiths, with free articles, interviews, free chapters from my book as well as a writers' forum and blog.]

What’s next on your agenda?

Well, apart from getting back into my commercial writing business, I am researching a new ebook for writers which, like the others, will help make life a little easier. I don't want to say much more than that. But I will say that this new ebook will give writers more inspiration and hopefully more motivation in their work.

With a name like mine, what else would you expect?

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Magdalena Ball interview: May, 28 2001

From: Inscriptions Magazine

You've recently started a new Web site. Tell us a bit about that.

Well, like the title of my book, this Web site is designed to show writers what I have found ~ how to make a sustainable living from their writing. It includes a variety of prescriptive articles updated weekly. These how-to articles are designed to help writers hone their skills as well as consider other areas of writing and how to build a healthy writing business. also includes links to reference and writers' sites as well as an online forum. This gives writers the chance to share ideas and communicate with each other.

There are a lot of Internet sites devoted to writing. Why did you feel the need to start an additional site?

There are plenty of writing sites out there. Many focus on freelance writing, but mine focuses on what I believe is the most profitable form of freelance writing: writing marketing communications for small and large businesses. That's the premise for my e-book, and the Web site. It carries a mix of stories on how to crack this lucrative market, from prospecting and landing clients to working on niche communications, such as PR, ad copywriting, direct mail and Web content.

You've been writing professionally for over 20 years. Talk about some of the changes which have taken place in the writing industry.

As we all know, writing has always been a popular pursuit. Most people feel they have a book inside of them. The tough part is excavating it, and then trying to get it published.

It has been said that the major New York publishers print one manuscript in 10,000 received. With major publishers merging, this rarefied market is now more competitive than ever, and tends to be restricted to best-selling or celebrity authors.

But, as this market shrinks, a new market is available for the masses, e-publishing, which I believe will ultimately revolutionize the industry ... The general public is still a long way from accepting this new medium, but inroads are being made with the publishing clout of authors, like Stephen King.

E-publishing, to some degree, levels the playing field for writers. It allows new and experienced writers the opportunity to gain publication and to manage their own literary destiny, and that's something I find personally exciting.

You've e-published two books and are planning to publish more. Why did you chose e-publishing rather than the traditional venues?

I have been down the traditional route with my fiction. I have spent more time trying to find a publisher for my first novel than I did writing it. And that's not unusual.

Funnily enough, I didn't choose to e-publish The Enterprising Writer because I couldn't find a publisher for it. I never considered a traditional publisher. The reason is that I decided last year I wanted to enter the publishing business and create another income stream ~ something that did not require the same financial investment or effort as my off-line businesses require.

I was already experienced in working the Web, having built a substantial site for one of my other businesses. So, I saw my e-publishing venture as a natural extension. That's not to say that I have ruled out traditional publishing. I will explore this when the time is right.<<br />

What are the specific constraints and issues with e-publishing that you don't get with traditional publishing?

With traditional publishing, your task is relatively limited. You write the book, you submit it and the rest of the work is pretty much out of your hands. Your publisher has the book professionally edited, printed and marketed.

With an e-published book, you are responsible for a lot more tasks. Depending on whether you are the e-publisher (as I am) or you go through a third party e-publisher, you will be responsible for design and production of the material as an e-book. You will also have to arrange publicity on and off-line.

If you are the e-publisher, you will also be responsible for developing a functional Web site, arranging credit card facilities for the sale of books and a simple, automated distribution process. For me, I have automated as many processes as possible, so that when a customer orders the e-book, they are instantly given a URL and password, so that they can download the e-book directly from my site. This gives customers instant fulfillment and also saves me time.

The beauty about e-publishing, whichever way you go, is that your e-book is on sale around the clock and around the world. And that‚s true for me. I have woken up in the morning to a bunch of orders that were fulfilled during the night (which is always someone else‚s day on the Internet), and I have readers of my books in places as diverse as the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand as well as Denmark, Japan, Vanuatu and Russia.

What are your predictions for the future of the e-publishing industry? Can we expect to see commuters reading e-books on the train? Will we be bringing our e-books to bed with us (with built in e-book lights?)

Absolutely. I believe that it's just a matter of time before e-books become a household item, just as mobile phones, laptop computers and handheld PDAs have become.

The applications ~ e-books ~ are there. The equipment ~ PDAs and purpose-built e-book readers ~ are there. It's just a simple matter of mass marketing, so that the price can come down, and the products become more affordable and accepted.

As I said earlier, Stephen King and other well known authors are helping pave the way for this new medium. The general public is slowly realizing the benefits e-books have over 'tree books', such as convenience, quality (some books, like mine, are only available in this format) and added features (e.g., hypertext links to the Net).

You are a multi-faceted writer. Your work encompasses writing books, technical writing, copywriting, advertising and even novels. Do you think that most freelance writers need to be multi-talented to make a living?

Yes I do. I think it's good for your bank balance and your sanity.

Also, it pays to try your hand at a number of areas ~ how do you know if you like a specific area or you are any good at it, if you have never tried it.

Some freelance markets can dry up with little notice, so it pays to have other strings to your bow.

In commercial writing, for example, I have written media releases, speeches, direct mail letters and ads for radio and print. Each is considered a specific writing discipline. By being able to write for each of these disciplines, I instantly increase potential markets for my literary services.

Also, once I begin working for a client in one area, it's not too difficult to expand and offer them a complete marketing communications service. This is something that larger agencies are offering now ~ integrated marketing. It's something I have been doing for several years, and I think it is one of the least tapped strategies available to freelancers today.

In addition to writing various marketing communications, it also pays to expand your areas of industry expertise. I am experienced in a number of industries, so that means I have a smaller learning curve than another commercial writer approaching a new client in a specific industry.

That's where the sanity part comes in.

Writing is an exciting occupation. I think everyone reading this would agree. But if you are writing about power tools all day, every day, you will soon get stale and lose interest. That's why it's important to develop a number of industry interests, so that you can swap accounts when it suits.

It's not unusual for me to start the day working on a press release, then brainstorm for an ad and maybe flesh out some ideas for a brochure or newsletter. That's not every day, of course. Some days I'll spend the whole time working on one project for one client. But I know there will be something different to do for someone else later in the week. That's what keeps things interesting and challenging for me.

How do you manage to juggle your differing writing commitments? How do you manage the always urgent world of industry and advertising with the introspective world of fiction writing?

That's a great question. I don't know if I have the answer yet. I'm a bit of a Nike writer ~ "Just do it!" I suffer from procrastination and information overload just like everyone else. I have always been a fairly hard worker, so I don't mind putting in the extra hours. And that's generally what I do.

With almost every client I have in the commercial world, they all want a project completed 'yesterday'. So it's just a matter for me to determine what really must be done now and what can be left for later in the week.

The one thing I always make a point of doing is sticking to my external and internal deadlines. The external deadline is the one that I agree upon with my client. They may want it by the end of today. I may want more time to complete it, so I will negotiate for close of business the following day. And then they usually get the finished work somewhere in the middle of these two deadlines. I live my commercial life by the maxim "meeting needs and exceeding expectations". And that's the main reason clients tell me they keep coming back.

In terms of my fiction and my other writing tasks, such as the two Web sites, e-zine and forum that I maintain each week ... well ... I work on these when there is a lull in work or responses from clients. (In fact, I am doing this interview while I wait for half a dozen call backs and an approval on an ad and a media release.)

But, for the most part, I reserve time over the weekend for my other writing pursuits. They are necessary and important to me, but I still need to prioritize them in my working week. I find the weekend is best for me because the phone has stopped ringing and there is not the same immediate need to complete tasks for clients.

It sounds like I am a very busy person, and I guess I am. But I still take time out for relaxation with my wife. Taking time out to recharge the batteries reminds me why I drive myself so hard. It also gives my brain an opportunity to percolate ideas relating to my job.

I find one of the best things I do in my down time is to take a walk most evenings. I may listen to a taped interview or just some music, but I always take a tape recorder with me as well. This is one of the best brainstorming and mind sorting exercises I know. It gives me a chance to get out of the office I also call home, and it gives me a chance to put everything into perspective.

Also, if I am working on a project and I feel myself getting bogged down, often I will take a break. I will take my notes to the park and sit and think. Before long, the problem is sorted out and I madly dash back to the office to put it down on screen.

What do you think is the most important piece of advice to writers trying to turn their hobbies into professions?

I think the most important thing writers should do is remind themselves that their hobby is their profession. I have a lot of friends who are writers. Some are professionals, like me, some are amateurs who keep a journal and write the occasional article, and some are wannabes who dream for the day when they can see their name in print. The problem I find, even with some of the professionals, is that they really don't see their writing as their profession. They don't use the right tools, they have not set themselves up in business, they do not prospect for work, they do not investigate and follow through properly on opportunities and so on.

Whether you sell cars or words for a living, there are certain things you need to do to be taken seriously in business, not just by your clients, by you too. You need to find an office, even if it's a bedroom or an alcove in your home. You need to set up a business. You need to invest in the right tools so that you can accomplish your tasks. Then you need to prospect for work, develop a folio, collect testimonials, seek referrals. Then you need to build your business, expand your services and your client list.

Putting a shingle outside and waiting by the phone isn't enough in any business, especially this one. You need to be hungry for work. You need to be thick-skinned. You need to prove to yourself and others that you are a professional writer. And most of all, you need to stick with it. Don't quit. Keep writing. Keep reading. Keep believing in yourself and 'seeing' yourself as a successful writer.

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Krista Barrett interview: June 2001


Tell us a bit about yourself. What would you like us to know about you?

Well, on the personal side, I was born and raised in Australia where I am based today. I live in Australia's second largest capital city, Melbourne, south of Sydney. Like the US, Australia is a multicultural country, and Melbourne has the largest mix of races. That's great for me, because I enjoy the different cultures, especially when eating out.

In terms of family, I have one older brother, Scott, and my father is still alive but not my mother. She died when I was 24.

I guess it's fair to say I come from a literary family. I am related on my mother's side to Adam Lindsay Gordon, who is widely recognized as Australia's national poet. That's something I was reminded of by my grandparents when I was young ~ they clearly saw the direction I was headed.

Also my father, while not a writer by profession, always seemed to have a pen in his hands (still does). He spent much of his career in marketing and merchandising, and wrote a great deal of promotional material as well as more than a dozen books, mostly technical manuals. He was a great student and teacher, and always encouraged Scott and I to read.

Ironically, I don't recall ever being encouraged to write as a child. It was just a natural form of expression for me. In fact, I didn't really know my father was a closet writer until I had joined the ranks as a teenager. One of my most cherished memories in those days was when he opened a musty old chest, revealing a number of faded novels he had written in his youth. Among them was an unfinished, handwritten manuscript and a few short stories which he had written as part of a correspondence course.

A year or so after that, I undertook the same correspondence course with the same mentor my father had 20 or 25 years earlier. That was pretty surreal. It was even more surreal when I began writing my first novel at 17. My father decided to do the same.

On the professional side, I have been a professional writer for the past 20 years.

I have wanted to be a writer since my teenage years when I wrote poetry, short stories and a short play at school. In fact, relatives used to think I was headed for this vocation judging by the number of long letters I used to write as a child.

My first phase of serious writing came at 17 when I started working on a novel and also began freelancing for newspapers and magazines. This was while I held down a 'real job' which was as a trainee manager for a major retail chain. The following year I was writing full-time, firstly as a freelance, then as a newspaper reporter and sub-editor for a regional daily. From there, I became a columnist, feature writer and journalist for various newspapers and national magazines.

In more recent years, I have specialized as a marketing communications writer for some large and well-known organizations including Kodak, Honda, Ford, Oce, PACCAR, World Vision as well as Cross Writing Instruments, VDO and Royal Selangor Pewter.

In addition to print media, I have also produced and presented a weekly radio show, and written and presented an inspirational TV program.

Along the way, I have written four books (both fiction and non-fiction), including two critically-acclaimed e-books. These are The Enterprising Writer, which shows writers how to capitalize on the lucrative commercial writing field; and Writers on Writing, [this ebook was expanded and retitled in 2008 as The Write Advice] a compendium of literary quotations and original, positive affirmations for today’s writers.

I see writing as my past, present and future. I cannot se myself ever not writing. It's the one thing I want to do for the rest of my life.

What are doing now? (Career? Married? Single? Children? Pets? Etc.)

I am married to the most supportive woman I have ever met, Yianna. She is not a writer by profession, but she is working on a book about a major turning point in her life, so it's wonderful to be able to share this part of my life with her.

We don't have any children nor pets. We're enough for each other.

What is your favorite?...


Stir Fry. It's the only thing I can cook, and it's still a favorite whether I'm at home or out.


Blue. It has been since I was a kid. (In fact I have a blue jumper and jeans on right now.)


The surf. I grew up on the Gold Coast (Australia's answer to Miami) and used to fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves less than a mile away. It's the most hypnotic sound I know.


Chocolate. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.


My wife. I know that's the 'correct' thing to say, but it's true. I work from home, so we spend almost 24/7 together, by choice. We really have a great life together.


Melbourne, Australia, where I have lived since 1986. It's got class, culture and everything I need. It beats the pants off Sydney (we have the same rivalry as LA and NY). A lot of Australians criticize Melbourne for its unpredictable weather (it's common knowledge we can have the proverbial 'four seasons in one day'. Some people say: "if you don't like Melbourne's weather, wait a while").


Growing up on the Gold Coast. My family moved there when I finished school, so it holds a lot of wonderful memories of my youth.

Article of clothing:

Track pants. Sorry, no Armani for this guy. There's nothing better than lounging around with a comfortable and uncompromising pair of pants that are forgiving when I eat too much.



When I was a teenager, my favorite word and activity was 'poenightry'. I used to spend hours writing poetry at night instead of sleeping. So I made up a term to categorize my nocturnal habit.

What is your favorite writers' quote and why?

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."

Richard Bach's quote reminds me that persistence pays in the end. I still have plenty of ambition and plenty of things I want to accomplish as a writer, and this reminds me that it's possible as long as I continue to invest in myself.

Richard Bach was my favorite author when I was growing up. I read anything he wrote, but his book Illusions was my favorite, and inspired my first novel.

What is your most favorite quality about yourself?


When I am enthusiastic about a project, I can work for hours without a break and achieve a great deal. I also find that my mind is quick out of the gate. I can have an endless stream of inspiration when I am creating something fresh.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?


I think it's the bain of most writer's lives, and that's certainly true for me too. A lot of people would class me as a workaholic, but I think I procrastinate far too much to fit into that category.

If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?

That's a tough one. There are so many places I want to visit ~ not just the great cities of Europe but also the great cities of antiquity, like Egypt. I also want to go to the US ~ Washington DC and New York specifically. I love most things American and have planned to go to the US since my early 20s, but just haven't found the time. The reason I want to go now is that I will be starting work on a new novel later this year and much of the action takes place in DC and NY. So I'd love to visit places I will be writing about rather than doing it by remote control.

What inspires you to write and why?

Life. Ever since I can remember I have looked at the world in wonder. I have wondered why things are, I have wondered about my place in the world, and I have wondered how I can help myself and others make this a better place in which to live.

Much of my writing reflects this.

I have got terrific ideas for characters and stories, merely by observing life ~ people ~ at a train station. Inspirations is all around us, if only we would take note.

What is your favorite book and why?

That's a tough question.

I would have to say Illusions by Richard Bach, who I mentioned earlier.

My reasoning is that I have read a number of books twice, but this is only one of a handful I have read over and over. It's a short book, but it contains deep characters and a wondrous message of hope.

List your three favorite authors (any genre) and why?

  • Richard Bach: He was the first author to give me the answers I sought as a teenager.
  • Stephen King: I am not a horror fan ~ never have been ~ but I love his characters and the situations he places them in.
  • Wayne Dyer: His messages have become one of the great inspirations throughout my adult life.

What do you think makes a writer successful?

In a word, heart.

  • The heart to care and to write about it.
  • The heart to continue honing your skills, day after day, rejection slip after rejection slip.
  • The heart to write for the right reasons ~ not for the money, not for the fame, but because there is something aching inside of you to be born, and you won't rest until it has life.

What is it that makes you successful as a writer?


How long have you been writing and how did you get your start as a freelance writer?

I have been freelancing in some shape or form for the past 20 years. During most of that time, I have held literary-based jobs, firstly as a staff reporter, then sub-editor, columnist and then I moved into public relations and marketing, where I wrote commercial copy (PR, ads, direct mail, speeches and so on) for a variety of companies. Since 1991, I have run my own marketing communications business. But throughout all this time, I still freelance on occasion for publications and special projects.

I got my start as a freelancer, mostly out of sheer desire. I was retrenched at 18, and tried a couple of dead-end sales jobs before I decided to go full time as a freelance writer. Fortunately, I was living with my parents at the time, so money wasn't the highest priority. Like everything, the hardest part was getting started. In the beginning, publications wouldn't hire me because I didn't have any experience, so I would just continue to write and submit stories, and continue to gain rejection slips week after week. Then I got a breakthrough with a local newspaper and I wrote a series of conservation-based articles (these were in the days when the harp seal issue was making headlines). I focused on this as well as local issues in Australia, including the plight of our trees and the kangaroo. After a while, my articles started to get picked up in national magazines and my focus spread to other topics.

Was it through traditional publishing or online venues?

In those days ~ 20 years ago ~ there wasn't an Internet. For me, I got my break in good old fashioned newspapers and magazines.

What was the first article you sold and to whom?

I believe it was a personality piece on some celebrity of the day to People magazine. I recall at the time they paid me some enormous amount of money which was more than I earned in a week at my 'real job'.

Describe how it felt when you received payment for this article?

I recall hearing about the article at work. Someone bought the magazine and then pinned the tear sheet to the company noticeboard. That's when I heard about it. It was an amazing feeling at the time. I felt that I had been validated as a writer, and the fact that a lot of people I worked with knew, gave it even greater impact. Everyone who knew me then, knew I didn't belong in that job ~ and that magazine article proved it to them and to me.

I didn't receive a check for a couple of weeks later, but it was a great feeling. I recall sighting the publication logo on the front of the envelope and then tearing it open in excitement to discover how much they paid me.

In those days, I was too timid to ask what the going rate was, let alone negotiate with a magazine. So, the amount they paid me (I have no idea how much, but I recall it was a lot at the time) both surprised and shocked me. A moment later, my mind was working out how much I could earn if I went full time as a freelancer.

What are your goals as a writer?

My short-term goal is to begin work on a novel later this year. It has been a part of my life for several years, and the time is right to complete it.

My long-term goal is to be a full-time author. I would love to be able to write books all day, every day. This was my dream way back before I wrote my first novel at 17, and it's as though I have come full circle.

What is the best tip you can give to fellow writers?

Never give up.

It's not new advice, but it's the best I can offer. It's what has sustained me throughout the years and it's what will ultimately see me achieve my goals.

Talent is one thing. But drive is another.

You can learn both, I believe, but the hungry writer will beat the talented writer every time in my book.

In fact, when I have hired people in my business, either as full-timers or as freelancers, I invariably choose the hungry writer, because I know they will give me their best and then some.

What do you hope to provide your readers with through your writing?

That depends what books we're talking about.

My non-fiction books to date have been written specifically for writers. They aim to offer writers information, inspiration and motivation to achieve their dreams and goals.

My fiction books ask the reader to think, to learn and to evolve. They aim to be entertaining, but also thought-provoking. My first novel was an inspirational tale that shares similar territory to The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I wrote it back in 1980 when the genre was still virginal. I plan, one day, to go back to it and update it. It has never been published.

My current novel ~ the one I hope to complete later this year ~ is a political thriller set in recent history. It combines factual accounts with fictitious characters.

List your three favorite online writer-resource sites and why?

1. Wired For Books

You can gain an insight into the mind and craft of some of the best known contemporary writers with this series of relaxed conversations cum interviews conducted by Don Swaim at CBS Radio during the 1980s and 90s.

2. Absolute Write

A comprehensive web site for writers of all mediums and genres. It features articles, interviews, no-fee writing contests, links, and jobs for screenwriters, freelance writers, novelists, poets, comic book writers.

3. NY Times Author Interviews & Readings

Hear your favorite authors in intimate interviews and readings at New York Times' expansive writers' resource. Some of the many well-known writers include Allen Ginsberg, William Styron and Margaret Atwood as well as Stephen King, Richard North Patterson. (This is comparable to Don Swain's site, but I prefer his intimate style of interviewing.)

Tell us about your book publishing success

I have two ebooks published by myself.

The first is The Enterprising Writer.

This book is designed for both new and experienced writers, showing each how to earn a sustainable income as a freelance writer by capitalizing on the lucrative commercial writing market. The Enterprising Writer covers a broad range of topics, from identifying the hottest commercial fields and customizing your writer’s style for niche markets to setting up and maintaining a sustainable home-based writing business. It is filled with practical tips, hints and insider strategies for success as well as real client samples and templates you can use in your own business.

It was published on January 15, 2001, and since then, it has been praised by writers, best-selling authors and the media with comments including "This manual is a real winner"; "a most useful roadmap"; and "the best book about commercial/business writing".

My other ebook is Writers on Writing: Inspirations, observations and affirmations from classic and contemporary writers [this ebook was expanded and retitled in 2008 as The Write Advice].

This is a unique e-book in that it couples more than 360 poignant quotations from classic and contemporary writers with over 150 original, positive affirmations written specifically by me for today's writers.

It's an excellent companion ebook for any writer, providing insight into the minds of 245 of the greatest wordsmiths who share the secrets, fears and passions of their profession.

How long did it take you to write your books?

I wrote The Enterprising Writer in about three or four months. You could say I have been researching the topic for the past 20 years as a professional writer. Certainly, it contains a lot of experiences I had learning my craft and developing niche abilities. I also spent a fair bit of time, once this book was complete, formating it into an ebook and also setting up an ebookstore online.

Writers on Writing was something that I edited and categorized quotes as well as wrote the affirmations in a week or two. But I spent several years collecting the quotes.

What would you do differently if you could repeat the same publishing experience?

Not much. I think I was fortunate, given my marketing background, which allowed me to plan how I would promote the ebooks. The only disadvantage I had was that I was new to online marketing, which is quite different from offline marketing. So maybe it would have been good to have a stronger understanding of online marketing prior to beginning the project.

What have you learned about the publishing world through your experience?

So far, my books have only been self published, so I don't know much about the traditional publishing process.

But for self publishing, I think it's fair to say that there is a lot more work required and, in some ways, skill in successfully publishing and marketing ebooks. There are countless titles available online and, with that, enormous competition. So, how does a potential reader find what they're looking for and trust that the author offers what they need? The answer, of course, lies in marketing.

These days, it is a long and slow process to establish an identity as an ebook author. You have to gain the trust of readers before most are willing to buy from you. And that trust comes at a cost to the author ~ time. A lot of time is required to build a solid reputation. This can be achieved by publishing a regular ezine with helpful hints and tips; writing articles and syndicating them in other ezines or on other Web sites; offering advice on various forums; and so on. But the first rule of publishing online is to write the best book you can, then ensure it is formated as well as possible with useful hypertext links throughout for added value. Then you need to develop a functional Web site to promote it.

What would you like to say to your readers?

I don't know if you have been writing for five minutes or five years. It doesn't really matter. No doubt you have dreams as a writer. You may want to write a novel, become a screenwriter or just write full time.

Whatever your dream, now is the time to turn it into a goal.

It's so easy to enjoy your dream and never get any closer to making it a reality. But before you know it, five years or a lifetime can pass you by.

Take me, for example, since I was a teenager I wanted to be a full-time writer. But not just any writer, I wanted to write books. I wrote my first one when I was 18. But I wouldn't begin my next one until I was in my 30s. Why? Because 'life' got in the way. And with life, comes responsibilities ~ to pay bills, to take care of family ~ but what about taking care of myself?

All I can say is never lose sight of the dream. I never did and one day I will fulfil my dream of writing books full-time. I have been writing full-time for 20 years, and I'm not there yet, but I have been working on that dream all along, honing my writing skills, gaining experience and confidence and now contacts in the publishing industry.

So, firstly, I say to you, hold on to that dream. But, if you want to make it happen sooner, transform it into a goal.

Draw a line in the sand and commit yourself.

Set a deadline for writing that book or launching that full-time career. Then set bite-sized goals ~ write 10 pages a day or send out 10 query letters a week to prospective clients ~ use them as stepping stones to achieving the overall goal.

Take 'baby steps' every day. That's the way to achieve a great goal.

What's the one thing that you want them to know about your writing?

As I mentioned earlier, my writing is designed to help people. My non-fiction titles enlighten, inspire and motivate writers; while my fiction titles entertain and make readers more aware of important issues.

Essentially, I am producing the type of material I wanted to read ~ and did read ~ when I was younger. If I can help another writer along their path, I have done my job.

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Brian Konradt interview: March 21, 2002


Your ebook, THE ENTERPRISING WRITER, focuses on earning a good income writing for businesses, not magazines. Can you tell us some of the advantages and disadvantages between the two?

Firstly, let me say that when I started out as a writer more than 20 years ago, I freelanced for various newspapers and magazines, and continued to do this for a number of years while I was a staff journalist and later a commercial writer.

For the past 11 years, I have run my own marketing communications business and worked the other side of the fence, primarily writing for small and large, private and public businesses.

If nothing else, I’ve learned that the major advantage of writing for businesses is the income. Businesses, by and large, pay far more handsomely than magazines.

Secondly, once you have written for a business, generally speaking, you become their principal writer. You have the ability to write a wide variety of communications for the one business. This could include customer sales letters, speeches and video scripts as well as internal and external newsletters, brochures, ads and more. That’s the potential with just one business client. You can see how lucrative this line of work can be with just a handful of clients.

Now, using that same criteria, if you have one magazine as your client ~ that publication will work with a string of writers, including staff and freelancers. Whether you write an occasional article or a series of articles, it’s unlikely you will gain the volume of work and income from one magazine as you would from one business.

Depending on the way a writer operates, freelancers approach magazines generally with story ideas or sometimes pitch completed articles. Either way, there’s no guarantee the magazine will accept and pay you for your effort.

However, once you have written for a business, the chances are far greater that you will continue to work with them and you will increase the number of writing jobs over time. I have handled one-off writing projects for businesses, but in most cases, a one-off job has led to a long-term relationship.

With some clients, I manage several projects a year. With others, I work for them on a regular basis, and there’s a few who I speak with virtually on a daily basis. That’s one of the great things about being an enterprising writer ~ the work is consistent, but it’s also interesting because it’s varied.

As you can see, writing for businesses versus writing for magazines, can be a far more profitable and stable exercise. And, once you have a number of clients, the amount of effort required to gain new assignments is far less because existing clients will call you, rather than you calling them for work.

Another advantage to writing for businesses is the amount of time and energy required to produce your work. If you’re writing for magazines, in most cases it is up to the writer to identify stories and gather their own leads. When writing for businesses, in most cases, the client will have a ready supply of writing activities for you. The business, for example, may be releasing a new suite of products which require press releases, ads, direct mail letters and brochures. Depending on how well you’re briefed, the client will provide base information and contact names for you to gather more information. Essentially, much of the ground work is already done for you.

Conversely, some writers may argue that one of the advantages writing for magazines is that it’s more interesting, because you can choose your own topics and write them any way you wish.

Certainly it’s true that when you write for business ~ whether you’re writing a press releases or an ad ~ the copy must have a certain corporate spin and it must be approved by the client. When you write for companies, you do not have the journalistic integrity you have when writing for magazines.

Secondly, in some ways, you also lose that ‘thrill of the chase’ that you can have tracking down a newspaper or magazine story.

Some may say it’s more glamorous to write for magazines than businesses. I think that’s a personal opinion. For me, I have enjoyed working in both fields, but I find writing for businesses far more profitable and sustainable. For those magazine writers who are considering writing for businesses, but don’t wish to give up journalism ~ I would suggest that do both, as I did for many years.

Writing for a couple of companies can pay the bills and give you the security to continue writing for magazines. In this business, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

When you first launched your freelance writing career, what types of marketing did you use in the beginning, and what types of marketing do you use now?

When I first launched my freelance writing business, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, but also I didn’t need to spend a lot. I relied mainly on direct mail letters ~ sending letters to prospects ~ remains the main marketing tool I used today when needed.

In my view, direct mail and public relations (by this, I mean, writing newsworthy articles that promote your business) are far more effective for freelance writers than conventional advertising. There’s room to explain what you do and how you do it while building rapport with the prospect.

As an Australian-based writer, do you also freelance for US-based businesses? If so, how do you maintain an effective relationship with overseas clients?

I don’t have any direct US clients, although I have had clients in New Zealand, and that’s as far overseas as I have got.

But a number of the large companies I have worked with are based in the US or Europe. And, while I work with the Australian subsidiary, there are times when I work with people in head office or branch offices overseas.

This is done primarily by telephone, fax and email as well as occasionally video conferences in the client’s office.

Despite the ‘tyranny of distance’, you can still communicate effectively with interstate or international clients ~ electronically ~ the same as you would conduct most business. I have had countless interviews and product briefings by phone and transferred files via the Net. It’s easy and it’s cost and time effective. In fact, most of the contact I have with clients in my home city is via phone, fax and email.

I have also conducted email interviews, just as we are doing right now. It may not be as pleasant as face-to-face contact but it’s far more cost effective and efficient.

Keep in mind that Australia is almost the same geographical size as continental USA. I say this to let you know that distance shouldn’t be a problem. I have conducted business in most states of Australia ~ and, in some instances, I have never even had a face-to-face conversation with my client!

From your experience what is the most effective and least expensive way to secure clients?

As mentioned earlier, direct mail is the best tool I know for generating business. Firstly it is extremely inexpensive to produce communications. Apart from your initial time in developing a letter, which can be duplicated or adapted to suit other prospects, your costs are simply postage stamps, stationery and telephone calls to follow-up the letters.

DM is far more effective than cold calling too. Consider that even before you pick up the phone, you have introduced yourself to a business and demonstrated your abilities as a professional writer as well as the benefits you can offer them. In ‘The Enterprising Writer’, I include a number of prospecting letters which I have used successfully over the years, and these are made available to readers to adapt to suit their needs.

Once you begin working with some clients, you can seek referrals. This is also a simple but powerful tool for expanding your business.

Whether your client is a marketing manager, an editor or an agency director, they have friends and colleagues in the business and in different industries. And these are potential clients who will be more warm to your inquiry, following a personal recommendation.

Writers shouldn’t be shy in asking for referrals. Satisfied clients are only too willing to help spread the word for you ~ but only if you ask them. Some will take the initiative, but it’s best if you suggest it.

I’ve generated a lot of business through referrals. In fact, I would say that referrals account for the majority of new business I have won. It’s the cheapest form of marketing you can do ~ all it takes is providing exemplary customer service (which you should be doing anyway) and a few words in the right ear of the right client.

How many writing assignments do you juggle daily/weekly? How do you keep yourself organized and sane?

Every week is different. In any one day, I could be involved in three or four assignments in progress. Alternatively, I may spend a whole week on one assignment. Just the other week, for example, I had to write three brochures on a specific product. I spent an entire week, including the weekend, completing the job. The following day, after submitting the work, I was back handling three or four smaller tasks which I had to put on hold while I finished the brochures.

I keep myself organized by sticking to the adage ~ “plan your work, then work your plan”. I was introduced to the ‘work in progress’ schedule, or WIP, when I first entered the industry, and I have used it ever since. It prioritizes my work and allows me to stay on top of assignments and keep third parties on track too.

I make a list of things that I have to do every day ~ even weekends. That may seem like a rigid approach to life, but that’s what works for me.

And I stay sane by maintaining a balance in my life. I know, certainly in the early days when I was establishing my writing business, I worked long hours and neglected my personal life. These days I balance my working life with my family life and also set aside quite time, just for me.

It took a while for me to understand this. We all need time away from the office, time to recharge the batters, time to appreciate our lives and our loved ones.

The sub-title of your ebook is, “How to Earn $111,245 A Year, Writing What You Like, When You Like.” How long did it take you to earn a six-figure income? What goals did you set for yourself, and why?

When I started my writing business back in 1991, I was working by myself for the first year, then my wife joined me and we grew the business, hiring more staff to meet increasing demands. In 1996, the marriage ended and so did that phase of the business. I decided to restructure, and set off again on my own, working from home. And, to be honest, these last years have been my most productive.

So, to answer your question, in late 1996 it took me three years to build the business up to a six-figure level on my own.

I did this by having an annual target of $100,000, and achieved it by setting monthly goals of $8500. Even that figure appears a little lofty at first, so I broke it down to a weekly target of $2000.

Some weeks I would make that figure easily. Other weeks, I didn’t ~ and knowing that, motivated me to work harder for the remainder of the month to make up for it.

Waiting for the muse to arrive for work ~ it’s an easy trap for any writer to fall into. But an enterprising writer realizes they have to make every day count, just like any regular business person, and that starts and finishes with setting and working toward goals.

My business gives me a lot of freedom, and I am enjoying that right now. I don’t work as hard as I used to ~ I don’t need to. These days I divide my time between a number of projects, including my writing business and research I am doing for another book I plan to write later this year.

Deadbeat clients who do not pay are common in the freelance writing world. What are a few ways writers can safeguard themselves from being fleeced?

I have had my fair share of deadbeat clients, thankfully almost all of them were at the beginning of my time in business. Although that experience almost sent me broke before I had begun. These days, my clients pay up and pay on time.

In my ebook, I explain various strategies you can use to avoid bad debts or redeem them. Here’s some simple things writers can do:

  • Submit a quote ~ have the client sign the quote, agreeing to pay the amount within a certain time.
    • Seek a purchase order ~ this should contain all of the work activities you will be doing and the amount you will be paid.
    • Get an advance payment ~ if you have a large or long project to do, or if you are starting a new relationship with the client, you can protect yourself by seeking a part payment up-front with progress payments throughout the duration of the assignment. (I strongly suggest you do this for projects that may involve one or more months’ work ~ it not only protects you, it also conserves your cashflow.)

These are just a few things you can do to avoid bad debts. I also explain in my ebook things you can do to motivate slow or no payers.

Since I started implementing these and other strategies several years ago, I am happy to say I haven’t had one problem client. Sure, I’ve had a few who have stalled payment, but not for as long as they once did.

How do you market your writing services online? Do you advise writers to establish a web site to help with marketing?

Yes, I think a web site is the ideal way to promote yourself online. But before you begin designing a web site, ask yourself this question: What do you wish to achieve? Do you want to make sales or generate leads?

No doubt there are other motivations to setting up a Web site, such as providing a free information service. But if you are developing one to enhance your writing business, your goal should boil down to either generating direct sales of your information products, such as ebooks, or generating leads in order to gain work from clients.

The goal of all sites should be to gain loyal, repeat visitors. And the best way to achieve this is to continually offer them fresh content ~ new information, new products/services and new benefits to come back again and again.

In your ebook you reveal an important secret: “The key to earning good money as a writer is not just writing well, but conducting and managing a business well.” Can you explain?

Yes. I have a number of friends who are writers and I have also employed my fair share, both as full-time staff and as freelancers in my business.

Many of these writers had far more experience than I did and, in some cases, were better writers than me. And yet in every case, I have a far more successful writing business. It’s not my skills as a writer, it’s my skills as a business person. Sadly, a large proportion of freelancers don’t actually realize they are in business, and that’s the main reason they aren’t succeeding as much as they could.

Put simply, an enterprising writer works on their business while they work in their business. And they do this by embracing three simple but powerful attributes: Drive. Ability. Responsibility.

You need the drive to get things done on time, to brief and within budget; you need to run the extra mile when others can’t or won’t.

You need to have the ability to handle a range of projects and a variety of clients’ demands, so that you can capitalize on every opportunity that comes your way.

You need to take responsibility for the journey. That means, not only taking responsibility for your business but also for your life; finding a balance between work and play, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

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Eliza Feree interview: October 29, 2001


You started off writing at the age of 17, how did your parents react? Were they supportive? Did they encourage you?

Yes. They knew of my love of writing at an early age.

I was a fervent letter writer to family and friends when I was a young boy, and later on, I wrote poetry and short stories throughout high school.

Once they knew I was serious about writing, my parents encouraged it ~ especially my father who has written more than a dozen non-fiction books and novels. My highly-treasured Christmas and birthday gifts were always writers' tools ~ dictionaries and thesauruses, how-to books for writers, also novels and stacks of beautiful pens, including a Mont Blanc. For my 16th birthday, I was given my first typewriter and for my 18th, I got a brand-new Commodore 64 computer.

(I was given the choice of an 18th birthday party or the PC ~ I'm not sure if I was anti-social or just determined to make it as a writer, but I chose the computer in any case.)

What would you tell a parent who's child wanted to write?

I think it's important for every parent to encourage their children to read widely and develop their writing and other communications skills. This is, of course, the foundation of all learning.

And, if a child wanted to be a writer, I think the parents should support that desire, just as much as they should support any ambition.

Would you please tell us about your book, The Enterprising Writer?

I guess you could say that The Enterprising Writer has been 20 years in the making. That's the amount of time I have been writing professionally ~ and all of the lessons I have learned the hard way are in the book.

For the past 10 years I have run my own business. I have hired a number of writers as full-timers or freelancers. The interesting thing is that some of them were far better writers than me, and others far more experienced. And yet without exception none has built a writing business like I have.

I don't say this to gloat, but to tell you why I came to write this book.

I wrote it for all of the talented writers who have gone no where in their careers as well as for all of the newbies just waiting to get a break in the business. It's interesting to note that a reported 24 million people in the US alone claim to be creative writers, and yet only 5% have been published. It stands to reason that only a small fraction of the published writers ever make a real living out of their craft.

My book has been written for these people. It won't tell you how to write ~ I am assuming my readers can already do this ~ but it will show you how to establish and maintain a sustainable writing business.

It will detail what I believe are the hottest markets available to writers today (this takes up the lion's share of the book), and show you how to modify your writing style and adopt certain techniques to be successful in these markets.

It covers everything from setting up and building a home business, getting organized and productive to managing more work than you can handle, dealing with writer's block and finding a balance between work and your home life.

The book also features over 100 pages of communications I have produced for clients as well as templates you can use in your own business

All in all, The Enterprising Writer shows you, rather than tells you, how to build a successful writing business. I have included simple, step-by-step procedures, so that writers with little business experience can get up and running as soon as possible.

Who would you say this book is for?

This book is designed for both new and experienced writers, showing each how to earn a sustainable income as a freelance writer by capitalizing on the lucrative commercial writing market.

My book covers a broad range of topics, from identifying the hottest commercial fields and customizing your writer's style for niche markets to setting up and maintaining a sustainable home-based writing business. It is filled with practical tips, hints and insider strategies for success as well as real client samples and templates you can use in your own business.

My other ebook is Writers on Writing: Inspirations, observations and affirmations from classic and contemporary writers [this ebook was expanded and retitled in 2008 as The Write Advice].

This is a unique e-book in that it couples more than 360 poignant quotations from classic and contemporary writers with over 150 original, positive affirmations written specifically by me for today's writers.

It's an excellent companion ebook for any writer, providing insight into the minds of 245 of the greatest wordsmiths who share the secrets, fears and passions of their profession.

What made you decide to write this book?

I wrote The Enterprising Writer because I have been talking about this book for most of my 20 years. Whenever I find something new or a better way of doing something, I try to share this with as many people as possible.

Much of the material I cover in this book, I have shared with staff, freelancers and friends who are fellow writers.

So the book basically formalizes what I have been doing for a number of years, and allows me to spread my message to a larger audience.

What made you decide an e-book instead of a book in print?

Some people choose to e-publish because they have tried traditional print publishers. My first novel was rejected by publishers years ago. But this is the first non-fiction book I wrote, and I chose not to approach a print publisher, but to epublish it myself.

I did this because I wanted to explore publishing. As a publisher, I can maintain complete control over every aspect of the book's production, marketing and sales.

It also allowed me to add a new revenue stream to my business.

Are e-books easier to create?

Yes and no. They're certainly an easier way to get published. Taking the traditional route, means trying to get past any number of gatekeepers. Whereas, with an ebook, a writer can publish it and market it themselves. The difference is that with a traditional publisher, they take care of the time-consuming elements, such as typesetting and production, distribution, marketing and sales. Conversely, as an epublisher, the writer is responsible for all of these elements and this can be a very time-consuming affair.

Do you believe that e-books will one day replace books in print? Why?

I don't think ebooks will replace print books in our lifetime. The technology still has a way to go before it is cost effective and convenient for consumers.

I think eventually the world will accept ebooks as the norm. I think it has to, purely from economic and environmental viewpoints. Clearly ebooks are cheaper and quicker to produce, and they do not destroy natural resources.

Print books still have the edge over ebooks today, because people prefer reading words on paper than pixels on a screen.

Which would you recommend to a new author? Online or print? Why?

For me, even today, I still prefer print to online.

Epublishing is a burgeoning industry, but print has hundreds of years of presence and there's certainly a lot more third party support and market acceptance with printed books than ebooks.

So, my advice for any new writer is to try the traditional road first, and if you have no joy, develop an ebook.

I went against this advice when I finished The Enterprising Writer simply because I wanted to test the ebook market myself. Since then, my book has attracted some interest from print publishers and may be on the book shelves soon.

What do you wish you knew (that you know now) when you first began writing?

When I first began serious writing, I wanted to write books. When I was 18, I finished my first novel. And now, at 38, I have come full circle and wish to spend the rest of my time writing books.

I have always been driven as a writer. I have faced a lot of road blocks over the years, but I have continued, knowing that this is what I want to do. Having said that, I wish I had persisted with my novel writing in those early days.

My literary hero is Matthew Reilly, a young Australian author who has penned several international bestsellers.

When he was 19, he wrote his first book, Contest, which was subsequently rejected by all major publishers and agents in Sydney. That would have been enough for most aspiring writers ~ it was for me, I then turned to freelance journalism ~ but not Reilly.

He borrowed $8000 and published the book himself.

He did not want to become a self-publisher, but to catch the eye of a traditional publisher. And that's exactly what happened. A Fiction Editor from Pan Macmillan saw his book, bought it, read it and called him. By then, Reilly was starting work on his second novel, Ice Station. She read the opening chapters, then signed him to a two-book deal.

From there, he hasn't looked back. Ice Station was published later that year, and became an instant hit in Australia and has become a bestseller around the world. Contest was published next and it followed suit, as did his third book, Temple. And now, Reilly has just released his fourth book, Area 7, a sequel to Ice Station, which has already blown away all of his other novels.

What's the moral? Persistence. Believe in yourself; don't give up.

I believed in myself, I didn't give up, but I wish in some ways I had continued on course, as Reilly did.

It's important for writers to remember how many bestselling authors were widely rejected before they got their first break. So, my advice to all writers is to stick with it.

I do not regret the fact that I am back, basically, where I started 20 years earlier. I have enjoyed the journey, and pursued a lot of different literary avenues along the way. Being a journalist, columnist, PR consultant and copywriter has made me a stronger and more well-rounded writer.

What would you like to warn your readers about?

Well, in reference to The Enterprising Writer, if the reader is after an easy ride, they've picked the wrong book. It is filled with tips, tools and techniques to make good money from writing. But there's no magic wand. The writer needs to invest in themselves to see results.

My book is both for new and experienced writers wishing to develop their craft and earn more from it. The book is not an A-B-C to writing. There's enough books like that already. My book helps scribes adapt their skills to suit the most viable writing markets for freelances, such as advertising copywriting, direct mail letters packs, brochures, PR and so on.

Put simply, if you want to make good money as a writer ~ more than you have before; if you want to diversify into more viable and stable markets; if you want to build a sustainable income from your craft, then The Enterprising Writer is for you.

Do you have any sources for your readers to go to and read? (a website?)

Yes. I have two Web sites for writers.

They are the This is where people can buy my books.

My second site is This site features prescriptive articles to help writers hone their skills. It also includes writers' links, books and techniques to help you earn a sustainable living, writing everything from news releases, advertising copy and sales letters to brochures, newsletters and speeches for large and small businesses. In addition, there are some reviews of writers' tools, including books and devices that relate to our profession.

How do you find the time to do everything?

I plan literally every day of my life.

That may seem restrictive for some, but I find it's the only way I ensure things get done on time.

But it's not all work, work, work. I also plan time out to spend with family and friends!

What is your writing schedule like?

By day, I run my own marketing communications consultancy, called Marketzing. And about 90 per cent of my job is writing press releases, sales letters, newsletters, speeches and so on. I'm usually hard at work at my desk throughout every business day. I also find time to write a weekly ezine, update two Web sites and respond to daily correspondence.

Usually at nights, I will relax with a good book (or two or three). At the moment, I am researching a novel I plan to begin writing at Christmas. So my reading is mainly non-fiction, reference material that relates to the era I want to capture in my book.

There's always something to do on the weekend, and I used to spend some or even all of this time, finishing the week's work. I now try to stay out of the office for one day a week, and recharge the batteries.

Have you ever experienced writer's block? If so, how did you get out of it?

Yes, I have experienced writer's block over the years. It can be the result of information overload, where I am just swamped with material for an article or speech, and I don't know where to begin writing or culling. It can also be the result of a lack of information or a proper brief from a client. And other times, it may simply be because I am swamped with work, and the creative gears begin to grind to a halt as the deadline looms.

The best solution for me is to leave the scene of the crime ~ the office. That's where the problem is, so I find that a change of pace and locale usually helps resolve it. Ordinarily I will go for a walk with a tape recorder and begin putting down thoughts about the project on tape. Just as if I was explaining the project to another person. Within a short period of time, I usually find a solution to the problem and usually a more eloquent way of expressing it than I had on paper.

I have been using this technique for a number of years. It's based on something I used to do as a newspaper reporter. In those days, when I had returned from an assignment, if I was stuck on how to begin, I would talk to my Chief of Staff. He would ask me what happened and, after I'd explained the 'who', 'what', 'where', 'when' and 'how', the words flowed.

I have discovered that this principle works well for any kind of writing. The bottom line is communication, so I find that switching the communication process resolves the writer's block.

Being in the business of writing for 20 years, how have you dealt with rejection letters? What do you do with them?

I don't get many rejection letters these days because I don't approach many publishers. But, in the old days when I was sending book proposals to publishers and articles to magazine editors, I used to get them fairly frequently. After I got over the initial hurt, it became a bit of a game for me.

As soon as I would receive one, I would send a query out to another prospective publication. I saw it as a numbers game. If I continued to send out material, I would eventually have it published somewhere, and that's what happened.

Many of those old rejection letters are in a file somewhere. At the time, I used to boast to friends that I had been rejected by some of the finest publishing houses in the US, UK and Australia. I would proudly show them letterheads from the New York Times, The London Illustrated News and The Washington Post, among others.

That's one way to handle rejection.

It's important for new writers to develop relationships with publishers. Rather than just send material in, get on the phone and try to discover what they need. Study their publication, so that you know what interests them.

We know you have written in many fields, what have you not done? Will you give it a try in the near future?

I haven't written a screenplay yet, but I'd like to one day. I wrote a short play when I was in high school and I enjoy writing dialogue in my novels, so a screenplay seems a natural extension to me.

Who knows, maybe my first will be an adaptation of my next novel!

On a personal note for your readers, who is your favorite author?

That's a hard question. I have three, really, and each of them dates back to my youth.

The first is Richard Bach, because he was the first author to give me the answers I sought as a teenager. He has written best-sellers, such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Illusions, The Bridge Across Forever and Running From Safety. (Illusions is my all-time favorite by him ~ I've read it easily a dozen times, which says it all)

The second is Stephen King. I am not a horror fan ~ never have been ~ but I love his characters and the situations he places them in.

And the third is Wayne Dyer. His messages have become one of the great inspirations throughout my adult life.

What are you currently reading?

That depends what day of the week you ask me. I am reading a lot of non-fiction for my upcoming novel, and I am also reading a couple of thrillers, one of which is the latest offering from Matthew Reilly, who I spoke of earlier.

Some people find it strange that I read more than one book at a time, but I don't. I have been doing this for years. I usually have two or three books on the go at the one time.

Which is your favorite genre?

Another hard question.

At the moment, it's thrillers because that's the kind of book I will be writing soon. So it's just nice to get a feel for the genre.

Before that, I preferred non-fiction, biographies, inspirational books, it didn't really matter.

What would you like to say to your readers?

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, it's important to remember something best-selling thriller writer Tom Clancy said recently: "The one talent that is indispensable to a writer is persistence".

I think that every successful writer can tell you about their early days, the number of rejection slips they collected, and the fact that they made it by sticking with it.

As we've discussed, epublishing is an easier road to getting in print, so to speak, but every writer will still need to invest the time in honing their skills, and promoting themselves. When times get tough ~ and they will ~ remember one thing ... it's worth it.

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Lisa Ann interview: February 2001

What else have you written before The Enterprising Writer?

I have tried my hand at both fiction and non-fiction. I have written one novel and I am part way through another.

I also have a second ebook for writers, titled Writers on Writing, [this ebook was expanded and retitled in 2008 as The Write Advice] which is a compendium of more than 500 poignant quotes from classic and contemporary writers as well as positive affirmations written especially for writers by me.

I see this book as a companion for any writer. It gives writers an insight into the minds of other scribes as well as inspiration and motivation for success with their own writing.

With all the other books and e-books about publishing successfully, what makes your book stand out? What do you feel you add that's different?

You're right. There are a lot of how-to books for writers. What I have tried to do with The Enterprising Writer is approach the business side of writing, rather than the technical side. My book will not teach someone how to write. That area is already covered well. And, I'm assuming readers of my book are already established writers. My book shows writers how to rise from starving artists to enterprising writers who earn a comfortable living from their craft.

Freelancers spend an inordinate amount of time targeting, querying and writing for newspapers and magazines that pay little for their effort. What my book shows is how to tap the most lucrative market available to freelancers ~ commercial writing.

Writing media releases, direct mail, ad copy, speeches, scripts, newsletters and brochures pays far better than any other form of freelancing I know. This is how I have earned a healthy income for the past 13 years ~ writing marketing communications for small and large, private and public businesses.

My book details what I believe are the hottest markets available to writers today (this takes up the lion's share of the book), and shows you how to modify your writing style and adopt certain techniques to be successful in these markets. It covers everything from setting up and building a home business, getting organized and productive to managing more work than you can handle, dealing with writer's block and finding a balance between work and your home life.

The book also features over 100 pages of communications I have produced for clients as well as templates you can use in your own business. All in all, The Enterprising Writer shows you ~ rather than tells you ~ how to build a successful writing business. I have included simple, step-by-step procedures so that writers with little business experience can get up and running as soon as possible.

Following your advice, can ANY writer be successful as you say, or is the success limited to a certain genre of writer?

It's tough being a writer today. The competition is growing, the markets are shrinking. The only area which is forever expanding is the need for marketing communications. This is the lifeblood of any and every business. So it stands to reason that there are growing opportunities for writers in this field.

I have freelanced for newspapers and magazines, written books, lectured and done a lot of other things to earn a living, but nothing beats the money that can be earned in commercial writing.

I am not suggesting that any and every writer can make a killing in this field. Of course, you need to have talent. You also need the expertise to tailor your writing to suit specific fields (eg writing PR is totally different to writing ads). But this can all be learned.

And that's what The Enterprising Writer does. It explains in detail insider secrets to writing for specific commercial markets, with plenty of examples of what has worked for me and others.

Keep in mind, my book is about making a sustainable living as a writer. So, in addition to examining the most profitable writing fields I also detail what is involved in setting up and maintaining a literary enterprise. In addition, there's a wealth of templates you adapt for use in your own business.

What encouraged you to write a help book such as this?

I know how hard it can be to make a living from your craft. I have been writing professionally for 20 years, but it wasn't until I discovered commercial writing that I made a real living from my profession.

Everything I learn I pass on to others. I am very grateful to the mentors in my life. They have made the learning curve easier for me. Helping others is this is the best way I know of repaying them.

It sounds very altruistic, but it's true. I get a great deal of pleasure out of working with others, and helping them. I have lectured in other fields for a number of years and I have also produced and presented radio and TV shows as a community service. Seeing people grow and prosper is reward enough. And that's what I hope to continue to do for the rest of my career.

Are there plans for any more books? Are you going to write another help book, or are you going to branch out to other genres?

Both actually.

I have plans for at least two more ebooks for writers. I don't want to say too much now, because it's still early days. But I can say that one book will give writers further insight into the lives of others and help them adopt success principles in their work. The second ebook will help authors market their work.

That's something I have learned the hard way. The "easy" part is writing a book; the "hard" part is marketing it, especially if you have the added responsibility of being your own publisher, as I am.

I also have plans of returning to my fiction. I have one book that is unfinished. This and an earlier novel I wrote are the first volumes in two planned trilogies. So, as you can see, there's plenty of writing ahead for me.

How do you feel about the c