THE RENEGADE WRITER by Linda Formichelli & Diana Burrell — a Review

Having read the Renegade Writer blog for a while, I finally picked up the new Kindle version of THE RENEGADE WRITER: A TOTALLY UNCONVENTIONAL GUIDE TO FREELANCE WRITING SUCCESS. Although there is brief mention of business writing, this book is geared toward freelance writers who want to write for high-paying magazines, trade journals, and other periodicals. This isn’t the book newbie freelance writers should read first. This isn’t the book that provides step-by-step idea generation or querying guides (the authors assume you already have this knowledge). But this is the book that will make you realize that there is no the right way, only your way. And by giving you permission to try new things, THE RENEGADE WRITER will give you the confidence to find your way, and hopefully find your name in top-tier publications.

Each chapter of THE RENEGADE WRITER takes a thematically grouped set of rules, and shows that they are not as rock solid as some people would have you believe. Some are more obvious than others. For example, I still consider myself in the beginner or low-intermediate stages of my freelancing career, but I have never written a query and mailed it to an editor. I e-mail. I don’t know anyone that still snail-mails queries. But I did find the contract and getting paid chapters to have very useful, specific information.

Between each chapter are brief profiles of “Renegade Rule-Breakers,” who struck gold–landing articles at their dream periodicals. Although these stories were interesting, the phrase “ignorance is bliss” or “I didn’t know I shouldn’t be doing [something],” makes me wonder how many of these writers owed more to luck than anything else. Although we’d all like to think we might be lucky at some point in our career, I’d rather spend my time learning how to be good than lucky.

Lastly, THE RENEGADE WRITER contains a series of appendices that contain a variety of resources many freelance writers will find useful: everything from research, to transcription and virtual assistant services, to job boards.

Don’t pick up this book if you are thinking about freelancing. Instead, pick it up if you have a few clips or have written for a few low-paying sources. This is the book that will help you improve your success and grow your confidence. You’ll learn not only which rules to break, but also, more importantly, how to break them.

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