Book Giveaway: Robert W. Bly's Getting Started as a Freelance Writer


Shai Coggins over at b5 Media had the fantastic suggestion to do a blog giveaway on our sites. I’m not a b5 member, but I have done some giveaways at my other blog and really enjoyed the feedback and participation from readers. I hadn’t thought about doing one for this site, but why not? Writers love getting free stuff! Well, this writer does, anyway.

So herewith, my first Interior Designs giveaway: your very own copy of Robert Bly’s new book, Getting Started as a Freelance Writer (Expanded Edition). A lot of you probably are already familiar with Bob Bly, he of the high-six-figure-income copywriting fame. This new Expanded & Revised version just hit bookstore shelves a couple of months ago, and already I’ve devoured it and its hard-hitting, practical advice on making a more-than-decent living as a freelancer. Bly offers tons of tips on everything from marketing and productivity to writing poetry. (I know. Bly writing about selling poetry? Wow.) He doesn’t really delve much into blogs, though, other than a three-page section titled, Do You Need a Blog? Still, anyone who makes a living writing — on- or offline — can benefit tremendously from Bly’s advice on how to be a more productive and high-earning writer.

The rules? Very simple. Just leave a comment below about your favorite writing book. It can be this one, or maybe Jenna Glatzer’s Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer, Naomi Wolf’s The Treehouse, or even Little Women (I think Jo March was my first writer-heroine). Don’t just tell me the name of the book, though; make sure you tell us why you love it so! I’m always on the lookout for good reading material, so this is my excuse to troll for new ones.

At the risk of sounding redundant, let me reiterate: Comments must include both the name of the book and the reason why you like it in order to qualify.

The giveaway is good for two weeks, so make sure you get your comments in before the deadline at 5pm Mountain, Tuesday, July the 22nd. And don’t forget to check back here on the 23rd for the winner!

Good luck!

56 thoughts on “Book Giveaway: Robert W. Bly's Getting Started as a Freelance Writer

  1. Howdy do! I’m here from 52WoC (btw I stumbled you too!). Anyhow, my favorite idea writing book is more of an idea book. It’s called Kiki Strike and is written like a diary looking back to when she was a teen and the adventures her and her friends experienced. It’s a nice, simple writing style, relaxes my mind and helps me overcome writer’s block for some reason. :)Great contest!Jamiaka Bionic Beauty

  2. Mine is On Writing by Stephen King. I first read this book in college, and I’ve reread sections of it every time I’ve need inspiration.The first section of the book talks about King’s personal experiences with writing–how he fell into it, worked at it, how his characters do things he didn’t expect for them to do. The second section is more about the mechanics–how to edit, how much to edit, how to write decent dialogue. I particularly like King’s no-nonsense approach to writing, which is a good kick in the pants every time I try to make up excuses for not writing every single day.

  3. Hi Marjorie:My favorite book is actually a collection of essays published in major American magazines in the late 70’s and early 80’s by the International Paper Company.Titled “The Power of the Printed Word”, the series featured famous figures in the world of literature, journalism, and business, writing about their areas of expertise, and how the reader can start to navigate that area successfully. Examples of these essays are James Dickey on how to enjoy poetry, George Plimpton on how to give a speech, and Malcolm Forbes on how to write a business letter. My favorite of these is Kurt Vonnegut on How to Write with Style. In it, he gives one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received; “Be merciless on yourself. If your sentence does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out”.The company offered reprints of all of the ads, so when I was 19 or 20 I sent for them. They’re in a box somewhere in my attic. Fortunately, the series was so popular that International Paper released them all in book form in 1985. Titled How to Use the Power of the Printed Word, it is available used from several online sellers via alibris and other sources.John

  4. Hi, Bionic Beauty! Thanks for visiting my site! Yah, I saw that you had posted on Shai’s blog and checked out your contest. I signed up just now, albeit from a different blog name (I have several). ;-)I’ve never heard of that book but it sounds lovely. Thanks for the suggestion!a brown-eyed grrl, you know, that’s actually the book I was originally going to raffle as it’s one of my faves. I figured that most writers would already have it, though, as it’s been around for a few years. But yes, definitely, every writer should nab a copy of that book! Thanks for visiting!Hi, Lynn, and thanks for the shout-out! Feel free to pass on the link to this post to any of your friends. I’d love to get more suggestions and entries. Dear John, okay, you’ve totally convinced me. George Plimpton and Kurt Vonnegut? I’m so buying that book. I have a hard time with that whole “be merciless” part because I’m such a sucker for every precious word that comes out of my brain. But although I may not always practice it, I believe in it. Theoretically. ;-)Thanks!Cheers,Marjorie

  5. Everything Sue Grafton has ever written is the best. I really would love to read this book badly. I would love to have my poetry published but can only find scams. Here is one of my poems that mean the most to me.:”My Little Angel Of Love” I gave life to a precious angel just a few short days agoI love her more than life itself but I loved her enough to let her goFor two short days I held her close in a warm loving embraceThose beautiful moment in which we bonded my mind will never erase God gave me a Christian couple who can take care of her every needMy eyes will always be streaked with tears; my heart will forever bleedIf I could have just one wish, our paths will cross againBut I’ll hold her close in my heart and love her in silence until then I know I did the right thingI’m at peace with the Lord aboveAnd I know he’ll always be watching over:”My Little Angel Of Love”

  6. The book Getting Started as a Freelance Writer. I’d love to know more about it. As far as what writers are my favorites, well i love Barbara Kingsolver, David McCullough, Ann Rule, and Bob Woodward

  7. On Writing by Stephen King. The man almost wasn’t and when I think of all the shoeboxes full of halfwritten and forgotten stories like Carrie. I think… My time is coming. He also has such practical lamens terms advice. Thanks for the contest

  8. Anonymous

    Books like this are always worth reading I need a psychatiric book on self control though…. any suggestions……?

  9. Damn! Why Didn’t I Write That by Marc McCutcheon as he points out all these less conventional nonfiction books (mostly) that made it big but were written by non-experts and more ordinary folks.

  10. Anonymous

    “Getting Started as a Freelance Writer” because, well, I AM trying to get started :)Thanks!

  11. For writing fiction, you have to peruse “The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits,” by Linda N. Edelstein. It includes profiles of human behavior and analysis of 20 adult personality types, from adventurers and eccentrics to conformists and creatives. The Writer’s Digest Books publication is not only helpful when writing fiction, but also in developing persona poems, and improving your psychological insight regarding that most important topic in journalism and freelance writing — people!

  12. I have to write so many essays for school. The book I use most is 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost. I don’t know if it helps-one of my teachers called me the queen of the comma-splice.

  13. “How to be a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead” by Ariel Gore is my absolute favorite for writing inspiration.

  14. I read books about writing more than I like. I guess my favorite is *How to Write with Style* by Kurt Vonnegut.

  15. I like On Writing by Stephen King, not just because I’m a fan e(even though I am a big fan) but because it gives me motivation.I don’t write horror but his book reminds me what writing is about. His concepts can be taken and used no matter what genre you work on.

  16. Janet Evanovich showed me that you can write and be funny. I love her style and hope to someday write. This is all new to me, I travel everywhere with a notebook for ideas that hit me out of the blue.


    Little Women . . . I am working on a book even as we speak

  18. Would love to win this – thanks!!!cdrury@gmail.comOn Writing Well by William K. Zinsser was one I used in college

  19. I like Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.She’s a Buddhist and experienced with Zen meditation, so she writes about writing as a way to uncover things about yourself and writing as a spiritual practice.She also writes about silencing the inner critic that keeps you from getting any writing done.I have books about grammar and style, but this is the book I go to when I need to be inspired.

  20. Anonymous

    I like my trusty thesaurus (Roget’s) to help me with my choices of words when I am writing something. Sticking to the basics and knowing how to spell words is important for writers. I am the editor in chief for a newsletter so a dictionary and thesaurus are a must as I write articles and edit the ones submitted to me.

  21. So many faves. All-time classics for me though include: The Artist’s Way (Julia Cameron), Writing Down the Bones (Natalie Goldberg), Zen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury). And, as you know most recently, “How To be a Famous Writer” (Ariel Gore).

  22. poet-karl

    Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver.He’s the creator of The Writer’s Loft workshops,and it shows here in his simple,straight forward approach.

  23. Can I list two? One is The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler is a terrific look at how the Hero’s Journey (as defined by Joseph Campbell) can be adapted to many plots, with examples from successful films. My other favorite is GMC – Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. It’s so simple, but every scene in every story can be broken down into each character’s goal, their motivation to achieve that goal, and the conflict they must overcome to achieve it. If you’re stuck on plot or characterization, you can get some great motivation of your own from these titles.

  24. Not sure if this counts, but I think the book that inspired me to write was Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. She used to write letters to herself in the future. I started doing that and discovered how much I loved to write. It’s a great creative exercise.In case it doesn’t count, I’ll go with Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Christina Baldwin. I like the journalling exercises, but I also love the illustrations by the fabulously talented Susan Seddon Boulet.

  25. On Writing by Stephen King because he is so successful as a writer. He offers advice that is relevant. He seems sincere in offering advice to budding writers rather than trying to sell a writing book.

  26. Anonymous

    love to jot ideas perhaps the development of another written page. any ideas to help facilitate the thoughts to the written word. many thanks SW

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