Andy Maslen is the name in copywriting and is a must-read for anybody thinking of, or, just starting out on the road to writing for a living. It was recommended to me by another freelance writer way back in February when we were discussing my plans to leave work and give it a shot at being a freelance writer. I’ve been copywriting since the end of last year and though I’d heard of Maslen and Sunfish and seen his books, I hadn’t thought about investing in some of his work to help me on this precarious road.
Let me make one thing clear: it is not going to teach you the tricks on how to become a copywriter, there are no instructions on the proper placement of SEO terms or even how to become a good writer, it is purely about the business of setting up as a freelance copywriter. So here you will find instruction on the mechanics of business, your working day, taxes, writing and pitching, not on how to write that perfect headline.
Understandably, most of this book is dedicated to the area that Maslen made his name: copywriting. Therefore some of this wasn’t relevant to me as I’m leaning more toward ghostwriting, proofreading and academic technical writing – and of course my fiction. Copywriting it a part of what I do but it is not the entirety of the services I offer so I was happy to skip through discussions on printing and ventures in big marketing campaigns – not my sort of thing – at least, not at the moment.
It covers every angle for the budding professional copywriter, how to get clients, how to keep them, how to negotiate, setting your own boundaries and ensuring your have the necessary organisational skills to make it work. Filled with anecdotes about the development of his career, it will have you chuckling at times but there are serious messages here about how to think like a business (for example, take your business cards everywhere with you because you never know what will happen). It encourages you to set standards for yourself, set out a work day and to draw up contracts just to cover your own back. More than anything he hammers home how difficult it can be working for yourself and that all-important self-discipline.
This is a good read that achieves what it set out to do and that is to encourage you to think very carefully about how you will proceed in this business.