Here is a 4-Star review of my book, Writing for Money, by Satyabrata Sahu, a writer who is based in Bangalore, India.
Writing a how-to for writers isn’t easy, especially if you’re sharing ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s from what Life’s taught you about the entrepreneurial attitude. But that’s what Grant McDuling’s done in his 100-page Writing for Money.
A short, easy one-sitting read, Writing for Money’s simple, chatty style begs serious study and reflection the next time around – and determined application later. It’s for first-time small-business owners. The book packs wisdom gained from sheer experience.
Writing for Money’s a must-read, especially for writers because their work fuels cerebration rather than the action that is much needed if they would make a living off their talent.
Writing for Money begins with an Introduction, halfway through which McDuling’s honest and frank personal narrative of how he broke into the world of writing-as-a-business gets engaging, coming as it does with all the unexpected twists and turns small-business owners face.
The Introduction done, McDuling tells you the story of where he’s coming from. He tells you up front that he’s writing to make it easy for ordinary people to “come to grips with” the entrepreneur’s attitude. He repeats this towards the end (p. 91) of the book: “You are a businessperson whose business happens to be…selling words.” The little book delivers well on its claim.
Chapter Two covers the growing popularity of the field of writing and the difference between writing as a hobby and a profession. It closes by making the reader curious about one “missing ingredient” that the best of independent writers often miss. By then, curious and excited I, for one, found my mindset had begun shifting from writing for writing’s sake to writing for profit.
Chapter Three is the kernel of the book – the “7 Easy Steps,” described in considerable practical detail evidently for those who need the mindset shift I just referred to. The first step talks about how to go about the important task of setting one’s professional goals. McDuling encourages you to take charge of your life, now that (given that you’re reading the book) you’ve decided to acquire a better lifestyle by choosing a new line of work. The second step deals with what to ‘do’ when starting off as a professional writer – inculcating the mental attitudes that are helpful especially for the target reader. Step 3 is about testing the water – the mind games to play (read more mental attitudes and a few other tips) when setting up your business. Step 4 describes how to market and create a brand around one’s work. What impressed me the most about this vast and somewhat nebulous area was that McDuling had written it specifically for the first-time small-business owner. Step 5 is a comprehensive and – justifiably – lengthy section on running your business: drafting formal business plans. Step 6 tells you how to write for media houses – for editors, in particular, who are Publishing’s linchpins. The last step points out common pitfalls that are crucial and fundamental to sidestep.
Chapter Four consists of a crisp, swift conclusion for McDuling’s ideas. In it, he repeats that writing for money must be viewed as a business where one is selling words.
Chapter Five and Chapter Six present the author’s professional profile and list some of his work, respectively.
The current manuscript needs a copyeditor’s and proofreader’s touch. Naming the Introduction as Chapter One, the About the Author as Chapter Five and the Afterword as Chapter Six overdo their importance: they needn’t be called chapters. The first four pages of the Introduction are superfluous; your heart starts beating from p. 5. Renaming Chapter Four more interestingly would tie in the manuscript attractively.
But, as I’ve said before (and I’ll say it again), Writing for Money’s a must-read, especially for writers because their work fuels cerebration rather than the action that is much needed if they would make a living off their talent.
McDuling has a terrific price tag for his not-so-little volume. The book could also easily sell as a pocket-sized paperback, particularly in developing economies.