Everything You Wanted To Know About Freelance Journalism by Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai is perhaps the only book you’ll ever need to read if you’re looking to be a freelance journalist in India. Widely-published in world-class publications, and with years of experience in the field of freelance journalism, Kavitha and Charu have condensed everything they’ve learned along their freelancing journey, into a single, terrific book. Everything You Wanted To Know About Freelance Journalism brims with tips, suggestions, and advice for freelance journalists – whether you are a wannabe, peering from the sidelines, waiting to jump in, or whether you’re already inside, but looking to aim higher.
Written in an engaging, intimate style, much like emails from a kindly mentor, the book answers every question you might have – and some that you wouldn’t even have thought of. It deals with every aspect of freelance journalism, starting from identifying markets, pitching, finding sources, conducting interviews, negotiating prices and rights, what to do in a recession, marketing and social networking, money matters and everything in between – and beyond.
I started my writing career as a freelance journalist when I was in my 2nd year of college and how I wish such a book was available back then! It truly covers everything you need to know to start freelancing and make it a satisfying, paying career.
Charu and Kavitha have written a simple, useful and practical guide which will help many an aspiring writer to get published.
This book contains many secrets – from how to pitch your idea to building a relationship with editors. Writers learn this through painful trial and error but now you can read this book instead!
A bible for freelance writers everywhere.
If you are new to writing for newspapers and magazines and want to published, do read this book. And I believe this book will relevant not just for freelancers but many young journalists too. The most engaging thing about the book is that the little nuggets of useful information do not come as lectures but as illustrated examples from the working lives of the two authors. This makes it easier to understand the points and also get a real glimpse at the processes involved in the engagement of editors with freelancers. With some editors also chipping in suggestions, explaining what works for them and what does not, the reader and hopefully a budding freelance will be able to connect with the larger points that authors are trying to reinforce.
There is emphasis on small, practical stuff—paste your article in mail instead of sending it just as a attachment, don’t ‘fancy format’ it, give a headline, introduction to the piece, make sure you spell check the artical, read the publication thoroughly for which you are pitching a piece, be available for rewrites or changes, don’t fight over every comma shifted, call or network with your editor on and off, be ready to make a correction or rework if new information comes to light—stuff that people either don’t know about or just don’t care enough for. The authors rightly point out that apart from a brilliant story idea, some of these things will make a difference when an editor takes a call to recommission a freelancer.
Deputy National Features Editor, Mint
This should be every freelancer’s essential reading before stepping into the difficult and dicey world of freelance writing. In this remarkably perceptive and extremely useful book packed with practical tips, the authors dish out on a platter the dos and don’ts of freelance journalism – from how to pitch a story idea to an editor to handling rejection.
To sell the story to your editor, make the idea sound smart, original and interesting, write the pitch clearly and concisely and send it to the right section of the right publication. Honesty and integrity are as important as interviewing and writing skills. Extensive and eclectic reading, networking and researching… in short hard work… will take you a long way. Deadlines are sacrosanct, develop interviewing skills; be prepared to rewrite when asked, even if you think the article is great.
The writers have flagged danger zones such as plagiarism, attracting defamation suits and spelt out the rules on attribution, and getting the maximum mileage out of a rare interview. Be patient, learn the art of gentle reminder, don’t harass the editor or disturb him on the mobile phone, and make sure you get paid adequately…find all this and more in this excellent guide.
Senior Associate Editor, Business Line
Go ahead, judge this book by its cover. Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai deliver exactly what its title promises, and do so with lucidity, insight, and most delightfully, wit. Its biblical expanse covers everything you may ever want to know about the business of freelancing, from killer pitches to ornery editors to the dirty business of getting paid. They don’t just tell but show you how it’s done with copious examples and detailed descriptions. The hidden cookie in this useful tome: a free Writing101 class. I predict this book is destined to become a staple on every J-school syllabus and aspiring journalist’s bookshelf.
Senior Editor, First Post
I wish I’d had this book when I started writing. Beginning with the wisdom that writing ability isn’t enough to get you an assignment (it’s true!), Everything you wanted… takes the reader through the steps needed to land that assignment. And through this journey, the authors present a true picture of what it is like on the other side, the world of those whom you’re pitching to. Filled with tips and very practical advice, this is a must-read for those looking to break into the field.
Deputy Editor, The Hindu, and author of “Conversations with Mani Ratnam”
If you ever needed a DIY device to break into freelance writing, this is it. It’s practical, truthful and almost gives you a checklist of what to do (and not to) when pitching stories. With tongue firmly in cheek, I can think of many ‘career freelance journalists’ I would recommend this book to.
Features Editor, Condé Nast Traveller India
The process of freelance writing is all too often mistaken for the following three steps: 1. Writing 2. Emailing 3. Cashing cheque. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In this book Ramadurai and Rao neatly outline the trials and tribulations involved in making it as a freelance writer of substance. Thankfully they also tell you how to cope with those challenges. Each week I get emails from half a dozen aspiring writers all seeking to break into the nation’s newsprint. Hopefully this book, a one-stop resource will help these writers and liberate my inbox.
Foreign Correspondent, Mint and Bestselling Author of ‘Dork’ Series
This book is a MUST READ for all freelance journalists – newbie or experienced. Veteran international freelance journalists Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai have put in their very best efforts to give other freelancers everything that they have learnt over their long journey as freelance journalists. In addition, the book also contains several interesting and informative quotes; in depth interviews of four renowned freelance journalists; real successful queries which helped in winning assignments at prestigious publications and some useful resources too. Laden with a wealth of insider tips and quotes which cannot be easily found anywhere else, this book is surely worth more than thrice its price!
Freelance journalist, Chennai
Anyone who is a writer or aspires to be a writer should buy this book. Freelance journalists Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramdurai have compiled a lot of information for freelancers. The book tells you how to set up a freelance business, write articles that sell, multimedia journalism and also how to survive a recession. With many quotes, tips and additional information, it’s worth much more its price and an excellent resource for freelance writers.
This past week I have been reading Everything You Wanted To Know about Freelance Journalism (But Didn’t Know Whom To Ask). And as I came to the end of each well-written, information-rich, filled-to-the-brim-with-practical-advice chapter, I would think, “What a wonderful book this is for all my students who are working as print journalists.”
Sure, the title seems to indicate that this book is only useful for freelance writers, but, really, what Kavitha Rao and Charukesi Ramadurai have done is produced a brilliant “ideas” book for anyone working as a journalist, freelance or otherwise.
Media Professor, Bangalore