Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun, Profit

I've just finished reading How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit: Your Guide to Writing and Publishing Books, E-Books, Articles, Special Reports, Audio Programs, DVDs, and Other How-To Content by Robert Bly. The book not only earns its long title through a plethora of detailed information on each topic covered; it over-delivers on the reader's expectations.

The author knows his stuff, which is clear from reading the book and from the fact that he makes over $600,000 a year through his writing and has earned six figures as a freelance writer consistently for several decades. He's weathered the transition from print-based freelance writing to online content and multimedia (audio CD's, DVD material, software and more).

He gives an excellent overview about becoming an accomplished how-to writer and an expert in your chosen niche. It's important to specialize and become well-known in one niche or a small handful of related ones, he says, given the nature of today's information-hungry climate and the social nature of the internet. Rather than spread yourself over many different subjects, it's better (and arguably more profitable) to learn one area very well and to share information in that specific topic.

Chapters most relevant to my interests were those on writing and selling books, ebooks and articles. My plans for future residual income generation include Kindle self-publishing as well as a traditional hard copy book. Bly's advice in this book has been invaluable, and I'm keeping his book on my shelf to reference as I go.

The only topic he didn't address that I think would have been within the scope of his book is publishing how-to information on your own website and earning money from ads and other monetization methods, while giving the information away for free. I imagine this isn't something he focuses on, but he does have a section on membership sites as a method of earning money from how-to writing.

Have you read any books pertaining to freelance/ web writing or internet marketing lately? I'd love to get your recommendations -- please share what you think in the comments section, below. 


Peg said...

I reserved this book at the library. If I love it, I'll order if from Amazon. Thanks for the heads up! Love these sorts of books and can't wait to read it and get new, exciting ideas and tips.

Maria said...

Peg, that's great your library has it! Ours is fairly small and has very few freelance writing/ web writing books that are current. Maybe I'll suggest it to them as a library purchase -- I know there are many people who could benefit from reading it.

Susan Koble said...

Thanks for the info. I'm going to search out the book. Need some new options...

Robin Elizabeth Margolis said...

Dear Maria:

Fan of your blog here. I'd be curious to see your review of T.W. Anderson's e-book on "Content Writing 101."

My Linkedin writing group members like it, but an outside opinion would be welcome.

T.W. Anderson is a member of our group and has a respected blog on passive income, content writing and other blogs as well.

Here is a link. I'm sure T.W. would be happy to send you a review copy:

T.W. Anderson said...

Thanks for the plug, Robin.

If you want more detailed information on the eBook, you can go straight to the page for the title, which is here ( While the link Robin provided is relevant, it's from the promotion when the book went live two weeks ago, and isn't evergreen.

I've got a nationwide press release blast going out to Associated Press next week, and there will be a follow-up book sometime later this year, after I finish the first two travel guides for my other website and finish my research trip to Bogata, probably in October or November.

But yes, I'm more than happy to discuss a free copy in exchange for a review :) Feel free to browse the information on the website regarding the book, read through some of my other posts, and when you are finished just send me a mail :)

Cheers, and thanks again, Robin.

Maria said...

Robin, thanks for the suggestion.

T.W. Anderson, you are welcome to send a review copy to me at I don't guarantee a review as I only publish reviews of books that pertain directly to my readership, but it looks like we would probably have a fit.

T.W. Anderson said...

I think it will fit right in, since it's about working at home as a freelance writer, and how to consistently break $50 an hour writing for content mills, one of the many, many different ways to make a living in this day and age using nothing more than the Internet and the everyday ability to construct basic sentences together.

Sent along a copy for you to peruse. Cheers.