Guest post: ‘Going freelance’ by author Andrew Crofts

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of becoming a self-employed writer is brought to you by ghostwriter, novelist and interviewee Andrew Crofts.

Going Freelance

I have been freelance for forty years and I have loved almost every minute of it. It has allowed me to follow my own dreams while still earning enough to support a largish family. It has allowed me to travel to any place that intrigued me, from Haiti to Tahiti, New York to Lahore, Bermuda to Bangkok and to get to know people from every corner of society, billionaires to bonded labourers, presidents to street walkers.

Young people on media courses tell me that it’s all different now. They say things are harder and I would not be able to follow the same route if I started now rather than in 1970. I accept that things are different, but I’m not sure they are any harder. There are more people competing for the work, but there is far more work available since the media has expanded out of all proportion – more books, more television, more magazines and, of course, the Internet, which relies on words just as much as the old grey-prints did in the seventies.

It took me at least ten years to become sufficiently established to say that I was truly supporting myself from my writing, and I am willing to guess the same would be roughly true today. In my second decade I survived okay but probably earned less than my peers in full time employment, but patience and persistence pays off and I made several million over the third and fourth decades. I have worked virtually every day of those forty years, but quite often it hasn’t felt like work, more like an interesting hobby.

In the early years a vast proportion of my time, (and a fair bit of money), was spent on marketing. I bashed out maybe a hundred letters a week on a manual typewriter, suggesting ideas to editors, begging for commissions, submitting manuscripts for rejection. I also experimented with buying advertising space in a variety of media when I could afford it. That is all much easier now due to the rise of electronic media. A well-presented website, a blog and the judicious use of email and Twitter etc. can do the same job in half the time at virtually no cost. With self publishing and electronic publishing there are now many ways to showcase your work – ways that were not available until very recently.

So, even after forty years, I would still stand by the opening lines of my book “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, first published some twenty years ago:

Freelance writing is the most wonderful way of earning a living. Nothing, except perhaps inherited wealth, provides greater personal freedom. You can follow your interests and develop yourself in any direction you choose, free to live where you want, and to travel wherever and whenever the urge takes you. As a freelancer you never know when Lady Luck is going to drop some fabulous opportunity into your lap, but as the highly successful television writer Russell T. Davies was quoted as saying, “Luck is just hard work a lot of the time”.

When asked for one bit of advice I always answer the same; “Never, never, never give up.”


As someone leaving their job in two weeks (9 working days… I’m not quite counting the hours yet) this was very timely and oh so very relatable. Thank you Andrew!

Andrew Crofts is one of Britain’s most successful ghostwriters with more than 80 books in print, many of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also written novels including “The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride”, the new e-book “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer” available at Smashwords and “Maisie’s Amazing Maids”. He is also the author of “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook” published by Piatkus and “Ghostwriting” published by A&C Black. You can find out more about him from his three websites:, and, plus you can read my interview with Andrew, posted Sunday 6th November, here.

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. Guidelines on guest-blogs. There are other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

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2 thoughts on “Guest post: ‘Going freelance’ by author Andrew Crofts

  1. literarywonderland says:

    Very inspiring words, sir. Thank you.

    I will be leaving my full time job in March to pursue my dream of becoming a full time writer. It is amazing to hear how you became so successful in the age of typewriters and snail mail! Bravo!


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