Yesterday, my husband and I went into town to do our weekly shopping and while we were there, we popped into a local charity shop. I was hoping to find a pair of dungarees as my hippie side has returned. I’m guessing it’s my age, you know, we all revisit our past as we grow older at some point. Ageing men buy motorbikes or grow their hair long to recapture their past while we women hunt for clothes, we wore in our younger days 😉

Anyway, while hunting around among the preloved, I picked up a couple of new books to add to my growing collection of Granny Wenlock’s research books.

  • Collins nature guides: Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe by Dieter Podlech ISBN 0-26-167405-6
  • The Cottage Garden by Anne Scott- James ISBN 0-14-046397-6

Both these books give an insight into how plants are used in healing and their traditional uses. Though, The Cottage Garden tells the history of cottage gardens from Chaucer’s time until today. This book will give me an insight into what I would find in Martha’s garden as the book is neatly laid out with attractive paintings, drawings and engravings. It was first published in 1981.

My charity shop book finds.

Another book I found intrigued me enough to buy it. Well, at one pound for four books who wouldn’t buy them. (Yes, I know there’s only three books in the picture. The other book was just a novel.) The Freelance Writer’s Handbook by Andrew Crofts was one of those books that promises to reveal all the secrets of becoming a bestselling writer but doesn’t really deliver. With tagline like How to turn your writing skills into a successful business, and endorsement tag that says: ‘A very useful, totally practical guide,’ Daily Mail as a new writer it would make you reach deep into your pocket in the hope to learn something useful. I have read many books like this one and I’ve been left wanting.

Such books might give their authors a much-needed cash injection to pay their daily expenses while desperate writers buy the books in hope to find undiscovered secrets to successful writing careers. Now I’m not sure whether I’m onboard with this book for two reasons. Having the Daily Mail’s endorsement didn’t really sell the book to me, because in my opinion the newspaper is a bit of a comic unlike The Times or Guardian newspapers. Secondly, whoever the previous owner was they hadn’t read the book as the spine was unbroken. Another thing that bothered me was blurb on the back of the book. It said it was an inspiring guide for everyone who would like to earn money from writing, whether full time or part time.

An unread book

I bet the book doesn’t tell you how much you can expect to earn from your writing. 🤷‍♀️

The author is listed as being one of the world’s most successful freelancers and he has worked as a freelance journalist, travel writer, ghost writer, business writer, novelist and non-fiction author and has published over fifty books, including six number one bestsellers. This made me wonder whether he had to have many strings to his bow to make a living.

So, it made me question the book’s blurb where it said, ‘All you need to know to make a sustainable living doing what you enjoy most.’

Wow! to make £10K in sales would be a dream come true, 😂 A page from Andrew Crofts’ The Freelance Writer’s Handbook
published in 2009 UK £11.99 ISBN: 978-0-7499-2763-9

I find it hard to believe that a new writer could make a sustainable living from a single occupation by using Andrew Crofts’ book. I know, myself that it’s hard to make any money from writing, but to make a regular amount to be able to pay bills seems like an impossible dream. Of course, if you are working in the publishing industry, doing a second job that pays you a regular amount, it then becomes a case of finding the time to work on your own writing projects.
So, what choice do you have?
Firstly, you need to decide what sort of writer you want to be. Non-fiction or fiction writer whether that’s for magazine etc. Then secondly, whether to have a paying career within the publishing industry as an editor, proof-reader, publisher, marketing, publicist, sales, an agent, cover designer, or give how to talks which will pay the bills while you’re trying to find the time to write.

Writing novels or any books takes up much of your time, plus you need to allow sometime for day to day living like sleeping, eating, and looking after non-writing family members. I’m lucky enough to have the support of my hard-working husband who is allowing me to become a novelist.
So, stay true to yourself and your dreams and hopes, at some point in your writing career you write a bestseller that may or may not pay the bills.

I will continue writing novels, and hope by doing so, I get lucky and write a book readers enjoy enough to tell their friends about and leave review. Word of mouth is the best kind of publicity.

Have a great week.

Paula R C


  1. It’s tough to make a living as a writer. The most possible way, I suppose, is as a journalist on staff with a publication successful enough to pay decent salaries to its writers. Those jobs are no longer plentiful though.


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