Wednesday, August 26, 2009

GUEST POST: So, What Commercial Writing Projects Are You Working On These Days?

A few years after I graduated college, a family friend gave me a copy of Peter Bowerman's book The Well-Fed Writer. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. If you don't own it already, stop what you're doing, go over to Peter's site, and buy it. Seriously. You'll thank me. OK, all set? Good. Now on to the post:

So, What Commercial Writing Projects Are You Working On These Days?
By Peter Bowerman

Peter Bowerman here, "The Well-Fed Writer," taking Jennifer up on her invite to do a guest blog post while she’s away on vacation. Here’s an edited version of one I ran last year that got a lot of interesting comments. It was cool not only because it showcased the vast array of projects people were working on, but because, in the process, it provided people with a lot of ideas for different project types and industries that may not have occurred to you and me. Do check out the comments on the original post here.


I got a note from a new reader of The Well-Fed Writer recently, asking, “Curious. Are you mostly doing web copy in this day and age, or are you pretty much in the same industry as you started?” I guess the thinking was that the web has taken over the world and that, as such, that’s all we’d be doing. He IS new to the business. Obviously, there’s plenty of the traditional marketing communications pieces still being done out there.

But, it got me thinking about what people are working on these days. I figure, by sharing what’s on our plates these days, and how we landed it, it can showcase the wide variety of projects that make up the commercial writing sphere, while also giving us ideas about some new directions to go in, suggest to clients, hunt down, etc. And give any newbie lurkers some confidence that this gig truly IS for real (in case they’re wondering…)

Me? I’m working on a brochure for an online high school catering to home-schoolers. It’ll be used at trade shows or in other “leave-behind”? scenarios. That’ll be followed by a catalog for the school. A graphic designer found me somehow, asked if I knew a writer in his area (an hour away), nothing panned out, he steered his client to my site, she loved it, called me up, and we were in business.

(P.S. Since I finished the above project, I’ve done about 20K worth of work for that client (and her clients), and plenty more on the way.

I’m also working on a case study for a building materials company (my sixth project for them), originally landed through a speechwriter friend of mine (whom I thank with free lunches every few months for the many thousands it’s put in my pocket).

Also working on some copy for a menu insert for a well-known restaurant chain – pretty high-level demographics, psychographics, etc. Amazing how much agonizing goes into what people are thinking when they read a menu (personally, I think they could care less, as long as their meal is good, but hey, they want to pay me well to agonize, I’ll agonize).

Plus, some book titling and back-cover copywriting for three self-publishing authors through my coaching program. Fun stuff.

So, what are you working on these days?

How did you land it?

Noticing any uptick or downturn in certain kinds of projects?


Susan Johnston Taylor said...

I remember this post from Peter's blog, so I'll break the ice. At the moment, I'm working on copy for two different catalogues (one for toys and the other for candles and scented products). Both of those gigs were through referrals. I also ghostblog for several law firms on a regular basis. Again, thanks to referrals.

Anonymous said...

I'm working on web copy for a tour company and on several white papers for a software company. All came from referrals by past clients.

Unknown said...

Neat post, Peter.

These days I'm working on a university catalog, a 401(k) book editing job, insurance blog posts aplenty, and resumes. Tomorrow, who knows? I love the fickle nature of the job.

I do miss writing for insurance magazines. My two main clients (and most of my income from last year) lost their budgets in May. I have about five "maybes" on the hook and I'm trying to reel at least one of them in. The enthusiasm of some rarely make it beyond the phone call. I guess the idea is to get them contracted before they sober up. LOL

Laura Cross said...

I am slammed with ghostwriting projects: a book proposal package and two manuscripts (one a business how-to book and the other on the topic of wealth building.) I also have had a lot of line-editing work this year from first-time authors. Seems everyone want to have a book!