Inexpensive resources just for aspiring and professional freelance writers.

How I Lost $6500 in a Book Launch

In 2016, I reported on how I lost $6,500 when I hired Tom Morkes (then owner of Insurgent Publishing) to launch my new book. The post went viral when it was tweeted by author Chuck Wendig.

The post garnered thousands of visits in just one day—I want to say 20,000 but can't recall the exact number—and 60 pages worth of comments. It was also covered by a handful of online outlets. Like this and this. It's a really good read, especially in the comments, where my then-business partner discovered that Tom Morkes was posting comments under a false name.

The post finally came down when we retired the Renegade Writer blog in late 2016, and I was glad to be done with it. And since I retired as of March 2021, I don't really want to be too involved with doings online.


However, I decided to revive the post when I heard from a new-to-me writer that he had been recently dinged twice by a different business Tom Morkes is involved in.

Luckily, I saved the text of my original post about Tom Morkes's business Insurgent Publishing; it includes all the updates and comments. It is an exact replica except that I removed three broken links. Nothing at all has been changed.

Please read this to learn the signs of poor business practices before you invest money in any writing-related services...and feel free to share the PDF to help other writers avoid wasting money on businesses that make false promises, bully their clients, and don't live up to their fees.

(You can also download a free PDF of the report.)

The Freelance Writers Den

I spent some time as the Other Den Mother at this incredible community created by Carol Tice and now run by Chandler Bolt. It's filled with info-packed courses, boot camps, and a moderated forum with over 1,000 fellow writers. The Den only opens a few times per year...use my link to get on the waitlist.

The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success

For over 20 years Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell have written for top magazines and newspapers you can find on every newsstand, including Family Circle, Woman's Day, Cook's Illustrated, Parenting, Redbook, Fortune Small Business, Writer's Digest, Oxygen, The Boston Globe, Self, Inc., and dozens more.


These authors break all the rules: they pitch magazines they’ve never read, call editors to pitch ideas, research extensively before they even get an assignment, and usually follow their own inclinations rather than the official directions. They’ve negotiated for more money and better terms without risking their careers, learned that editors are not the writer-gobbling monsters many freelancers fear, and established long-term relationships with editors at top publications.

And in The Renegade Writer, they share all their tips and tricks so you, too, can become the go-to writer editors love.

When the first edition of The Renegade Writer was published in 2003, it helped thousands of magazine writers around the world find more (and better) ideas, break into new (or tough) markets, research and write their articles with more efficiency, and get paid more money...and showed them that the freelance life can be extremely profitable when they use their brains instead of tired-old rules. This third edition, which has been an Amazon best-seller in the journalism category, includes new “rules” that freelancers can break, updates on the featured writers from our second edition, and new Q&As with successful rule-busting writers.


From Pitch to Published: How to Sell Your Article Ideas to Magazines

Maybe you're a budding freelancer who dreams of seeing their byline in a magazine like Redbook or Women's Health. Or you're a mid-career writer who can't seem to break out of the pack and clinch the assignments that other writers seem to nab with ease. If you want to start scoring assignments from top magazines like Smithsonian, Inc., mental_floss, and Fitness—not to mention trade and custom publications—From Pitch to Published: How to Sell Your Article Ideas to Magazines is the guide you need to take you there.

You'll learn how to craft winning article pitches that pique interest from editors and lead to lucrative assignments. Included are over 20 actual pitches that sold to magazines such as Women's Health, Parenting, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Entrepreneur, and more plus interviews with the writers and their assigning editors. You’ll learn from these insiders:


  • What every editor is looking for in a story pitch...and if you think it's a list of your writing credits, you're wrong.

  • Why your writer’s voice is more important than you think.

  • How to sell your idea to a national magazine even if you've never been published before.

  • What to do if you have no clips, samples, or credentials.

  • How to stand out from the competition with your very first sentence.

From Pitch to Published also includes a comprehensive Q&A about the art and science of selling article ideas to magazine editors...everything from how to structure a winning query letter to how to sell a “killed” article. If you're a beginning writer, you'll learn how to land your initial assignments with more ease and less angst, and if you've been around the block a few times, you'll find dozens of tips to help you improve your sales ratio.