Sheeva Azma: How to Get Started in Freelance Science Writing

Freelance Science Writing

Freelance Science Writing


Sheeva Azma
Amazon, March 24, 2021, paperback: $9.47, Kindle: $0.99
ISBN-13: 9798727976562, ASIN: B08ZW46TVC

Azma reports:

As a freelance science writer, I am often asked how I got into this field. In 2013, I had just earned my M.S. in Neuroscience from Georgetown and was looking for a job as a neuroscience researcher. While job-hunting, I used my writing skills to earn money.

Recently, after mentoring novice freelance writers and seeing them do well, I realized that I knew a lot about succeeding as a freelance science writer. Suddenly, people seemed to be contacting me left and right to know the secret sauce. I also learned that there are many scientists who want to pursue science writing but don't have the right tools or advice at their disposal. That's why I wrote this book. I decided to put every piece of advice I had ever given anyone about how to become a freelance writer onto paper and self-publish via Amazon.

Sheeva Azma

Sheeva Azma

Many scientists, having completed rigorous training and learned critical thinking, research, and writing skills, still feel that they have no marketable skills. This could not be farther from the truth! This book aims to help readers inventory their skills and experience to succeed in freelance science writing. I talk about how to create a freelance science writing portfolio, transfer skills from science, and quickly become a pro at marketing. I also cover science journalism basics, such as writing an effective lede and nut graf.

The book is geared toward people with a science background, including high school, college, and graduate students, and freelancers wishing to add science writing to their wheelhouse. I hope it also will help academic scientists seeking to transition to freelance writing, as I did.

Colleagues at my science writing company, Fancy Comma, LLC, and my friend, UK-based science writer Nidhi Parekh, edited this book. I drafted a Google Doc where we made edits. Then I downloaded it as a Microsoft Word file and used Amazon Kindle’s previewing tools to package it into the proper format. Then I uploaded and published the book in both Kindle and paperback editions.

Contact info:

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.


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Hero image by Emil Widlund on Unsplash

April 7, 2021

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

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