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What is and what isn't

Being an author is a peculiar thing to be. Honestly, there isn't even a consensus of what an author actually is. Do you have to be traditionally published? Make a certain amount of money? Sell a certain number of books? See what I mean?

And then the act of being an author is a peculiar way to live. I've complained about agents, publishers, the industry in general, and probably everything else that goes along with being an author. But I love it.

It occurred to me that many people may not be aware, or able to understand just how things happen when writing. For normal people, say this part is like writing your resume. Piece of cake, right? You'd think so. But now you have to spend months pouring over every word on that resume until you are sick of looking at it and the possibility of remaining unemployed is looking more attractive by the day. At this point you ask a friend to look at it. They agree to, for somewhere between $600 to $1200. You complain but pay them. In a few weeks they send it back with red ink all over it. Then you two spend a week or so hashing it out over what stays and what goes. In the end, you have a beautiful resume.

Finally.

Now start searching for places to send it to that you'd like to work at. Of course, you could have been doing this the whole time, but you had another idea for a brand-new resume and decided to write that one instead. So, you search your favorite employers and make a list. But you're not sure if you want to send it directly to companies that are hiring or if you want to send it to a job broker and let them send it. Go back and forth about this for the next few weeks and end up sending it to both, hoping for a bite from either.

Now you wait. After a good half hour when you haven't heard anything, you start to doubt your choices. What was I thinking? You almost have a panic attack but then you have a drink, or take a walk, or whatever it is that calms you down and start to think things will be fine. Your friends tell you to be patient. It just takes time. Patience, grasshopper. Patience.

For the next 3-6 months you check your email ten times a day thinking that today is the day. It isn't. Months and countless email checks go by. By this time, you're doubting yourself and your ability to write a resume. You imagine people sitting at their desk laughing at your audacity to send then your resume. YOU sent THEM a resume. You begin to face the possibility that you might end up working your same old job until the sweet relief of death takes you away.

But then...

You stagger to your computer in your ratty sweats and check your email, idlily deleting them, and there it is. Below the sales pitches and that downloadable pamphlet on "How to Write a Better Resume" you see it. One of the companies you submitted your resume to kinda sorts likes yours. They invite you to send a longer, more in depth resume. You send it right over right away because maybe they're sitting at their computer just waiting on your response. (They're not.)

Now, pumped by the possibility of getting hired, you begin to work on that other resume that you abandoned halfway through. If they liked the first one, this one will knock their socks off. You tell everyone you know about your awesome resume and how it will get you hired. Begin checking your emails ten times a day again. You daydream about how perfect your life will be when you finally start your new job. Everything will be okay now. You got this.

Except you don't. It's a "No," You're crestfallen, dejected, angry, worried, embarrassed. You wonder why you didn't use big words like that on your resume. All the hope of the submissions has faded into the "If you haven't heard back in nine months, assume it's a pass" can and you're back at square one. Start another round of revisions, more polish. And search up more companies that are hiring. You submit to them. They're not fortune 500 companies, but they're just fine. Right now you just need to hear a "Yes" from somebody.

Then you do. It's not a big company, but it's work. Then someone else responds. An even better offer. You're happy. You decorate your little office ready to take on the world. You finally got a job.

Then nothing. Nobody comes by your office. You try advertising your position, but most people ignore you. You're employed, but that's it. You download a computer game and while away the hours between writing new resumes and searching for better job offers.

And everything begins again...

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. So, if you know an author, check on them from time to time. Just make sure they're not chugging coffee and playing computer games. Authors are fragile little things that need constant reassurance. And if you really want to make their day, buy their book AND leave a review. They'll love you forever, unless it's a three star or worse. Then you might get written into a book and killed off in a wood chipper accident.

Just saying.


-John



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