Writing Books/hello


i have to write a report on a career that im intrested in witch mine is writting ive injoyed writtin since i was little so can you help

Hi, Alicia!

I saw your question in the question pool, and thought I'd give you a hand. I'm a full time writer now, both novels and magazine articles, and make my primary income from it, so I do consider it a career. Here are some of the things that a person has to know and do in order to make a career from writing:

1.  A person has to be really organized and must be able to multi-task well. By that, I mean that when you're writing for a living, you've got a lot of things going on all at once. You have to be writing one book, thinking about the next one in order to give the publisher a "synopsis" (sort of a book report on the book before it's written--telling what it's about) and you'll probably be working on edits to one or two others that you wrote and turned in months before. Making your mind switch between different stories on command isn't as easy as you might think! When you're actively publishing books, it can be up to a year-long process to go from the finished manuscript to the shelf, and you might have to go back to it to make changes two or three times.

2.  You have to be REALLY good with spelling, punctuation and grammar. While you might think that an "editor" is paid to correct these things at the publisher's office, they have a lot more to do every day. That's only one tiny bit of their job. They might make the changes ONCE if they really, really love the story, but after that, they'll expect the author to be the one to turn in a perfect manuscript the first time. So, if you want to be a writer, spend lots of time learning these things while you're still in school and have a teacher who'll help you for free. It's a lot harder (and more expensive) to learn later.

3.  You have to be very patient and not get frustrated easily. Not only do you have to be able to look at the same words over and over, figuring out ways to make it just a little better each time, but each book has to be better written, with stronger characters and a more complex plot. It takes practice and most of us fail more than once before getting to a point where a book is "publishable." That can be the first time, or the tenth. I know a lot of published writers who have NEVER sold their first, second or even third book, but the fourth was the one that sold.

4. You have to be willing to accept criticism about your writing, even when it seems harsh. Every critique is meant to help and authors who want to sell understand that they can't take things personally. So, when an editor absolutely hates a scene in a book and wants you to change it, you have to be willing to bite your tongue and look at the book critically to decide if they're right, no matter how much you LOVE that scene.

5.  Finally, you have to understand that most writers--even those who have lots of books on the shelf, aren't rich. Many have a day job and write at night or on weekends. The pay scale isn't very good at first. Most advances (the money that a publisher pays up front for the right to publish the book) are in the $2,000-15,000 range. While that seems a lot of money, when you're trying to live on it, it goes really quickly and the checks don't arrive on a regular schedule. Sometimes you'll get two in quick succession, and then it'll be six or seven months before the next. That's hard to buy groceries on every week.

But, I do love writing, and am always happy to encourage people to give it a shot. It can be wonderfully fulfilling and a lot of fun. You just have to take the frustration with the joy, like with most things.

Good luck with your report and hope this helped you out a bit. :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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