Dear Extra Squeeze Team: I Want to Be an Author, BUT . . .

October 31, 2018 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team with 0 and 0
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I Want to Be an Author, BUT . . .| The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Dear Extra Squeeze Team,

I’m in college, and I’d like to be a published author. Everyone it’s trying to talk me out of it. I’ve had a few short stories published with very small publishers. But how do I go about proving to my family and friends and professors that this is what I want to do?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

First, congratulations on being published. That is an awesome accomplishment at your age.

Second, don’t prove to your family and friends that you want to be a writer, become one. No one is born a writer and no one pays a new writer enough to live on so you will have to work. You will write in the morning before work and in the evening after work. You will write on the weekends and you will submit and create your career if you are serious about it.

I have a B.A. and an MBA. I worked in a corporate career for years, wrote and published when I could and eventually I had a solid track record and could write full-time.

My son is a gifted writer. He has worked as a teacher, a barista, and any other job he could get as he builds his career.

Work hard no matter what you do. You also may find after a while that your idea of a writing career has changed. You may enjoy writing for others as a freelancer, or getting a job in a communications department of a corporation. Perhaps novels aren’t in your future but another kind of writing is. Keep an open mind. S

hare your successes with your family. They will see that you understand the business of writing and they will also see your love for the craft.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

I’m not sure why you need to prove to anyone that writing is what you want to do.  Just write. When the results are good enough to publish that would certainly be proof. “… a few short stories published with very small publishers” is proof of your passion, and at the least, is a positive nod to your abilities. So, continue what you’ve clearly begun. Just write.

It isn’t clear if you intend to drop from college to pursue writing, which could certainly account for friends and family trying to dissuade you from that course of action. College is the perfect place to study and practice the craft of writing, to nurture the passion to write while surrounded by like-minded people.   If you’re not already enrolled in English and writing courses, then perhaps you should do so. I can see where it might be distracting to pursue a writing career while studying quantum mechanics.

I can also understand where family and friends might view the pursuit of writing as a shaky foundation for your economic future.  Writers, like actors, have always had to take a ‘day’ job.  I say a good writer has marketable skills from advertising copy to zoological funding grants. The writer just has to be flexible with those skills. Besides, you can always minor in quantum mechanics.

If it’s your passion…just write.

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

Here is exactly what you need to do . . . Stop trying to prove to others that this is what you want to do—this is your life, not theirs—so create the life you want and live it. Be a writer. Jump in with both feet.  But know this: a writer’s life is not easy.  And, here’s something else . . . it is likely very important at this major turning point to note one thing with eyes wide open: if everyone you encounter is telling you that you don’t have a chance, the reality could be that you aren’t very good at your craft—yet. Getting better at your craft will require you to surround yourself with better mentors.  Surrounding yourself with better mentors will mean less time for the naysayers. Buckle down and get to work.  Or, quit.  You decide.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array


Sorry to say it won’t be easy! Realistically, you will almost certainly need another ‘normal’ job and will have to use your spare time to write your best-selling novel. Some jobs require very little thinking time and you can write (cheekily) when you have a spare moment. I once worked in an office where there was very little for me to do. I had a computer and hours of unmonitored time. Looking back, it would have been the perfect place to write a novel and get some pay for it! Honing your writing skills will take time, so you will need to prove to your family/friends etc. that you are serious over a number of years. Not days! If it’s non-fiction, the route is slightly different (or you could start off in non-fic). Then you can get work as a journalist on your given topic, and research your future books/get to know people in the publishing world that way.

About The Extra Squeeze
About The Extra Squeeze
Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing. Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

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    Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing. Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.
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