Pay: Sliding scale based on the market, agent skill, your high-concept plot, and the whims of the reading public.
Description: Must be able to take storyline ideas and turn them into polished, fully edited novels consisting of believable charcters, vivid setting, fully realized conflict, well-paced plot, and hero arcs showing individual characters' inner conflict from inception to resolution using no less than 88,000 and no more than 100,000 words.
1. Mastery of a majority of the English language.
2. Able to use thesaurus and dictionary.com. Also able to brainstorm crazy ideas off of critique partner and gain useful results.
3. Must hear voices in one's head and know how to turn those voices into fully realized characters.
4. Willing to take constructive criticism multiple times per project without ever once using words in response that would earn you a bleep in prime time television.
5. Must be willing to write at odd hours of the day - in between "real" life, late into the night or so early in the morning as to practically qualify as "late into the night".
6. Must scrap ideas that aren't working, write oneself out of corners, wake at three in the morning with the perfect solution and begin to type, and at all times remain true to one's characters even when one's characters are wreaking havoc on one's plot.
7. Must pour hours of work into finished project, hand it over to qualified critique parter, and then pour nearly equal number of hours into rewriting the entire thing.
8. Must read some novels in and out of chosen genre and fall into deep depression at the thought that your writing will never equal what you've just read.
9. Must recognize own talent enough to read other novels in and out of chosen genre and realize that your writing is twenty times better.
10. Must work long hours alone with your plot and your characters and whatever beverage gets you through the next chapter.
11. Must condense 95,000 word manuscript into a three sentence description and send to agents to solicit representation.
12. Must graciously receive enough rejection letters to line the cat box several times over until one day someone recognizes your talent.
13. Or one might be incredibly blessed to find instant representation and then must show the good sense to be grateful.
14. Must sign on the dotted line with a publishing agency who expects you will perform numbers 1-10 multiple times per year.
Benefits: Lifelong dream achieved, recognition within the publishing world, enough money to keep you in shoes and Starbucks, and a tangible justification for encouraging the voices in your head rather than seeking help.
Being an author is mostly about being persistent, imaginative, persistent, willing to work, persistent, and most of all, persistent. The road to being published looks different for everyone but one thing remains true for all: The only person who can stop you from fulfilling your dream is you. I think Calvin Coolidge said it best:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will
not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent."