Many people tend to think that a writer’s job is simply to write. In reality, that is only part of the story. So what else forms the other parts of a writer’s job? Well, before fiction writers put pen to paper, they must obtain the material about which they wish to write. If it’s already there, they must build a believable world around it, which means looking for facts to substantiate the story. Research becomes the foremost component of a writer’s job. It involves gathering all those bits and pieces of information that enable writers to offer a compelling read to their audience. Without verifiable facts, without research, the text becomes a pack of cards that falls under the first gust of a critic’s inspection.
Having dispensed with the rubrics of research, writers must proceed to the nub and core of their job: writing. Consumed by the fire of inspiration, they pour thoughts into the written word, weaving a living story that moves readers along, if what they write is fiction. The characters emerge into life, the readers’ lives, and they laugh or cry with them. They become brothers, and mothers, and neighbors, and as the plot thickens, it becomes their very own: who did what to whom? What crumbs of wisdom can readers glean from the theme?
The story done, writers must not stop there. All writers’ jobs demand that they write and re-write the story to the point that a fine-toothcomb examination reveals no errors. It is only then writers are prepared to move to the next level. This part of the writer’s job involves checking copy edits, proofs, and final copies of hardcover, paperback, or any other edition.
The writer’s next task involves negotiating deals, especially with publishers. Some writers outsource this job to agents, but a significant number of them go through the paces of negotiating personally.
After that, it becomes the writer’s job to check contracts; for example, those made with publishers. Again, it is the writer’s job to check royalties. Books are published to be sold, and one cannot take away from writers the task of publicizing their works. Perhaps this task can also be outsourced to an agent, but approval must be given, and involvement, even if only indirect, is necessary.
What happens when writers’ work strikes it big? Apart from royalties, they also receive a lot of mail from fans, news writers, and other interested parties. It must seem quite clear that the writer’s job does not end with getting a book on the bestseller list. Now one must respond to the mail, sign an autobiography here and there, and perhaps give interviews to journalists.
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