Monday 16 September 2019

The Things You Have to Do by Claire Fayers

I was talking to a friend about writing recently. She wanted to know how long it took to write a book, what I did all day, the usual questions. I told her about the drafting and editing and editing and deadlines, the hours spend sat at a desk. At the end of it, she looked at me open-mouthed and said. "You mean it's a bit like having a job?"

Well yes, it's exactly like having a job, except that it's more like you have at least ten different jobs and you're not properly trained or competent to do any of them.

It goes without saying that children's authors also have to be entertainers, public speakers and teachers. But that's only the start of it. I thought I'd have a bit of fun and list some of the jobs I've taken on since becoming an author.


Even if you hire an accountant to sort out your tax, you still have to keep records, send invoices and track receipts.


A confession: I hate admin. If I could afford to pay someone to do it, I would. I tend to leave everything until I have a pile of paperwork on the edge of my desk and then I have an admin afternoon, followed by ice-cream.

Animal Handler 

(Only applies if you have pets). My cats have learned to come and tell me if they need something. Loudly and with claws if necessary. I have also almost perfected the art of typing one-handed with a kitten balanced across my chest.


Your characters have to live somewhere. Mine seem to spend half their lives standing about in kitchens. It's useful to know the layout of the house in case they need to escape from a terrifying monster.


Obviously you have to sell your own books. But I have developed a dreadful compulsion to leap at customers in the children's sections of bookshop and recommend everything I've read in the past six months. Sorry, customers!

Events organiser

Book launches, school events, celebratory parties. Someone has to be in charge of them.


Because you can't sit in front of the computer all the time. My favourite place to escape is my allotment, which is a constant learning experience and has made me far more aware of the weather and the changing seasons.


I've heard terrifying tales of authors who have gone onto Google to look up a single date, only to emerge years later, giddy-eyed and babbling about all the hidden wonders of the universe. Writing fantasy, I thought I was safe from research. Until I had to design magic systems, know how fast boats could travel and how the economy of a small island might work. 

Transport Designer

How long is an average submarine? How many decks does a pirate ship have? Can a dragon to power a hot-air balloon? It's important to know these things.

Website Designer

I'm now very lucky to have a super smart website designed by a friend, but before that I had a wordpress site I built myself after many hours poring over manuals.

That's all I can think of for now but I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg. What are the strangest jobs you've had do as an author?

Claire Fayers is the author of the Accidental Pirates series, Mirror Magic and Storm Hound. 
Website Twitter @clairefayers


Susan Price said...

Great blog. I hadn't thought anout it but yes, I've done all of the above. And once you move into self-publishing, a whole new set of jobs come along...

Hilary Hawkes said...

Love your thoughts in this post - all sooo true :) I'd add "counsellor" to other writer friends in need of encouragement too!