|About the Author
Jonathan Teal Scott was born to Debra Griffin on May 21, 1988 in Phenix City, Alabama. Raised in Augusta, Georgia, Jonathan grew up dreaming to be something great. An honors student throughout his schooling Jonathan was a talented writer from an early age on. He wrote for the Evans High School Excalibur, the school paper, all four years of high school, and in his senior year, Jonathan served as Co-Editor. With the help of his writing Jonathan recieved the President's Scholarship at Georgia Southern Universtiy, which is where he currently resides. Jonathan is currently majoring in Journalism and hopes to one day achieve his dream of having a book published.
Important Links To Check Out!!Double the 'c', Double the 's', won't always equal success
Journalist's Annual Salary
Novelist Workshop w/ Linda Barlow
Steps To Publish a Book
When the caps and gowns are folded and boxed up and the time has come for the senior in high school to become a freshman once again, there are so many questions left unanswered. The biggest question is: What do I want to do with my life? For four years a student is faced with so much work, tests, quizzes, and book reports, and they all steer the student to one common goal: college. The problem is, once that goal is reached, many students find themselves clueless as to what should come next. Some don’t have a choice, and are pushed down a path by their parents. Others go down the path that will lead them to the largest income, but some simply want to do what they love. This, however, leads them to another problem: narrowing down what one loves into a career.
Writing is a perfect example of the previously presented situation, and just so happens to be the situation that this writer currently finds himself in. There are so many facets to writing and so many career opportunities. One could explore professional writing for businesses (contracts, legal documents, etc.) or one could even become a teacher (Hewitt). One could express their feelings and emotions through poetry or cling to acedemia. But two careers that truly show the entire gamut of literature are journalism and novelism. One, journalism, represents a more professional and even safer path for a writer to take, and the other, novelism, represents a loftier goal, but it is one that could fulfill a writer’s dream and potentially lead to a lot of money and success. Both require a great deal of hard work and dedication, and both could potentially be a source of income, but which to choose?
Journalism is a career that most parents would choose between these two, because it is simply a safer situation. There are many types of journalism, but a writer would most likely end up working for a newspaper or a magazine. Journalism involves gathering and organizing information, and then presenting it to an audience. All articles operate in fact. Nothing should be speculated, and everything must have evidence and admissible proof (“Journalism”). This is where journalism leaves the creative writer wanting more. All the intricacies, requirements, and restrictions can take away the fun of writing, but there are pros and cons to every situation. According to a fall 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college graduates earn an average annual salary of $29,962 in their first year (“Journalism”).
Novelism would lead a student down a completely different path. First, to be a novelist, one doesn’t need a college degree. Novelists simply need a book that is relevant, catchy, interesting, and will keep an audience reading. Well, at least that’s all it appears they need. In actuality, the most pivotal requirement for this field is patience, because success won’t come overnight, in fact, it may never come. Many authors develop a track record by starting with short stories. These are easier to get published simply because they can be written, read, and edited quicker. Short stories are a great way for an author to get their foot in the door with a publishing company and develop experience. Once an author is ready, they send their proposal to a publishing company and pray they get positive feedback. A proposal is the most pivotal piece of getting published. Included in a proposal is a general overview of the book, a description of the market for the book (or target audience), a description of similar works that already exist, an author bio, and a chapter by chapter summary. At the end of a proposal is a three-sentence snippet telling the publisher how many words the book will be and how long it will take to write. Some fiction novels include in their proposals up to twenty pages of actual material from the novel (Soyouwanna). Upon acceptance, an author would sign a contract with the publisher delineating topics such as quantity published and royalties to the author. This process, written in a neat paragraph, appears simple, but actually getting a book published is something that very few “writers” can say they have done, and in fact, the average acceptance rate of all online publishers is only seven percent (Wiesner). However, great writers, with a little bit of luck, can overcome the obstacles and have the opportunity to make millions.
Another aspect of Journalism that could turn off prospective writers, is the schooling and experience necessary to succeed in the field. The most common path is to major in "Journalism", a four year degree, and maybe even begin writing for a university paper. Though this is not a requirement, it does develop experience and relevant portfolio material for a writer. After graduating with a journalism degree, the next step is to apply to local, daily newspapers and develop a portfolio. When facing all of this, someone who merely enjoys writing can sometimes lose their drive and search for their career elsewhere. The pshyche of an eighteen year old freshman in college is something that can be talked about forever and never understood, but everyone who starts out their college career is intimidated at first. This intimidation dissuades people from doing what they start out to do, and finding a simpler way.
So what to do? Becoming a novelist has such a low guarantee of success, but journalism doesn’t truly satisfy the creative needs of a “novelist at heart”. Well, as previously mentioned, writing a book does not require a college degree, whereas journalism does. If one truly needs to satisfy their creative side, they can do so en route to a college degree. Journalists often face deadlines that push them to the brink, and will keep long hours trying to meet them, but this is not always the case. Spare time will still exist, and it can be used to seek publication elsewhere.
A true novelist would never be so impractical as to think that they could “burst onto the scene” with their first novel and become an instant millionaire. A balance is required to maintain a standard of living. A professional career aided by published works of literature is a great answer to the original question: What do I do with my life?
According to Linda Barlow, writer, teacher, consultant, editor and author of 15 published novels, including Intimate Betrayal (Warner Books), Keepsake (Warner Books), and Thicker Than Water (co-authored by William G. Tapply, published by Penguin) and Leaves of Fortune (Doubleday):
It's impossible to predict how much money a single book will make. I've had books that made as little as $4000 and as much as $250,000--and everything in between. I have a few writer friends who make hefty six (or even seven) figure incomes each year. But for most of us, this kind of money is a lovely fantasy.
In short, you should be warned, if you don't know it already, that most of us published writers do NOT earn a grand living. Recently (actually, after my divorce) I began doing some work for a high tech company because my writing income this year probably isn't going to pay all the bills. Who knows--next year it might be a different story. But if you're just starting out, don't quit your day job! (Barlow)
An educated person would head those words and find the balance in careers. To become a novelist would be a dream come true for most writers, but the truth of the matter is it probably won’t happen as they dreamed it would. However, there is nothing wrong with seeking out that dream after one has an established way to “pay the bills” and support themselves. Journalism could be that support, and for writers provide a balance between the lofty dreams of childhood, and the reality of adulthood.
Hewitt, John. "Glossary of Writing Careers." 4 March 2005. http://www.poewar.com/archives/2005/03/04/glossary-of-writing-careers/ (24 Apr. 2007).
"Journalism." College Journal. http://www.collegejournal.com/salarydata/journalism/?refresh=on (24 Apr. 2007).
Barlow, Linda. “The Novelist’s Workshop.” 17 June 2004. http://www.monash.com/writers.html (23 Apr. 2007).
Wiesner, Karen. “E-Publisher’s Acceptance Rates.” Writing World. http://www.writing-world.com/publish/wiesner.shtml (24 Apr. 2007).
"Soyouwanna publish a book." Soyouwanna.com. http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/publishbook/publishbook2.html (24 Apr. 2007).