Compiling your author CV
Updated: Apr 21
Why, you may ask? You’re an author, you don’t need it.
You’re right, probably not, but recently I had the rather weird experience to submit my CV. For goodness’ sake, I haven’t worked in any kind of environment since 1998. My qualifications are so out of date, they may fit in a museum. My references are dead or old and senile and might not even remember me. Maybe there are one or two that might remember me, but I won’t know where to find them.
Look, my last “official” qualification was an Electronic Secretarial Diploma in 1994. I still did WordPerfect 5.1 and MS-Dos! Do you remember that? Or what about Lotus 3.4 (Wysiwig)? I still remember what Wysiwig stands for: What you see is what you get, but that's it.
No, I think half of you may be too young to remember those ancient programmes.
And I can’t prove what I’ve done since 1998. Does it count that I joined my husband on a ship and out of boredom rearranged the ship’s library according to genre and in alphabetical order—just like an actual library? Or that I learned to draw elephants? What about gardening, taking care of my daughter and my near-blind mother and running the household and attempted to study and learn photography and paint in oils and selling craft supplies from home in the twenty-odd years while my husband was away half the time? No?
I refuse to say I was a housewife, because I wasn’t. I'm not a baker and cleaner and decorator. I live in the house and that's about it. A homemaker may sound better, but yet it still didn’t describe what I did.
The more I tried to explain to the person requesting it, I don’t have a CV or relevant qualifications, the more she insisted she needs a CV and a recent one. My husband may tell you I rolled my eyes and muttered a very rude expletive. But I did it. I used my old CV and updated it. And yes, I put from 1998 to 2016 my job description as homemaker and my duties as carer for my mum and daughter.
My latest job from 2016? Romance author. Should be short and concise because romance authors write romance, right? But when I wrote it, I realised something else. I’m a romance author, yes, but I am an indie romance author or as I’ve added it to my CV, self-published romance author. There is a difference because as a self-published author, I learned skills I would never have learned otherwise.
As I’ve said, I used my old CV as a basis, and just updated it with my new skills, etc. But I created this nice arty CV in Canva and sent the woman both. She seems happy! Not sure what’s going to happen to that, but I’ve done it.
Sometimes, you need something to boost your confidence, and writing this CV was the perfect way to do it. Let’s look, for example, at my computer skills in 1998 when I quit the workforce to join my husband in Scotland: Microsoft Office (which I think was about Version 6 of Word. That’s it.
My computer skills now include a rather long list, including Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop, Plottr, Canva, Bookbrush for Authors, Vellum, Wix and Mailerlite. I forgot to say that I know how to use Zoom too. And I think I’ve left out one or two like Lightroom and Scrivener and Adobe Acrobat and Dropbox. I know how to use Google Docs and Sheets and Forms and Linktree and Planoly and Pinterest and Bookfunnel and Prolific Works and ProWritingAid, Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor.
My skills list? Wow! I amazed myself. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no expert in many of these things, but I’m like a work in progress. I’m still learning, I admit, and I probably will do so forever, because things change so quickly and you need to adapt and learn.
· Bilingual: English and Afrikaans (Read, Speak and Write (I hope!)
· Blogger (both on Wix and Google Blogger)
· Social Media Marketing
· Book Formatting (Vellum and Kindle Create)
· Translations (English to Afrikaans and vice versa)
· Leadership skills
· Knowledge of Microsoft Office
· Knowledge of MailerLite
· Knowledge of Mailchimp
· Knowledge of Amazon/Facebook/ Bookbub Åds
· Basic Graphic Design
· Basic Cover Design (BookBrush)
· Basic Editing
· Book Trailers
· Photo Editing
· Knowledge of Adobe
· Knowledge of ProWritingAid
· Knowledge of Grammarly
· Management of Facebook Pages/Groups
· Knowledge of Wix
When I worked, I didn’t belong to any relevant societies, but now I belong to writing groups and organisations. I wonder if all the Facebook groups count?
Do you think it is all relevant when you just want to write? I think so. Often we forget that what writing has taught us is not only the art of perfecting our writing skills, but it shows you’re willing to learn new skills and programmes, and you can do so. It shows you are hardworking and dedicated. It shows that you’re an entrepreneur. It shows that you can work as a team, because you and your editor and graphic designer and marketer, or anyone you collaborate with, is a team.
Isn’t that what employers want and need these days?
And sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of how far we've come.
Drafting the CV also showed me where I still want to improve and what skills I want to learn.
So, I dare you. Write your own CV, incorporating your writing skills and abilities, and when you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.
Until next time,