Don’t Quit Your Day Job: The Adventures of a Midlist Author, is a memoir recounting the five-decade writing career of Michael Fedo, whose books have not attained best-seller status, despite receiving mostly favorable reviews in publications such as The New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, among others. Rather than complaining, however, the author points out that while few authors earn a middle-class income from writing, aspiring writers can carve out a satisfying niche through diligence. Rich in anecdotes, the author encounters celebrities: James Stewart, Cloris Leachman; the late Lorenzo Music, Richard Wilber, and Harry Golden. He also tells of the New York Times assistant financial editor who didn’t know what Workers Compensation was, magazine fact checkers who questioned details in his satirical fiction. This book should engage general readers curious about the literary life of a workaday writer, as well as aspiring authors-in-waiting.
"Across the years and in any society or setting, certain truths prevail about the writing life -- starting with, as Michael Fedo puts it, that people become writers because they can't not do it. This is a wry and amusing look at the challenges, rewards, and practicalities of making your living (and life) through the written word."--James Fallows, co-author with Deborah Fallows, of Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America
"With several acclaimed books to his credit and many appearances in such prestigious places as The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor, Fedo’s story is nevertheless one of persistence in a world where most published books lose money. Fedo acknowledges that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series makes more money in one day than he has made in nearly fifty years of successful publishing. This detailed account will stand as both a warning and an inspiration to the thousands who put their words on paper with the hope of success. I’ve never read a more honest and compelling account of a real writer’s life."--Jim Heynen, author of Ordinary Sins and The Boys' House
"Michael Fedo is the happy possessor of a light touch, and it serves him well in this book-length accounting of what it is like to be a foot soldier in the grand army of the word. No MacArthur maybe, no Georgie Patton with pearl-handled revolvers on his hips—just a steady, hard-slogging GI Joe of a writer, putting in the hours, adding up the pages, polishing the prose."--Robert Lacy, author of I Remember Highway 80
“What’s it really like to be a writer? Michael Fedo parts the curtains for a hard-to-find, brutally honest look at the writing life–the hard work, the occasional successes, and the paychecks along the way. If writing is largely about risk, do you have what takes to be a writer? This book will help you decide.”--Will Weaver, author of Sweet Land and Memory Boy