Why I Wrote It: Epic Resume Go!

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Epic Resume Go! is my book on creating a great resume, focusing on a “storytelling” style – making a resume fun to make (as a kind of narrative media) and interesting to readers. It’s origins illustrate just how an idea can develop – in this case, over a decade.

The origins of Epic Resume Go stretch back about twenty years. I was reading some article in a local employment newspaper (think of it as “Dice.com” before the internet was the job search place) about resumes. The article noted that you wanted to make your skills and experience apparent.

That lovely little article kicked off my interest in making good resumes. Over time I polished my method of making resumes, and got good results from them – people liked them. A person interviewing me for a job mentioned I’d covered everything, that I told a good story. That’s when it struck me – I was telling a tale.

It was pretty obvious in retrospect. I had an introduction (setting a scene), skills (showing what I can do), a history (like a backstory), and bits like hobbies that showed me as a person. It showed who I was and where I was going – and that bit of feedback helped me further perfect my method.

As life went on, I found myself giving people advice on resumes. This meant I was learning more, but also I kept giving the same feedback. So why not a book?

Writing the book was pretty easy, since I already had a system, I just had to give it structure. Thus Epic Resume Go! was born – the idea was to make it an exciting title evoking things like Sentai and anime. Because I’m a nerd.

I also paired the book with speaking at cons and developing handouts. This helped people out more – but also it meant I now had several things to send people who needed advice. Sometimes reading my stuff was far more productive than letting me ramble.

I even rewrote the book later, wanting to make it clearer and more up to date. Surprisingly, little changed – mostly you had to sync it with your other social media.

If there’s a lesson to take away from Epic Resume Go! it’s that we probably all have something very useful to share that should be in book form. Maybe for friends, maybe for a limited audience, maybe for the world. So why not go for it?

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It: Fan To Pro

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Ah, Fan To Pro. My attempts to give people advice on how to use their fandom in their careers. The first book I wrote — and the first book I rewrote.

Let’s ask just how it came to be, so we can share our stories of why we make books.

Fan To Pro didn’t start as a book. Or sort of did.

Fan To Pro’s origins go back to 2005 and 2006. Several friends and I kept discussing just how much talent there was in fandom. We wondered how we could support people, especially those wanting to use that in their careers. Our solutions were simple: we weren’t sure.

For a while, a friend and I considered a book, but we weren’t sure what to do. How do you take “hey, you could do this for a living” and make a book out of it? It went nowhere.

What did happen was we created a blog, now closed, called Fan To Pro (later MuseHack). This got us into blogging about careers and career news and introduced us to a range of similar people.

At the same time, I called upon my nascent coaching skills and began presenting about careers at conventions. I spoke on general career advice and brainstorming, and the act of speaking helped me mine my knowledge. This was around 2007-2009, after over a decade in my career, and I had a lot to share.

I also was always working on improving myself. I’d go to professional meetups, get training, and read books. I got exposed to the world of coaching and career books, and that led to a realization.

Why not share my geeky career advice from my point of view. Take what I’d learned and seen over the years and collate it into a book. I already had plenty of presentations and experience, after all.

This was an important lesson. I hadn’t realized what I knew or what I could share until I’d tried. Sometimes we don’t know what we know until we share it.

All my friends and family were supportive, so I got down and wrote my book. Also, they were kind of surprised it took me that long to realize my skills.

The first Fan To Pro was kind of mediocre. I mean, there was good advice, but it had an awful cover, some odd formatting, and there were a few things I missed. But I did get the book done, and I had a starting point.

There are some things where you have to do something and move on to see where you are.

But I wasn’t done. After a few years, I realized I had learned a lot, and it was time to rewrite the book. I sat down, got a professional artist, and revised the heck out of it.

The results were much better. I’m proud I wrote the first book, but I’m proud of the second book. I improved the style, added more information, shared my lessons, and organized it better. It was a far better book.

It also felt like I’d “gotten it all out.” I had shared more lessons, gone into more depth, and connected better with the audience. The book feels complete

Will I ever rewrite it again? I don’t know. I wrote it at a time in my life where it feels like a “got” the big picture. As my career continues, as I age, as the economy changes, I worry my more recent experiences are less applicable. Bluntly, I’d be afraid to screw it up.

But who knows – I never thought I’d do a book at one point in my life . . .

Steven Savage

Why I Wrote It: Sex and Worldbuilding

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I’ve decided to take the time to discuss just why I’ve written some of my books. I figure every week or every other week I’ll talk about just what I did, why I did it, and what I learned.

Sex and Worldbuilding was my first “Minibook” in the Way With Worlds series. It originated in a series of interesting events.

The story of my Way With World minibooks is complicated. They originated with an idea of doing small books on specific subjects to tie into the core books. They would be almost supplements, exploring a few areas I wanted to help people with more, using a coaching approach. Then I found people really liked them and I liked writing them, and a quick exploration became it’s own project.

But let’s talk the first book, Sex and Worldbuilding, and why I wrote it. That is pretty simple.

  • Fictional worlds often were very un-creative about sex, merely mapping existing cultures, ideas, and biologies to an imaginary setting.
  • Too much writing about sex in fictional world ignored what it was and how it could touch on every aspect of life. Weddings, child-rearing, contraception, all come into play once you start thinking about sex and reproduction.
  • A lot of discussion on sex in fiction didn’t focus on worldbuilding.
  • We get embarrassed talking about sex.

This set the stage for what I wanted to write. I would need to cover a broad amount of things like marriage and gestation. I would also need to make it less embarrassing or prurient.

In short, I had to write about sex, reproduction, and culture and make it really calm, rational, and even boring. I realized that if I didn’t do this, people would see “sex” not “worldbuilding.” Setting that tone early helped me write a good book.

At that point, it was pretty easy to come up with the proper coaching questions: I looked at important areas to discuss about sex and reproduction, and areas that were often ignored. This let me get a pretty good amount of questions and produce a good book.

This is really one of my prides as a book. I covered a lot of important areas, I did it in a tone that didn’t distract, and I helped people out.

But really, it all goes back to finding the way to discuss an important subject and focus on often ignored issues.

Steven Savage