I signed my first book deal when I was working part time in the basement of a UPS store. It was for a novella I wrote a while back when I was a bookseller at a Barnes and Noble in Montana. At the time I was fresh out of college, and knew I wanted to become a writer. However, unlike other careers, simply writing author as an occupation does not guarantee a paycheck; and when I was compensated—usually via PayPal, the payments could be as little as $20 or a free contribution of an anthology. While it was discouraging at the time, the lessons I learned the first few months out of school have become invaluable to my career and I would like to share them with you.