Ever audition for anything? If you’re a musical artist, perhaps you’ve auditioned for an orchestra, a band, a choir, or some other venue. Perhaps as a visual artist, you’ve auditioned for illustration, animation, or Web design work. Or maybe you’re an actor who regularly makes the rounds of auditions for plays, commercials, or movie gigs.


Writers, especially freelance writers, also have to audition. Like for work-for-hire gigs. That’s what I’ve been doing a lot lately. (Querying an agent or publisher about a manuscript is another form of auditioning. Been there, done that recently, too.)

If you’re unclear about the notion of work-for-hire projects in the book publishing world (and I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows all about it), in general, this is a contract you sign for a project that nets you a one-time fee, rather than an advance on a royalty. For example, fiction, nonfiction, ghostwriting—you name it. Some work-for-hire projects (but not all, mind you) have led to others that paid an advance. This happened to me awhile ago when I co-wrote a book with a friend. (Another post on someone who auditioned for a writing project can be found here.)


Um, this is not exactly what I mean.
But I couldn’t resist posting this picture.

Even though someone recommended me as a possible book writer or regular article contributor, and I have experience in, say, writing books for kids ages 4–8, I still had to audition by submitting a writing sample to the editor or project manager working for a publishing house or book packager. This is a very humbling process. I have much more respect now for actors, illustrators, and musicians who go through many, many auditions. Which means they might hear “no” a lot. But you have to wade through a lot of “no’s” before you get to the yeses.

After two of my latest auditions, I was told, “Submit a rewrite.” Sounds promising, right? I have a second chance to make good. Perhaps the rewrite phase can be compared to an acting “callback.” I burned the midnight oil to finish two rewrites. Which is why I didn’t post on Monday.

Preparing for other auditions (writing, querying) is the best way I know to pass the time as I wait for the results of other “callbacks.” Well, it beats my usual coping mechanism: consuming mass quantities of chocolate.


Does taking on a work-for-hire project mean I’ve given up on the projects I’ve initiated? Nope. But it is a way to gain an income and continue doing what I enjoy doing: writing.

For what, if anything, have you auditioned?

For what, if anything, are you waiting these days?

Audition sign from Work-for-hire sign from Pinterest. Callback sign from

40 thoughts on “Auditions

  1. I’ll be praying for you, L. Marie. I can’t think of anything that I’m waiting on right now, but I am working on book two. Once that’s finished, I suppose I’ll be in the waiting room. 🙂

  2. Good luck. Outside of job interviews and submitting queries, I haven’t done any auditions. Never really tried anything that would require it. Honestly, author auditions sound harder than the others for some reason. Maybe because I assume musicians and actors can win with personality and presence. Harder to do that when you’re not in the room.

  3. I auditioned for the part of the Grouch in Green Eggs & Ham. At first the directors wanted me to be The Cat in the Hat (they thought I was too happy to be a Grouch); but I channeled my inner Grouch for them and got the part!

    More recently, I auditioned for a play at the Island Players on AMI. The director said I was “too young” for the part . . . even though the character’s age was OLDER than I am in real life. I took that as a compliment since he cast a “gray hair” for the role.

    Good luck with your callbacks!

    • Thank you! The fact that you’re considered too happy to be a Grouch is awesome, Nancy! Even more awesome is the fact that you got the part! Congratulations on that! Sorry about the other part. But how cool that you’re too young to play someone older! 😉

  4. After reading this post I realize your life is not a quiet river but a permanent fight .
    ” Those who live are those who fight for a just cause ” Victor Hugo said .
    I wish you courage.,Linda
    In friendship

  5. Talk about HUMBLE PIE! I recently auditioned to read the audio book for my latest novel. I had a theater background, and I thought, Why not? Why not is that there are thousands of professional level Audio Actors out there, and they really know their business! In the end, I got to choose from three finalists–each one, thirty thousand times better than I was! 🙂

  6. Good luck with your audition/call back, L. Marie. Submit a rewrite sounds encouraging, but, I’ve never been in your shoes.
    Does running for a local, public office count as auditioning?

  7. I’ve managed to get all of my writing gigs based on samples. I auditioned once for a YA nonfiction gig and didn’t get it; I found out later I was VERY far off the mark. A member of my former critique group who has published a half dozen picture books under her own name auditioned for multiple write-for-hires for early readers and came in well behind the pack every time. She also put a huge amount of effort into the audition, so that put me off trying. The problem with me is that I don’t read minds well, so it’s hard to give editors what they’re looking for unless I can see examples that I can imitate.

    • I know what you mean. It is hard, since publishing is such a subjective business. I’ve missed out on some nonfiction book projects too. Fiction seems even harder.

  8. Good luck, L Marie – hope you get the gig! My only experience of auditioning is job interviews, and I don’t really mind them so long as they’re just the sitting talking kind. But quite often people will ask for a presentation – usually on a subject I know nothing about, so have to research from scratch – and I find that deeply nerve-wracking. I try to comfort myself with the thought that every other candidate will be in the same boat, but it doesn’t make me feel any more confident…

    • Thank you! 🙂
      A presentation? I would run screaming from the room. At least you consider that you’re not the only one having to do the presentation. That’s a good way to look at it. But I would probably throw something, then scream, “Look over there!” and run, thus getting myself out of having to present anything.

  9. Once upon a time, I ‘auditioned’ for some magazines. The results weren’t what I hoped for. I didn’t want to wade through many no’s to get my yeses , so I started a blog 🙂

    I wish you Godspeed on your projects. If they take you away from blogging for a bit, I think it is well worth the sacrifice.

  10. I don’t like work-for-hire. >.> Not because I’m royalty-greedy (or expectant, for that matter). Because I don’t like having my writing style policed. 😛 I’m glad you enjoy it, though, or at least are willing to stick it out. If my circumstances were different, I’d likely look for as many work-for-hire projects as possible. It’s one of my back-up plans for if something happens to Beloved. I hope you get enough of both work-for-hire and royalties to be comfortable. 🙂

    • Thank you, ReGi. I already heard a yes from one, so I’m still waiting on the others. 🙂 It keeps me busy. Otherwise, I’d spend my free time playing Pokémon GO, instead of earning money to put food on the table.

  11. I’d forgotten about the high school play until I read Nancy’s comment. I must have done okay because I got the lead. It was a mystery, The Night of January Sixteenth. I remember having to beat on someone’s chest. Still, every once in a while I have a nightmare about having forgotten to memorize my lines.

    In recent years I’ve done lots of “auditions” to get short stories accepted and then to get an agent for my first novel. The long waits and the rejections are certainly not easy.

  12. Pingback: The View in the Darkness | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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