12 Tips for Starting a Career as an Author

Writers and authors can get job experience by working for high school and college newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. College theater programs offer playwrights an opportunity to have their work performed.

Being a Professional Writer

Requirements for becoming an author

There are no requirements for becoming an author. There are no academic or degree requirements because authors come from a wide variety of fields and areas of interest and frequently have a wide range of educational backgrounds. The main requirement for becoming an author is writing.

However, you might also require education in that field if you want to write about a particular academic subject or if you want to become an authority in that field. Many authors begin by obtaining the education necessary to work in that field first, and then later in their careers decide to become authors.

What does an author do?

A writer who produces books, comics, poetry, short stories, plays, and other written works is called an author. Depending on your interests and abilities, you might choose to write in a few of these formats or you might choose to specialize in one. The work can be nonfiction or fiction, and it can be under 100,000 words long or several hundred words long. The majority of authors are self-employed and market their works either directly to readers or to publishers.

Tips for starting a career as an author

There are numerous ways to become an author, but the following 12 suggestions will help you get started:

1. Study writing

One can learn the craft of writing in a variety of ways, such as through a college degree, writers workshops, adult education courses, books, seminars, and other resources. The most crucial thing is to learn about writing, but the best path for each writer varies depending on your interests, time constraints, and priorities.

Even the most accomplished writers can develop their craft and pick up new skills. The most crucial writing skills to master include story structure, pacing, formatting guidelines, grammar and spelling, characterizations, and overall storytelling.

2. Read a lot

Those who write can learn a great deal through reading. Reading anything you’re interested in can help your writing, including books on writing. From what you read, you might learn some tricks or a style you like. Additionally, you might gain knowledge about a subject you want to write about. If you discover that you enjoy a particular format or genre, reading more of that writing will help you develop your own style. Additionally, you can determine which publishers sell more books than others, what genres or styles are popular.

3. Understand genre and format

Many authors specialize in writing one or two genres in one format, such as romance novelists, mystery novelists, or historical non-fiction authors, despite the fact that some authors work in a variety of formats and genres. Before you start, it’s helpful to decide what kind of story you want to tell and what format you want to tell it in. This will help with organizing your writing.

For instance, choosing the genre of your story might be simpler than choosing whether to tell it as a novel, graphic novel, or play. However, each of those formats requires a different writing style, so choosing first will save you time.

4. Consider part-time work

It can be difficult for many writers to have their first piece published, and sometimes the money they earn from their writing careers is insufficient to support them, especially in the beginning. Because of this, when they first start out, the majority of writers have either a part-time or full-time job. There are many reasons why some authors choose not to leave their day jobs, but there is no reason why you can’t work a day job and be an author at the same time.

However, writing part-time has its advantages because you can focus on honing your craft in shorter bursts while earning money in other ways to pay your bills. As you work on your writing, that can be a good way to learn about the industry if you’re interested in working in publishing.

5. Write as often as possible

Although it may not always be possible, it is best to write frequently as you learn and prepare for a career as an author. There are many advantages to this, such as the fact that it will help you develop as a writer, that you might write shorter or works that are simpler to sell initially to get established, and that you might discover that consistent writing is the best way to complete a writing project.

Finding the overall ideas may appear to be the most difficult aspect of writing at times, but writing itself can frequently be time-consuming and difficult. It might be more manageable to divide it into smaller portions on a daily or weekly basis. Additionally, writing regularly may help you become a faster writer, which will enable you to complete projects more quickly in the future.

6. Start small

Beginning your career as a writer with a multi-volume epic novel series with thousands of pages may seem intimidating, and it may be challenging to sell such a book series without any prior experience. Starting with smaller tasks is a great way to avoid this. You could start a blog, write short stories or articles, poetry, or a five-minute screenplay, among other things. There are many compact writing formats that are also simpler to publish, such as in anthologies or on your own website.

Starting small enables you to gain knowledge of some crucial writing elements in a more manageable size, such as pacing and formatting. If you share your work with the world and publish it, you build up your portfolio and give editors something to look at if you ever want to sell a longer piece. When you finish even shorter tasks, you might feel content, which might inspire you to work on longer ones.

7. Network

Being an author is no different from most professions in that networking can be beneficial. You might choose to take part in writing conferences or conventions, join online writing groups, or go to happy hours for publishing industry professionals. You could network with writers and other professionals in your field who could advance your career. Networking is a great way to find agents in your genre or format that others recommend. Many authors prefer to work with an agent.

Through writers groups and other networking opportunities, you can get to know other authors who you can learn from. Additionally, you might run into editors and other publishing industry professionals who might hire you or purchase your writing.

8. Edit yourself

Learning how to edit oneself is among the best abilities an author can acquire. No matter the format or length of your writing, you might frequently discover that editing it will improve it. Additional research may be necessary to master this ability, including reading books and taking classes.

9. Join a writing group

Writing groups are a fantastic way for writers to interact with one another and provide each other with feedback. Before you choose or start a writing group, consider what kind of group is the best fit for you because different writing groups have different formats and styles. There are groups where you meet in a common area to write silently, groups where you share your writing with other group members for criticism and guidance, and groups where you do both.

If you don’t know any writers or want to put in the effort to promote your group, you could start one if you can’t find one in your community. As an alternative, you could start an online writing group, which can be just as beneficial as a physical one but can reach a larger audience.

10. Find an agent

Although not all authors desire or need representation, an agent can be useful for a number of reasons. If you are a new author, they can assist you in contacting publishing houses that you might not otherwise be able to. Depending on the kind of agent they are, they can also give you editorial-style notes on how to improve your writing. However, agents can also assist you with navigating the legal issues associated with being an author, including checking your publisher contracts to ensure they are fair.

In order to find an agent for your nonfiction book, you typically only need a sample chapter or two and an outline, but most agents for fiction novels require that you have a finished manuscript before they will consider representing you. It’s best to conduct extensive research on the different kinds of agents, how agent deals operate, what they look for in potential clients, and how they can advance your career.

11. Review contracts carefully

Contracts are often a part of being an author. Whether you’re writing a trilogy of novels or a few short articles for a website or newspaper, most businesses you work with will require you to sign a contract before they will publish the work. This doesn’t imply that you must accept every contract as it is, but you typically want a contract in place before entrusting a business with selling your work on your behalf.

A lawyer or an agent can explain the terms of a publishing contract to you, and some authors work with both. Any legal document you sign should be understood, and a publishing contract is no exception. You should be aware of how you will be compensated, how long the business will retain the rights to your work, and what rights they will retain.

12. Save your ideas

If you want to pursue writing as a career, you probably won’t publish just one piece of writing. It’s beneficial to keep a journal or other document where you can write down ideas as they occur to you. Then, whenever you need inspiration for a project you’re working on now or one you want to start in the future, you can consult this document.

Accordingly, keep a notebook close to your bed if you have any good ideas in the middle of the night so you can write them down when you wake up. You could also keep a running list of ideas in your phone if you occasionally have good ones throughout the day. It’s beneficial to be as specific as you can when describing an idea, but occasionally, hazy concepts can inspire you to come up with something bigger in the future.

As many agents and publishers prefer to work with authors they can develop a long-term relationship with, this can be useful if you’re trying to land one. You can always look through your notebook if someone asks you about other project ideas you might have to see if there’s anything you feel is noteworthy to mention. Afterward, you can review your ideas to determine what to focus on next when it comes time to write that second article, book of poetry, short story, novel, or non-fiction book.

FAQ

Is becoming an author a good career?

Short answer: yes! However, in order to stand out from the sea of other aspiring online writers, it is necessary to possess very strong writing abilities. It also requires a lot of diligence, dependability, and humility.

Can you make a career as an author?

A writer career can mean more than just writing books. You could work in any niche market that needs writers, such as journalism, medicine, translation, or business plans. Being a freelancer means you can’t please everyone, especially in the beginning. So, you need to pick an area of focus.

What career field is an author?

Authors are professional writers who produce fiction, non-fiction, plays, comics, poetry, and short stories. There are well-known authors, but there are also unknown writers who are still able to support themselves through their writing.

How do you become a career author?

Five steps to become an author
  1. Educate yourself. Although a college education is not necessary to become an author, it can help you hone the fundamentals of writing.
  2. Build your writing skills. …
  3. Master your author skills. …
  4. Write your book. …
  5. Publish your book.

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