How to Become an Author

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An author is a writer who expresses original thoughts in any published form, including books, newspaper articles, magazine articles, educational textbooks, or blogs. Becoming an author is a very simple process, but authors who want to earn a comfortable living may have a difficult time finding steady work that helps them to support themselves right away. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that only 9,500 jobs for authors are expected to be added to the U.S. economy by 2020.[1]


Flickr: San Jose Library
Education Bachelor's degree[1]
Starting pay $28,610[2]
Median pay $55,420[2]
10 yr growth Slower than average[1]
Related professions Copy editor, editor, speech writer
Author Selena Robinson

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Author Job Overview

An author may write fiction or non-fiction works. For example, some authors focus on writing fiction, creating stories in genres such as fantasy, science fiction, children's literature, mystery, or adventure. Other authors prefer to write non-fiction books and articles, interviewing subjects to compose memoirs, reports, and biographies.[3] If an author is self-employed, he or she has creative freedom to decide what topics to write about. On the other hand, authors who are employed by newspapers, magazines, or websites may be assigned to cover specific stories or subjects.[4]

Authors who are interested in writing books typically try to sell their completed works to a publishing house. This involves obtaining an ISBN number for the book and then marketing it to established publishers.[5] Since competition for these book deals is tough, some writers decide to self-publish their books by making them available for e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle.[6]

Author Education

No specific education is required to become an author. Some people become published writers without ever finishing high school or college. However, many authors decide to attend college and major in English or a writing program such as journalism or literature. During these years, they receive valuable education about the proper use of the English language, the creative writing process, and the best way to compose a story.[7] Some students decide to take a few courses in marketing, so that they can promote their finished work effectively.[8]

Author Training

While it is not necessary for authors to receive training, doing so can help them advance their careers more quickly. During college, English or literature students may participate in internships at publishing companies. This experience helps them to contact people in the publishing industry who may be interested in helping them publish their work later on.[7]

Attending writing classes or workshops can also be helpful for authors. These events give writers an opportunity to have their work critiqued by fellow authors and editors, which helps them to see how to improve the quality of their writing.[8]

Becoming an Author

A professional author talks about how to become an author

Also See: How to Become an Editor, How to Become a Copy Editor, How to Become a Speech Writer, How to Become a Ghostwriter


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