How to Become an Author

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


There are millions of books, articles, and other written works around the world. Written publications provide people with information, education, entertainment, ideas, and much more. Highly skilled professionals are essential to create and publish written work; this is the job of authors.

What does an author do?

An author is someone who creates an original piece of written work for a book, article, magazine, journal, company newsletter, advertisement, online publication, motion picture, radio and television broadcast, and other publications. They produce a broad variety of written materials that are presented to a target audience in an increasing variety of ways. They create content using a variety of multimedia formats. Authors’ works are generally classified as fiction or nonfiction.

Authors often work with editors and publishers throughout the process of writing to review topics, edits, and schedules of production. Authors typically conduct the research on their topics through interviews, library and Internet research, and personal observation.

What kind of training does an author need?

Authors typically need a college degree and writing experience. Some employers prefer a broad background in liberal arts. Other employers seek individuals who have bachelor degrees in English, journalism, or communications. Authors who specialize in a specific area should have a strong background in that particular area. Many aspiring authors interview well-known authors for advice and encouragement. Others may write for their school newspaper or other volunteer work to gain experience before starting their career. Many authors also regularly attend conferences and seminars for writing styles and ideas.

What are the prospects for a career as an author?

Employment of authors is projected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations, increasing 10% through 2016 (1).

Job prospects are expected be favorable and will be the best for authors with training in a specialized field. Demand for authors with expertise in areas such as medicine, law, or economics is projected to increase due to the on-going expansion of technical and scientific information that needs to be communicated to the public. Some job opportunities will also arise to replace people retiring, transferring to another field, or leaving the field for other reasons.

How much do authors make?

As of 2012, authors with less than 1 year experience earn annual salaries around $40,000. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn annual salaries around $41,419 and those with 5 to 9 years experience earn around $53,638 a year (2).

A career as an author is a great choice for individuals who have a passion for writing and can express their ideas logically and clearly. Perseverance, creativity, self-motivation, a broad range of knowledge, and curiosity are also valuable qualities of authors. Authors must also demonstrate a strong sense of ethics and good judgment in making the decision of what material to publish. Working under pressure and having the ability to effectively concentrate are also essential.

Becoming an Author Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Want to know what the 10 top liberal arts schools are?

Are you serious about becoming an Author? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Course Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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