12 Tips for Starting a Career as an Author

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Sep 28th, 2023

starting a career as an author - featured image

The realm of authors stretches beyond mere words on a page; it’s a universe of creativity, narratives, and impact.

While the spectrum includes indie voices and hobbyist scribblers, there’s also a brigade that relies solely on writing to keep the lights on. A select elite even bask in the glow of their tales being adapted for the silver screen or TV. Ready to delve deeper into the author’s world? This article is your gateway. Ahead, you’ll uncover a dozen insights to kickstart your journey in the literary domain. Let’s embark on this adventure, shall we?

Decoding the Author’s Role

At its core, an author crafts myriad forms of content, be it books, journals, articles, comics, or verses. To embrace the ‘author’ title typically means having your creations see the light of publication. It’s akin to saying every square is a rectangle, but not vice versa. Your literary canvas could span fiction to fact, brief anecdotes to sprawling epics, and might grace physical shelves or digital screens. While some authors find sanctuary under the banners of academia, publishing houses, or media agencies, others chart their independent path, directly connecting with readers or navigating the publishing maze solo.

writing on a book

Should you study to become an author?

By all means! Many students study creative writing to acquire the skills needed to become published writers. The thing is that it may not be as easy as it seems. So, do not be afraid to turn to services that will provide you with writing and English assignment help.

What do you need to become an author?

There are no certain requirements to become an author. Authors can come from various fields and have different educational backgrounds. You can do it even if you don’t have a college degree. The most important thing is that you know how to write well. You may need to have a certain education if you plan to write on a specific topic or become an expert in a field. Many authors begin by getting the education necessary to work in their field and then become authors later in life. Think about doctors who authored medical books, and the like.

12 Tips to Help You in Starting a Career as an Author:

1. Study

There are many options to learn good writing: a college degree, online certificate programs, workshops, books, seminars, and adult education classes. Each writer’s path to success will vary depending on their interests, priorities, and time. However, the most important thing is to learn how to write well. Even the most skilled writers can learn new skills and improve their craft. Story structure, pacing, and rules for your format, grammar, spelling, and characterizations are some of the most important skills you can learn as a writer.

studying creative writing

Taking creative writing courses in high school, college, or even online programs would prove to be helpful if you’re aspiring to become an author.

2. Read, Read, Read

Reading is a great way to learn. This includes reading books about writing. You can read anything that interests you. What you read could help you discover new styles or tricks. It is also possible to learn more about the topic you are writing about. There must be a certain style or genre you enjoy, pursue it with passion! You may also research and discover what writing styles and genres are popular and which publications and publishing companies are currently hot.

3. Learn About Genres and Formats

Although there are many genres and formats for writers, most writers only focus on one or two. For example, romance novelists may also specialize in historical non-fiction or mystery novels. Before you write, it is important to decide what kind of story you want and in what format. Are you interested in horror stories? Fantasy and adventure? Courtroom drama? Knowing this will assist you in structuring your composition. It may be easier to choose the type of story, but it’s difficult to decide whether you want it to be a novel, graphic novel, play, or short story. There are many differences between how each format is written, so it is worth taking your time and deciding first.

4. Part-time Work is Possible

Many writers find it difficult to publish their first work. Sometimes, even after getting published, their income might not be enough to live on. Therefore, many writers work part-time jobs or full-time when they are just starting. For a variety of reasons, some writers choose not to quit their jobs. However, there is no reason you shouldn’t have a day job while being an author. Part-time writing is a good option. You can learn your craft in smaller bursts and still make money. Publishing can be a great way to learn as you write. Pro Tip: Write for websites that get a lot of traffic. Software review sites such as Truely are a good example. You won’t just showcase your writing chops while earning some bucks on the side; you will also get a chance to be noticed by businesses that visit the website and might have a job for you.

freelance writing

If you need to work part-time while working on your novels or poetry series, why not work as a freelance writer? There are a lot of opportunities in this field you can find on job boards such as Freelancer.com, Fiverr, and Upwork.

5. Write as Often as You Can

Although it may not be possible to write every single day, you can still learn and work towards a career as a writer. This has many benefits, including the ability to improve your storytelling skills. You may opt to write shorter prose that is easier to sell, just to kick-start your career as an author. The point is, that writing regularly boosts your stock as a writer. Writing can be tedious, difficult, and time-consuming. But you can make the process easier by breaking it down into smaller parts daily or weekly. You may also become a more efficient writer if you write frequently. This can help you produce work faster in the future.

6. Start Small

While fulfilling your dream of becoming an author of a multi-volume epic series with thousands of pages seems intimidating, it is even more daunting to sell your book if you are still unknown in the literary world. Begin with smaller projects, like starting a blog, writing short stories or articles, or creating poetry. You can also write a screenplay for a five-minute act. You’ll find it easier to publish short-format writings, such as an anthology or your website. Start small to get a better understanding of important writing elements, such as pacing, formatting, and organization. You can publish the work you create and add it to your resume. It is possible to feel satisfied if you do shorter pieces. This can encourage you to continue working on longer ones.

7. Network

Being an author requires networking. It is possible to join writing groups online and attend conventions or “happy hours” for publishing professionals. It’s a great way to meet other authors and professionals in your field who can help advance your career. Many authors prefer working with an agent. Networking is a great way to find agents in your genre and format that others recommend. You can also network with other authors and learn from them, such as through writing groups. You might also meet editors or other publishing professionals who could hire you, or even publish your work.

8. Take Control of Your Life

Editing your work is one of the most important skills an author can acquire. Sometimes, you may find that editing your writing helps you polish it, no matter how long it is or what format it may be. Developing this skill may require further studies, such as through books or special classes.

take control of your life

While your manuscript has to go through a professional editor before it gets published, you still need to learn how to refine your work. You can also get help from online editing apps.

9. Join a Writers’ Group

Authors can connect with others and exchange feedback through writers’ groups. There are many styles and formats for writers’ organizations. Before you create or choose a group, make sure you know what kind of organization you prefer. You can find groups that allow you to share your writing privately or with others for feedback and advice and those where you do both. If there isn’t a local writing group, you could create one. This is possible if you have any connections to other authors and want to share your group with others. You could also create an online group, which is just as useful as an in-person one but can reach more people.

10. Find an Agent

Although not all authors require or desire an agent, they can be very helpful for many reasons. Agents can help new authors reach publishing companies they thought might not be possible. Depending on what type of agents they are, they can help you improve your writing by providing editorial-style notes. Agents can also help you navigate legal issues associated with being an author. This includes reviewing contracts from publishers to ensure they are fair. Non-fiction authors often only need to submit a few chapters and an outline to get an agent. Fiction novel agents, however, will require a complete book to consider you. Do your research about the different agents, and how capable they are of finding you a book deal. Also, study what agents are looking for in a writer before you contact them.

11. Read and Review Contracts Carefully

Authorship is often associated with contracts. You will need to sign one before publishing your work, whether you are just writing short articles for a newspaper or website. While you don’t have to agree to every contract, it is important to have one in place before you turn over your work to a company. An agent should be able to help you understand the meaning of a publishing contract like a lawyer does. Some authors even have both an attorney and an agent. A publishing contract is no exception. It is important that you fully understand the legal terms. It is crucial to know how much they will pay you, how long they will retain rights over your work, and what rights you have in protecting your interest.

writing on journal

Keeping a journal handy whether in paper or digital form to record your thoughts and ideas is a good habit for aspiring authors. You never know when inspiration hits you. It could come from something you heard or witnessed while going about your day.

12. Keep Your Ideas Safe

You should keep a journal or a document you can refer to as you get ideas. It’s going to be like your idea bank, where you can pull out ideas for future projects. Keep a notebook by your bedside so no great ideas would go to waste. You might also keep a note on your smartphone in case inspiration hits you when you least expect it. Although it’s important to be specific about the idea you have, sometimes vague notions can later lead to a grand concept. This is also a great way to get an agent or publisher. An appointment or even a chance meeting with these people may lead to you getting asked about your ideas for a project that is worth publishing. Your notes would come in handy on these occasions. You can also look into your idea bank and decide what to focus on next when you are ready to write the second article, poetry, short story, novel, or nonfiction book.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelance writer, editor, and content manager with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient writer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for writers, digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Dive into my journey here, and don't miss out on my free PDF guide 80+ AI marketing tools.