Writing a book in addition to becoming an author is something that many people aspire to do, but it isn’t an easy career. However, it can be incredibly fulfilling, as you’ll have the chance to get your ideas out into the world and change people’s lives.
Table of contents
- Types of authors
- How to become an author
- The importance of networking with other writers, editors and more
- Expert tip: Build your platform before trying to get published
- How do I start my career as an author?
- How much money can an author make per book?
- Is it hard to be an author?
- Can I be an author with no experience?
- Related articles on being an author
- You can become an author!
Based on popular questions about authors, this guide will: Explain how to become an author, how to get your book published, and even the usual amount of money writers make.
Before learning how to become an author of a book, you need to decide what type of things you’ll write. Here are some examples.
Fiction books are usually stories that are made up. It isn’t true, and it’s generally for entertainment. Many people enjoy reading fiction as a fun escape from the day-to-day or to follow a great story.
There are many types of fiction authors; Examples include romance, science fiction, adventure, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy, etc. Fiction books are usually written as novels or short stories compiled into a book.
Poems are pieces of writing that follow a pattern and sometimes, though not always, rhyme. They usually require thought to decipher as their meanings may not be very straightforward.
A poet writes poetry, and some poets have gone on to write whole books of their poetry, though you may also write a short piece of poetry.
Academic writing is very straightforward and wants to teach the readers something by using facts. It is simply to describe and help people understand, making it very different from poetry or novels. Examples include textbooks and research books.
Non-fiction is writing that is true. It can be about someone’s life or a specific topic. There are several different forms of non-fiction; here are some popular ones.
A biography recalls the events of someone’s life. It is written by someone other than the person described in the book. You can write a biography about anyone, but often they are written about famous people.
An autobiography is a similar piece of writing. It’s a biography but written by the person described in the book. It discusses their point of view about their own life.
This is a topic that you can write a book about. A book about business may discuss how to start your own business, tips about running a company, or some other aspect of this subject.
A self-help book gives advice to the reader about how to better themselves. They can discuss various topics about life, such as relationships or mindsets.
A finance book talks about money. Things like investing, budgeting, or coming up with a financial plan are all things you could discuss in a finance book.
Are you ready to start writing and focus on becoming an author? Here are some tips that can help you get started.
1. Develop an author mindset
Whether you want to publish an audiobook, or a written book or both, it’s essential to have the right attitude when you’re working on a big project. You’ll need to develop patience, as taking on something like this may have challenges and require you to stay determined even when it’s complicated.
To develop a good author mindset, decide in advance how you will react to problems.
It’s likely you’ll encounter problems along the way, from finding an agent to finishing that last chapter of writing.
To be successful author, you need to determine ahead of time that you will remain positive, that you won’t quit, and that you will lean on your support system if needed. We’ll talk about all this in more detail soon.
2. Learn the skills you need
There are specific skills you need to be a good writer. You don’t have to be perfect at writing right away, as it takes time, but practicing your skills is essential to use them when writing your book.
These skills are, of course, writing, but also research and editing. Research skills are also necessary when writing a book. You must know how to find the information you need by searching sources online, in print, or by talking with people if it requires a first-hand account of the story.
Editing is also important. After you write, you should look back over it and make changes. This may start with spelling and grammar but also includes tone and the structure of your writing.
So, what’s the best way to learn these essential skills? Well, there are actually several ways!
There are lots of free writing courses available online that will help you master your craft. Aside from improving your skills, courses are an effective way to help you build confidence in your work and network with other writers. During your course, ask for feedback from your peers to improve your writing skills quickly.
Reading is a great way to develop your writing repertoire and increase your vocabulary. Try reading different types of content such as academic journals to expand your knowledge. There are some fantastic books you can leverage for new authors!
Set time aside each day to write down your ideas. Writing regularly is an essential part of finding your own style and voice as a writer. Also, the more you write, the more likely it is that you will get noticed. As with most things, you will see an improvement if you do something every day.
3. Write blog posts or articles first
Writing articles or blog posts is a valuable way to start your writing career. Think of it like a much-needed practice run.
You’ll pick up critical writing and editing skills and start to establish yourself as an author. Learning these skills too late could be costly and time-consuming if you dive straight into book writing. Blogs and articles also take a lot less time than writing a novel, so you’ll be able to improve quickly.
Need more reasons to consider writing blog posts or articles? They are also a great way to build a reader base, ready for when you decide to publish your first book!
4. Set a schedule
Even though it might be challenging to get into a routine, becoming an author requires setting a schedule for your writing.
Aim for the same time every day or for a set number of hours per day or week. Plan this time in advance, and don’t let anything interrupt your writing time.
Some people prefer to write first thing in the morning when their house is quiet, or they’re most alert. Others may find that it makes more sense for them to write after work or in the evening.
Do what works for you. Just ensure you’re hitting the number of hours of writing you want.
5. Be disciplined
Setting a schedule and figuring out how to become an author is the easy part. Continuing to write requires discipline, even when it’s difficult.
You can do this by setting agreements with yourself (“I will write for one hour every day”) and then sticking to it.
You might even start this on a smaller scale, say, writing for five minutes a day and then building up to more significant commitments.
6. Pursue creativity
When you want to become an author, it’s important to stay inspired. Try to do this by thinking in new ways, writing in different places, or hearing others’ life experiences.
You should look for ways to be creative in your writing and know that some days you may feel more creative than others. But if you keep looking for inspiration, you’ll find it over time.
You may find that you feel inspired in certain places or after reading a great book or seeing an interesting movie. Find what makes you feel creative, and try to add more of it into your life.
7. Write your first book
After you’ve set a schedule, been disciplined, looked for creativity, and gained some experience writing, learning how to become an author becomes easier. You’re finally ready to write your first book!
Writing a book is a massive task requiring much effort and time. But here are a couple of steps you can follow.
- Outline your book
- Write the first rough draft
Doing these two things are the best place to start. You can write your outline by deciding on the setting and characters and then writing some details of what will happen in each chapter. You’ll also need to do research to make sure your facts are accurate.
After outlining, you can write your rough draft. Remember, they call it a rough draft for a reason – it doesn’t need to be perfect. Just get your ideas out there, and then you can move to the next step.
To be a successful writer, you need to be able to set deadlines and stick to them. Otherwise, you may just find your book takes a lot longer to complete than it should, or that it doesn’t get finished at all.
Deadlines are not purely for your publisher’s benefit either. Having an end target will also help keep you focused and motivated and allow you to manage your workload more efficiently.
Once you’ve got a completion date, you’ll be able to set smaller goals that will help you meet the ultimate one.
9. Edit your first book
After you write your first draft of your book, you’ll need to edit your work. Editing can really improve the quality of your writing, so feel free to edit and then edit again.
Editing your book is essentially going over what you’ve written to fix errors, improve, expand or reduce content and essentially create a body of work you are proud of.
You could also outsource your editing process if you feel you need some extra guidance.
A developmental editor could be a great person to provide feedback. They essentially go over the structure and direction of your book and highlight gaps or suggestions to help you improve it.
10. Get feedback from the right people
When you’ve written your book and edited it, you can then get some feedback on your book.
Get honest and constructive feedback from friends and also people in the literary world, if you know anyone. Ideally, you want to understand what they felt reading your book if they found it interesting or if it took them a while to read if they enjoyed the flow, etc.
After this, you can edit your writing again(or work with an editor), taking anything new you’ve learned into account.
11. Get your book published
Now for the exciting part, getting your book published! There are a few steps involved in this process.
First, you need to get an agent for your book. Your agent will represent you as you get your book published.
You should first research to find a literary agent that will be a good fit for you and your book. You can do this by searching for the agent for books that you own, or you can also look online.
When you find the right person, submit a query letter. Your query letter is a short letter to the agent explaining your book idea and a bit about you. You should definitely practice writing query letters before sending them out to agents.
Your query letter should be interesting and get an agent to notice your book. After that, they may request to read your book and then could accept it. It’s a process, so be patient.
Your agent will then help you find a publisher for your work. Then they’ll help you negotiate a deal with a publisher. This is a huge step in how to become an author of a book.
If you want to go the alternate route, you can self-publish. Some people want to do this because they get to keep more of the royalties. If you choose to do this, you can use a self-publishing company.
12. Start marketing your book
Although publishing houses have marketers, you will still need to promote your book. And this is especially true if you choose to self-publish.
Make sure your website is up to date, and you can create a strategy to let your social media followers know about your book.
You must advertise consistently because you need sales for your book to be a success, so don’t skip this step. As a rule of thumb, if you sell 5,000 copies or more in a week from diverse sources, your book will be considered a bestseller.
The importance of networking with other writers, editors and more
As a writer, you will likely spend most of your time by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should turn down opportunities to be social.
Networking with other people in your profession has so many benefits for authors. It can help you:
Connecting with professionals in your industry is a proven way to find work. Make your expertise and areas of specialism known when you start building relationships so you will be remembered. The more you connect, the more opportunities may be put your way.
You never know who you might meet at a networking event. Most likely, you’ll bump into someone with enviable experience that you can learn from and grow. Or maybe somebody that knows the right person to talk to to get your book in front of the right people. Industry events are also excellent places to hang out and find out all the current trends and best practices.
Need inspiration to finish your current writing project? Meeting other successful writers is a guaranteed way to fast track you towards smashing your own goals. It’s a pleasure to see others do well, and even more so when it motivates you to follow in their footsteps.
Now you know the benefits of networking, you may be wondering how do actually do it. Well, it’s actually easier and less scary than you might think. Start by attending writing conferences to make valuable connections and learn something new. Use your social media platforms to your advantage by following industry pages and maintaining a regular presence with your own followers.
Expert tip: Build your platform before trying to get publishedPublishers like authors that have an established platform in place by the time the book is ready to be introduced to the world.
So, you want to be an author? Invest time to interact and connect with your future readers via social media, blog posts and your website. Encourage them to share their views and build a community that readers will want to be a part of. You could even publish short pieces of your writing to give your audience a taste of what’s to come in your novel.
Not only will publishing houses be impressed with your efforts, but you’ll have a pre-made platform that you can instantly start marketing your books on!
The first step to becoming an author is choosing what you want to write about. Maybe you have a unique hobby or are particularly passionate about something? These would be great places to start for inspiration.
Generally, writers that specialize in certain topics will find it easier to make a name for themselves and find more work. If you want to write about something that needs education such as medical writing, it’s a good idea to get the training that you need before beginning to write.
When you start your career as an author, remember that to get regular, published work requires time and patience. Many authors start writing as a side hustle in their spare time until it replaces their main job. So, start small but dream big! You’ll get there!
While you probably decided to write a book because you had a great idea or something to say, you still need to make a profit for it to be worth your time and effort.
The amounts you can make from a book vary and depend on several factors such your chosen publishing route and royalty terms with your publisher/publishing platform. Other factors affecting authors income include:
- Revenue per sale
- Audience size
- Genre of book
- Market size
- Editing costs
That said, the average author can expect to earn about $41,000 a year.
For authors with traditional publishers, typically, you’ll make between 5 to 25% of royalties, but self-publishers can make as much as 70%. You may also find that you receive a higher percentage of royalties for hardbacks (typically 10%) compared to paperbacks (7.5%).
That said, when it comes to author earnings, it’s very important that you negotiate any book contracts or publishing terms. Learn more about how authors get paid.
Authors can also supplement their income with their book’s content. For example, by offering consulting or taking pre-sales if you’re writing a series of books.
Ultimately, there are lots of variables that will affect how much you earn per book as an author. We all hope to make as much as Stephen King, and that’s certainly possible with hard work and years of practice but don’t expect to earn a six figure salary when you are starting out.
Yes, we won’t lie and say it’s easily achievable when it takes hard work, dedication and lots of time. But oh, the rewards….
Seeing your name published is a feeling that’s hard to beat.
Here are some common challenges that most authors face and how to overcome them.
When you work from home, you’re constantly faced with both online and offline temptations that prevent you from writing. Whether it’s social media, your pets or online shopping that stop you in your tracks, everyone is faced with distractions. Put your phone away during your writing sessions and schedule them when the kids are asleep so that you can be your most productive.
Even the most experienced writers face times when they can’t decide what to write. The best way to overcome it is by doing something else. You could read a book or go out for a walk. Putting your mind to something else is enough to refocus your efforts.
Unfortunately, having your hard work rejected is part of being an author. It can be soul-destroying and make you want to give up, but the important thing is to keep going. Look at alternative routes such as self-publishing or approach a different publishing house. Never give up on something you believe in.
Absolutely, you can! Every author has to start somewhere. The important thing is that you start as soon as you’ve decided it’s what you want to do. And one of the best things about a career in writing is that your age doesn’t matter! Did you know that Millard Kaufman was 90 years old when his first novel, Bowl of Cherries, was published?
Taking a course in writing is a great way to get started, but the best way is just to start writing professionally. You won’t get it 100% right the first time, but that’s how you will learn and grow your craft.
All you need are the creative skills needed to write, a positive mindset and a willingness to learn. With those three things, anyone can do it and before you know it, your first book will be published.
You’ve published your first book! What do you do now that you’ve learned how to become an author?
First of all, celebrate! A book is a huge accomplishment. After all, writing a book can generally take between ½ a year and a whole year to write. So take a little time off and enjoy the fact that you created something that others can now purchase and read.
After you celebrate, it’s time to figure out what to do next. You may take some time off writing to work on other projects. If your book did well or you have another idea, you may choose to write a second book.
Whatever you do, continue to promote your first book as you figure out your next step.
Thinking of writing a book? Check out these related articles.
You can become an author!
Even if you’ve never written so much as a page before, you can learn how to become an author with time and practice.
If there’s a story you want to tell and you can train yourself to be disciplined and patient, you will be able to achieve this dream. And you can use this guide on how to become an author of a book to help you on your journey.
To find out more about writing your first book, read our article on key tips for first-time authors.