Authors convey emotions and impart knowledge using words, turning ideas and concepts into creative pieces. There are as many types of Authors as there are types of written content. Some will specialize in more scientific work, writing essays or articles in which they share their observations, analyses, and, sometimes, opinions.
However, what most Authors do is write stories, whether they are purely fictional or based on true events. These stories are classified by genre and can be published in different formats, such as books, plays, and movie or television scripts. Nowadays, there are even Authors specialized in creating content for online audiences, most commonly referred to as “Bloggers”.
Authors try to serve an audience that is interested in what they write; therefore, they always care about their readers’ thoughts since it is a way to improve, develop, or adapt their work.
An Author’s work is mostly contract-based, meaning these freelancers often face different assignments and must sometimes handle multiple projects at the same time. Understandably, this doesn’t apply to more established Authors, who instead focus all their resources and efforts on a single project.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Authors are required to complete.
- Outlining the key points and main themes they wish to discuss:
- Drafting a brief description of the characters, their traits, and aspirations, if any; and
- writing down the major events that will be part of the plot or important ideas that will give structure to the essay.
- Adhering to the styles and themes of editors and publishers.
- Researching any factual information that might be included in their work, whether it is the story’s setting or arguments that will illustrate their position on a certain topic.
- Coordinating or participating in brainstorming sessions.
- Crafting original stories or adapting existing ones for them to be released on other platforms:
- Summarizing the information and choosing which events should be included or discarded;
- giving credit to Authors when quoting or using their material;
- avoiding plagiarism at all costs; and
- transforming descriptive paragraphs into stage directions.
- Proofreading every piece to guarantee they’re error-free.
- Submitting every piece to the Editor, seeking out feedback and approval, modifying and editing the material accordingly.
- Ensuring deadlines are met.
- Following all laws, regulations, restrictions, and work ethic standards established by the business.
- Choosing a subject matter that will interest readers.
- Researching any factual information that might be included in their work to ensure its authenticity and credibility.
- Writing fiction or non-fiction in the form of scripts, novels, and essays.
- Writing articles, columns, or features for newspapers or magazines.
- Presenting drafts to Editors and clients for feedback and approval.
- Making any required adjustment for their work to be published.
The average salary for Author related jobs is $45,702 per year or $23 per hour. This is around 1.6 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $32,000 while most experienced workers make up to $64,000. These results are based on 805 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent computer skills and high levels of adaptability:
- Being proficient in word processing programs and editing tools.
- Strong grasp of the language, grammar structures, narrative structure, and copy-editing.
- Outstanding creativity:
- Being able to create stories from scratch, including plot and characters.
- Impeccable interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially in writing, in order to put their ideas into words; and
- being able to convey emotions and impart knowledge through their texts, in a way their readers can identify with the stories they craft.
- Great sense of observation, attention to detail, and high levels of thoroughness:
- Having outstanding proofreading and editing skills so as to accurately and efficiently review creative documents.
- High levels of determination and self-discipline.
- Strong organizational and time management skills:
- Being able to comply with established deadlines.
- Perseverant, patient, self-motivated, and resilient as some of their work may take a lot of time to come to light and is usually subjected to criticism.
Being an Author or a Writer implies a great deal of research, in order for them to communicate information in the most exact way possible. They must also be able to connect with their readers on an emotional level. Doing so will also allow them to get proper recognition for their work from both Editors and readers.
Creativity and impeccable writing skills are what prevails in this profession, educational requirements being of little importance. However, degrees and diplomas in Literature and other related fields are great ways for aspiring Authors to perfect their skills, develop their style, and get a better understanding of the industry’s standards. Getting a degree may help candidates secure contracts, but what will truly make them stand out is having an excellent work ethic, and a strong and diverse portfolio.
Although not obligatory, Authors, just as Writers, may obtain certifications from important organizations as a way to demonstrate and support their skills. The American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) is only one of many institutions available that offers writing certificates, in this case, the Certified Grant Writer credential.
As for experience, Authors may earn some through internships, volunteering, or blogging, where they will learn to deal with editorial requirements. Being a Ghostwriter is also a great way for beginners to improve their writing skills and expand their portfolio, although it doesn’t give them any form of public recognition, as a Ghostwriter’s work is always published under someone else’s name.
There is a wide gap between established Authors and those who aren’t. Understandably, recognition comes with better work conditions and a higher income, something most Authors can’t afford at first. Their workflow relies solely on the number of contracts they’re able to secure, which can sometimes be multiple at once or none at all during extended periods of time.
Understandably, there’s no such thing as regular office hours in this deadline-driven industry. Besides, the creative process of Authors never truly stops. It’s not uncommon for them to wake up during the middle of the night to lay down ideas or to spend long hours carrying out research.