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How To Become An Author: A Complete Guide

Many people claim they can write a book, but few invest the time, energy, and resources necessary to learn how to become an author and see their book idea through to publication. Being a published author is not easy. You cannot simply stuff a bunch of data into a book and call it a novel. It takes time and effort to create something truly remarkable. The good news is that your efforts will never be in vain as long as you remain dedicated. Do you want to know how to become an author? Here’s a guide to help you start your author journey.

8 Steps you need to do to be an author

If you genuinely wish to be an author, you must prepare to spend numerous hours each day brainstorming new and exciting ideas. This checklist can help you learn how to become an author, develop a writing rhythm, and guide you toward a successful writing career.

1. Learn to read more

To succeed as a writer, one must first master the art of voracious reading as the first step to becoming an author. Read everything available. Make it a point to read both things you know you’ll enjoy and things you’re confident you won’t. When looking for a new book to read, a librarian, a friend, or a used bookstore owner are all excellent places to start. You may request a recommendation from any of them. 

As you increase the number of books you read and the number of books you read in general, you will expose yourself to better writing. You’re subconsciously absorbing the text’s elements, and before you know it, you’ll be incorporating them into your writing. Additionally, reading serves as a creative outlet. With more ideas, it becomes easier to put them down on paper.

The best writers are also the most astute readers. Reading frequently can assist you in improving your writing by strengthening your vocabulary, grammar, and writing structure. As a writer, you’ll benefit from the enhanced critical thinking and cognitive function that regular reading can provide.

2. Build your skills

someone wanting to become an author is making a plan to finish their book

To be a successful author, you must possess a unique set of skills. Anyone can jot their thoughts down. You aspire to be a published author and would like to enhance your writing abilities. The following are author skills that you should develop when learning how to become an author:

  • Grammar and Spelling

If your book is full of grammatical and spelling errors, no one will bother to read it. Due to these errors, it’s challenging to complete your work. Authors are expected to have a strong command of the English language, including proper grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. You can consider enrolling in writing and English classes to improve your skills. 

  • Communication

To tell your story effectively, you must be able to communicate effectively. It includes effectively using language to describe, illustrate, and motivate your audience. To be a successful author, you must communicate clearly and succinctly through the written word. Additionally, you must be familiar with your target audience, including their communication styles and preferences, to be effective.

  • Concentration

Concentration is critical if you wish to finish your book. If you lack focus, procrastination is more likely to occur. Put your goal of becoming a published author at the top of your priority list. The most effective method of writing a book is to dedicate a specific amount of time each week to it. Consider writing during the time of day when you are most focused to assist you in remaining focused.

  • Courage

It’s not a bad thing to write from the heart. Prepare to have your expectations dashed. Never be afraid to fail spectacularly at first. Writing is a courageous act. To ascertain the truth, you must be able to delve deeply into your character’s mind. Write fearlessly and honestly, embracing uncertainty.

3. Seek a writing community

For those who want to know how to become an author and prefer to write independently, an online writing community can be a wealth of inspiration and encouragement. Whether you’re a published author or just getting started, there is no better place to meet other writers than a writing group if you’re interested in writing. Encouragement and support are critical for serious writers. Having the encouragement and support of others can mean the difference between completing a half-finished draft and publishing a book. 

It’s critical to have access to a supportive group of peers to improve as a writer. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional, it’s true. If you’ve written a significant amount of work, you will require assistance. Writing advice from fellow authors can help you improve your work by pointing out plot holes, emphasizing the importance of grammar and punctuation, or recommending books on specific genres and techniques.

Because members of a writing community are so diverse in every way, being in their company opens up an entire universe of perspectives. Additionally, a writing group can be an excellent forum for sharing self-developed writing techniques, information about upcoming readings, seminars, workshops, and news about international creative writing competitions and events.

4. Start with short pieces 

Writing is a skill that you will develop gradually when learning how to become an author. When writing a book, it’s best to begin with minor details and work your way up. As the next step to becoming an author, it’s necessary to establish your capabilities. If you’re interested in writing fiction, you may want to begin with short stories to familiarize yourself with the process. Writing a brief essay before embarking on a lengthy non-fiction piece is an excellent way to acclimate.

By reading and writing short stories, you can practice writing concisely. The word limit of a short story necessitates frugality during the writing process. By omitting excessive information, you can get straight to the point. Once you’ve mastered this habit, you’ll be able to apply the same principles to novels, resulting in a page-turning story.

Additionally, it aids in the development of a following. When your short stories gain traction, you’re likely to have a readership eagerly awaiting your debut novel. Those who enjoy your short stories are likely to enjoy your book and be willing to pay for it due to their familiarity with your writing style. Inquiring whether your followers wish to read a novel is an excellent way to gauge their interest.

5. Plan and write your first novel

This step is an uncommon accomplishment when planning how to become an author. Procrastination and a lack of motivation stem from the writer’s fear. To succeed as an author, you’ll need to develop a strategy. A simple note on the back of an envelope, or even just an idea, may suffice for some writers, while others prefer to organize their thoughts with diagrams and notes.

Create an outline to gain a sense of how your story will unfold. Consider the beginning, middle, and conclusion. It serves as a jumping-off point for your writing, and it will evolve as you write. Once you have the outline for your book, create a writing schedule. If you do not begin writing immediately, you will never complete your book. Without a strategy, you’re unlikely to complete the task.

Each day, schedule time for writing in a distraction-free environment. Using an online word and page counter can assist you in keeping track of the words and pages you write each day. Finally, but certainly not least, finish writing your rough draft! Utilize your outline as a roadmap for your writing. While you are writing, do not edit your first draft. Maintain focus on the story, the characters, and the action. Following that, you must move on to the editing process.

6. Edit your book

Within the first few pages of your manuscript, editors can determine whether or not it is worth further consideration. The editing process will determine the success of your book. Because you edit your book before sending it to a professional editor, you have the most control over the final product. Publishers can generally get a good sense of a book’s potential after reading the first few pages. While a writer learns how to become an author, publishers train to have a good eye on checking works.

Your hook should appear within the first five paragraphs to provide readers with an overview of the central conflict. Beginning with an intriguing story will assist you in avoiding a later dissatisfied letter. Although editors will handle your book professionally before publication, the author prefers to present a clean manuscript that people can read critically without distraction from errors.

Read the story aloud, chapter by chapter, to understand how the sentences are structured and unfold the story. It will serve as a jumping-off point for your review. After you’ve spent some time editing your manuscript, it’s a good idea to solicit feedback from a few trusted readers. Instead of allowing the person to whom you’re pitching your book to be the first person to read it, seek out beta readers. 

7. Acquire a literary agent

Traditional publishers require authors to go through a lengthy process that includes locating the appropriate publishers, querying, pitching, and negotiating a contract. For a debut novelist learning how to become an author successfully and hoping to secure a traditional publishing deal, the most likely next step is to seek the assistance of an agent. 

The publishing industry is highly competitive. A literary agent can assist a debut author in standing out from the crowd of self-published authors vying for the same amount of attention and publication opportunities. For one thing, an agent-submitted manuscript is presumptive of high quality. Publishers can be confident that a manuscript submitted by an agent is well-written and deserving of consideration. Due to the size of publishers’ slush piles, a manuscript with an agent has a much better chance of survival. 

Hiring an agent is the best course of action if you are ambitious and confident in your manuscript and wish to compete with the world’s largest and most prestigious publishing houses. First-time authors greatly benefit from an agent’s training, experience, and long tenure in the publishing industry, contributing to their success. To ensure that your book sells for the highest possible price, you require the expertise of an agent.

8. Get your book published

As intimidating as it can be for you to learn how to become an author, learning how to get your work published can be even more intimidating. However, the chances of first-time novelists being published are improving as the book publishing industry increasingly relies on both digital and traditional publishing.

  • Traditional publishing

This method of publication involves submitting a book to publishers for consideration. If they do, they’ll send you a contract and begin designing, formatting, and editing your book in preparation for publication. Typically, the publisher is responsible for marketing and distribution. It’s critical to remember that obtaining a book deal is extremely difficult and may require years of rejection.

  • Self-publishing

Rather than waiting for their work to be accepted by a publisher, many authors opt to self-publish. Self-publishing entails writing a book and initiating the publishing process independently, without the assistance of a publisher. You are responsible for the book’s publication preparations, including design, formatting, editing, and submission. After securing a publishing platform, you’re in charge of marketing and distribution. Here are several methods for self-publishing your work.

1. Audiobook

Audiobooks have grown in popularity among today’s readers. Audiobooks, like printed novels, can be published by a traditional publisher or by the author directly.

2. Print-on-demand

When it comes to publishing a book, print on demand is the most risk-free method because only one copy is printed for each customer who places an order.

3. Ebook

On-demand distribution of digital copies of a book is even simpler because no paper or printing equipment is required.

Once your first book is published, and you’ve had time to reflect on the experience, it’s time to move on to the next project. To earn a living as an author, you must constantly produce new work. Bear in mind that the process will become easier as you write more books.

4 Tips to help you succeed

Success does not come to those who sit back and wait; it requires effort. Consider the following tips on how to become an author who can succeed in the industry.

Create a game plan

To improve your chances of success, you must first define your objectives when first planning how to become an author. Create an action plan to accelerate your success. Your action plan should include three sections: immediate, short-term, and long-term goals. You may wish to increase readership for your short stories in the short term by consistently producing works that appeal to your target audience.

A long-term goal might be to complete the planning stage and begin writing the novel you’ve always desired to write. Whatever your goals are, if you don’t write them down, you’re less likely to achieve them, and tracking and revising them becomes more difficult.

Enhance your online presence

Having an online presence, such as a blog or website, is critical for optimizing your visibility and showcasing your writing ability to secure additional writing projects. By establishing a website now, you’ll make it easier to land a book deal later, as you’ll already have cultivated an online readership.

You can tailor your content and branding to the platform you’ve chosen to publish. Additionally, you can schedule posts to pique your followers’ interests. As a new writer, you are unlikely to have the funds necessary to pay for a website immediately. Numerous platforms allow you to create a free website and upgrade to a paid plan.

Collect feedback

To succeed as a writer, you need as much candid feedback as possible when learning how to become an author. Contact someone you trust, preferably multiple people, and solicit feedback on your work. Solicit their frankness to assist you in improving. While you may not agree with everything they say, it will ultimately help you improve as a writer.

Numerous organizations exist devoted to writing. It’s an excellent way to get feedback from other writers who are in a similar situation to you. They can shed invaluable light on your work and suggest ways to improve it.

Participate in workshops and courses

Storytelling and creative writing are abilities that must be developed and honed over time. Enroll in classes and workshops to hone your storytelling skills. Seek out programs that place a greater emphasis on the craft of writing than on grammar or mechanics. 

There, you can connect with other writers on a similar path. You can share your experiences and benefit from the experiences of others who are in similar situations.

Maintain a sense of discipline

Even if you can only spare a few hours per day, ensure that you work on your book for the entire time allotted.If you’re new to learning how to become an author, the most effective way to establish a consistent writing practice is to schedule time for writing. Making it happen requires commitment and dedication. 

However, by incorporating writing into your daily life, you can reap the benefits of a completed novel. Examine your daily and weekly schedules for writing opportunities. Your novel’s success is contingent upon your desire to write it. 

Frequently asked questions

How much does an author make?

While there is no standard for determining how much an author earns, it is critical to understand that an author’s salary ranges widely. Some authors earn millions, while others earn nothing.

However, many authors are now earning a full-time living from their writing careers. Writers live in an era when opportunities to make money from their creative endeavors are plentiful.

National Average Salary$40,000 – $50,000 (depending on experience) 
First-Time Authors (Traditional Major Publishing)$5,000 – $10,000
First-Time Authors (Small Press)$1,000-$2,000
Self-Published Authors70% royalties from book
Traditional-Published Authors5-15% royalties on print books, 25% royalties on ebooks

What makes a good writer?

“Writing is an art form.” While these assertions are accurate, they can also obstruct the pragmatism required of aspiring authors and writers. You may adore the romanticized portrayal of the work, the writing concept. However, is your writing feasible?

In other words, are you aware of the person on the opposite side of the page – the reader? Is the writing you produce meeting a market requirement? To make a living as a writer, you will almost certainly have to abandon your ideas and fantasies about the work.

An extensive vocabulary and the technical ability to construct perfectly balanced sentences do not guarantee that you will be a good writer. If you can move people, you will develop into a great writer. Engaging, educating, and inspiring others contribute to your growth as a writer.

Is writing a good career?

Authors have one of the most fulfilling careers. This high happiness index could result from the authors’ equal degree of freedom. You can work independently as a freelancer, have the creative freedom to express yourself through your writing, and have the space to collaborate with various partners, including clients, editors, and publishers.

Is writing a viable career choice? Yes! However, standing out among the sea of aspiring authors requires exceptional writing abilities. Additionally, it necessitates considerable effort and dependability, and a humble attitude. 

Furthermore, you’ll need a thick skin; therefore, practice incorporating constructive criticism and resist giving up after a series of rejections. Persevere, and it is possible. Those who achieve tremendous success as writers never give up.

How many words do you need to publish a book?

There are no hard-and-fast rules governing a book’s word count. There are, however, some guidelines you need to know alongside how to become an author. For instance, novels are typically between 40,000 and 200,000 words in length. Numerous subgenres exist in fiction, which affects the book’s length. 

Children’s books range in price from 10,000 to 15,000 words. The typical length of a mystery or young adult novel is between 40,000 and 80,000 words. The word count of thrillers and epic fantasy novels frequently exceeds 100,000.

Non-fiction books also have a wide range of word counts. While many short and speedy books are between 40,000 and 60,000 words in length, many non-fiction works are between 80,000 and 100,000 words in length. An established author can succeed in pushing the envelope in some way. The best rule to follow as a new author is to keep your book within the standard range possible.

Conclusion

When deciding how to become an author, you need to consider everything. Work with reliable people, hone your skills, increase your network, and let your imagination run free. If you truly desire it, it is possible to become a published author. Whether you choose traditional or self-publishing, getting the process right is critical. Don’t be intimidated by the magnitude of the task. Making time for writing is a sign that you are ready to become an author.

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