Jobs to Consider If You’re An Aspiring Author

When you are a talented writer, it’s quite common for friends to ask when you’re going to get around to writing your first book. And if you’re a writer, the odds are high you’ve considered writing a book or that your first draft is sitting on your computer ready to go.

Before you pick up the latest copy of Writer’s Market and start sending out queries, it’s important to consider what the day-to-day life of being a published author is really like. Here’s a look at the dream and the reality of being an author, as well as a few alternative careers for passionate writers outside the author track. 

Published Author, The Job Description Of Your Dreams

The dream version of being an author takes two shapes: it’s either a peaceful reverie in which you quietly tap away at your keyboard while your fans wait with bated breath for your next release, or it’s a thrilling adventure filled with exotic speaking gigs and book-turned-movie deals that exceed your wildest financial expectations.

In both ideal worlds money is rarely an issue and your publisher and agent tackle the tough details like contracts, distribution and marketing. Writing is the only thing on your plate, and the only thing holding you back is your own writer’s block (and your need for a second cup of coffee).

Published Author, The Job Description In Real Life

The reality of this career path has a lot of challenges associated with it. The first is simply being able to write a compelling novel or short story, which can take years to compose, edit and finish. Even if you can do the work, modern approaches to publishing have made it increasingly difficult to get an agent, a publisher and an audience. You’re competing with thousands of other authors who are writing blogs, building their audience with social media and often self-publishing through digital devices such as the Kindle and Nook. When published, the average author’s paycheck falls on the small side of minimum wage.

Even if you finally achieve financial success, success doesn’t always equate to an easy career. Published authors are notoriously vocal about what a difficult career writing is to pursue. One popular, unattributed quote regarding writing for a living is, “If you can do anything else, do it,” and best-selling author Michael Crichton agrees that anyone who can avoid writing for a living should do so. The writing life is full of internal and external obstacles such as writer’s block, time management and discipline, which make it less than an ideal fit for everyone who dreams of being a published author.

What To Do Instead of Being a Published Author

In today’s world, writing doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. There are many ways you can satiate your desire to write without forcing yourself to pursue a book deal. Consider one of these writing and publishing-related fields as a way to test out different aspects of a career of a published author:

Many authors got their start working different jobs in the publishing and writing world. Try out some of these jobs and keep working on your manuscript and we’ll hope to see you on the bestseller list.