What are alternative careers for book authors

Writer - education, profession, salary and opportunities as an author on the job market

Are you creative, have a lot of imagination and writing is in your blood? Perhaps you have already considered embarking on a career as a writer or writer.

Many people dream of writing books and making a living from the income from book sales. Writers, also known as authors, write literary works on various topics. The spectrum of the various genres ranges from sophisticated poetry and fiction to non-fiction and specialist literature. As a writer, you work freelance and you can largely organize your working hours yourself.

In the past, most authors relied solely on publishers for the publication of their works. The exploitation rights are partially assigned to the publisher, who in return contractually grants the writer a certain fee.

These contracts are very popular among writers, as the publishers not only handle the production process, from layout to printing, but also distribute the works. Unknown writers, however, find it difficult to get one of these coveted contracts.

As an alternative, many authors are now taking the route of self-publication. In times of e-books or book-on-demand, the entrepreneurial risk is largely limited, as often no or only a few printed copies are marketed. First and foremost, comparatively inexpensive self-publishing platforms in this area are interesting alternatives to conventional publishers.

Video on the job as an author

Writer salary

What earnings you can expect as a writer depends primarily on the success of your work. If you can get hold of a contract with a renowned publisher, you will receive a certain percentage of the sales price for every book sold.

The amount of your share depends on the sales figures. If you have sold more than 500,000 paperback books, you usually get a share of up to 12 percent on sales. However, if fewer than 20,000 copies have been sold, the publisher will pay you a share of around 5 percent. These numbers are only examples and should serve as a guide.

Further earning opportunities are offered by readings, seminars or lectures, which are usually organized by the publisher. Unfortunately, only a few writers and authors manage to live exclusively from their writing activities, so different sideline jobs are not unusual.

You can also offer creative writing courses or work as a copywriter and / or translator on the side.

Study and training as a writer

The profession of writer is not a training profession, so there are no specific regulations. A number of successful writers have autodidactically acquired the knowledge required for this profession. While “creative writing” is taught at universities in the USA, prospective authors in Germany are largely self-taught.

Only the universities of Leipzig and Hildesheim offer the American-style courses in "Literary Writing" with a Bachelor of Arts degree. You can even complete a master’s degree in Leipzig afterwards.

The content of the bachelor's degree is basic knowledge of literary history, literary genres, poetry and prose, narrative theory and scenic writing. The master’s program primarily focuses on your own literature project.

You can undertake distance learning while you work. There are different providers in this area, including the School of Writing, the Institute for Learning Systems (ILS) or the Studiengemeinschaft Darmstadt (SGD).

The duration, costs and content of the courses differ depending on the provider. For example, the following course content is possible:

- Research & work techniques
- Stylistic devices
- Fiction, children's and youth novels
- Dialogues, characters & storyline

Writing books, be it a novel or a children's book, is every writer's profession. However, the dream of producing a bestseller overtakes only a few. However, digitalization has made it much easier to successfully create and market a book.

Requirements and characteristics for an author

Without a doubt, talent as a writer, imagination and the joy of writing are important prerequisites for the profession of writer. However, in addition to these factors, you should also have the manual skills for this profession. A good story alone does not contribute to the success of a book, because texts with countless grammar and / or spelling errors put off many readers.

If you want to complete a degree, you need the Abitur as an entry requirement. In addition, proof of special artistic ability is required at the universities in Leipzig and Hildesheim. For this purpose, both universities each conduct an aptitude test. However, you do not need any special requirements for distance learning or adult education courses on the subject of creative writing.

Application as a writer at a publishing house

Your book is finished and you are looking for a publisher? A convincing presentation for a publisher is basically similar to a polished application. In order to convince the publisher of your work, a creative and error-free cover letter is required in the first step. This letter is read before the synopsis or manuscript and gives a first impression of the writing style and professionalism.

An exposé summarizes the content of your book on about one to five pages. The form in which you should submit this synopsis and possibly a short excerpt depends on the guidelines of the respective publisher. Ideally, you should therefore inquire in advance, as some publishers only accept e-mails or only printed copies. If you are not sure about the wording and accuracy, you can of course also use the services of reputable editors.

To the application tips and tricks!

Future and trends for the job

As a writer, you are treading a rocky path that, with a lot of work, talent and a little luck, can lead you to the desired success. Even today's bestselling authors from their early days are very familiar with dealing with disappointments about rejection by publishers.

Only a few authors can make a living from selling their books alone and earn extra income with various jobs. However, one quality is particularly important here: stamina!

Once your first work has been published, you should by no means put your feet up. More books increase the chance of success, because often you can cause a chain reaction after a while. If a reader liked one of your books, the chances are they will want to read your other works as well.

Since even a writer never stops learning, one thing is incredibly important - read, read, read! You can also learn something like this from books by bad authors, because then you know exactly how "it" doesn't work. You may also find new inspiration for your new book here and then possibly write the absolutely successful bestseller of the year!

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