How To Become an Author 

JD Caron
May 9, 2023

How to become an author: Introduction

In general, there are huge misconceptions about how to become an author. The simple answer is that you should just write a book, and presto—you’re an author. Becoming an author is a dream many people share, but for most aspiring authors, it remains just that—a dream.

In fact, it’s estimated that less than 10% of people who attempt to become an author with no experience complete their first book. What will determine if you become an author or fall out of the race on your way there depends on crucial steps you need to know about and master right from the start.

In this article, we’ll cover the steps and show you how to become an author, including how to develop your writing skills, find your writing voice, plan your bookedit your book, plus market and publish your work.


Summary: Most popular questions about how to become an author.

What is the difference between a writer and an author?

A writer writes, and an author writes and publishes their work. The main difference is that an author has achieved recognition for their writing, while a writer may not.

Is it hard to become an author?

Becoming an author is challenging due to the effort, skill, and dedication required, but it is possible to start writing without a degree and work toward becoming a published author.

What qualifications do you need to become an author?

No professional qualifications are required, but passion, language skills, a unique style, and dedication are crucial for aspiring authors.

How much does an author get paid?

Author's earnings depend on book sales, genre, marketing, and publisher. While some can earn millions from their writing, the median income for full-time authors in the U.S. is $24,000 per year.

How do I get started as an author?

Becoming a published author is a long and challenging journey that requires honing writing skills, finding your voice, developing a detailed plan and schedule, revising, and choosing a publishing route while marketing the book to get it in front of readers.

How do I get started as an author?

Becoming a published author is a long and challenging journey that requires honing writing skills, finding one's voice, developing a detailed plan and schedule, revising, and choosing a publishing route while marketing the book to get it in front of readers.

What is the difference between a writer and an author?

The terms "writer" and "author" are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. A writer is someone who writes, while an author is someone who has written and published a book, article, or other written work. In other words, all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors.

A writer may write for personal enjoyment or for a specific audience, but their work may never be published or recognized publicly. On the other hand, an author's work has been published and is available for public consumption. Becoming an author usually requires a significant amount of effort and dedication to writing, as well as navigating the publishing industry.

Therefore, the main difference between a writer and an author is that an author has achieved a level of recognition for their writing, while a writer may or may not have.

Is it hard to become an author?

In short, yes, becoming an author is hard as it requires significant effort, skill, and dedication to writing, as well as navigating the publishing process. However, with persistence and a willingness to learn and improve, it is possible to become a successful author.

It is possible to write a book with no experience, meaning you don't need a degree to start writing and work your way (and get paid to do so) toward becoming a published author through freelance writing.

What qualifications do you need to become an author?

There are no formal qualifications needed to become an author, but a passion for fiction writing, strong language skills, and a unique writing style are essential. A degree in English or creative writing can provide a foundation of knowledge, while attending writing workshops and networking with other writers can help improve writing abilities.

Understanding the publishing industry and having a professional attitude, persistence, and dedication to always improve your writing skill are also important qualities for aspiring authors.

How much does an author get paid?

The amount of money an author makes varies widely and depends on factors such as book sales, genre, marketing efforts, and publisher. Some authors can make a substantial income from their writing, while others may struggle to make a living.

According to a 2021 survey by the Authors Guild, the median income for full-time authors in the U.S. was $24,000 per year. However, successful authors can earn millions of dollars from book sales, movie and TV adaptations, and merchandise. Overall, being an author can be financially rewarding, but it is not a guaranteed path to wealth.

Although there are plenty of examples of indie authors who made it big, you need to remember that your first book will break even at best. Becoming a millionaire from your first publication is as probable as winning the lotto. Remember that!

How do I get started as an author?

The road to becoming a published author is a long and lonely one, as many authors would attest to. Often people believe that their skills are sufficient to write a bestseller on their first try. The reality is that even authors that managed to achieve bestseller status look back at their first works of fiction and shake their heads in shame.

Writers grow into their trade. To get started as an author, start by honing your writing skills. Practice writing regularly, whether it's through journaling, blogging, or taking writing classes. Find your writing voice and determine what type of writing you're interested in.

Once you have an idea for a book, plan it out by developing your plot or organizing your ideas, and create a detailed outline. Set a writing schedule and make writing a daily habit. Write the first draft without editing, then revise and edit your book. Choose a publishing route that fits your goals and prepare your book for publication. Finally, market your book to get it in front of readers. Remember to be patient and persistent in your writing journey.

Now, if you are still considering this journey, let's explore how to become an author by following certain steps.

Learn how to become an author by following these steps:

The writing and publishing process can be overwhelming when glanced at as a whole. Instead, try to focus on one step at a time and tick the boxes one by one rather than getting sucked into the bigger picture.

Step 1: Develop Your Writing Skills

Before you start writing your book, it's important to develop your writing skills. Here are some steps you can take to improve your writing:

  • Read widely and regularly

Reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing skills. It exposes you to different writing styles, structures, and techniques and can help you develop your vocabulary and grammar skills. Make it a habit to read every day, whether it's books, articles, or blogs.

  • Write every day

Writing is a skill that takes practice, so make sure you write every day. It doesn't have to be a lot—even 15 minutes each day can make a difference. Write about anything that comes to mind, whether it's a journal entry, a short story, or a scene from a novel.

In a previous article, we explained how you can also get paid to write, which means you can boost your writing skills while making a little money on the side.

  • Take writing courses or workshops

Taking writing courses or workshops can help you improve your writing skills. These classes often provide feedback and guidance from experienced writers and can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Look for writing courses or workshops in your local community or online.

  • Join a writing group

Joining a writing group can provide you with a supportive community of fellow writers who can provide feedback, encouragement, and inspiration. Writing groups can also help you stay accountable and motivated in your writing practice. Look for writing groups in your local community or online.

Inquire here about our group coaching sessions which grants to access to a writing group as mentioned above.

Step 2: Find Your Writing Voice

Your writing voice is your unique style and tone as a writer. It's what sets your writing apart from others and makes it recognizable to your readers. Here are some steps to help you find your writing voice:

  • Write from the heart

Your writing voice comes from within you, so it's essential to write from the heart. Write about the things that inspire you, that you feel passionate about, or that move you emotionally. When you write from the heart, your writing voice will emerge naturally.

  • Be authentic

Your writing voice is an extension of your personality and values. It's essential to be true to yourself and your beliefs when you write. Don't try to imitate someone else's writing style or tone; find your own authentic voice.

  • Experiment with different writing styles and structures

Don't be afraid to experiment with different writing styles and structures. Try writing in different formats, such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Experiment with genres you’re not used to, such as science-fiction, romance, or horror. Try different narrative techniques, such as first-person, third-person, or omniscient point of view. The more you experiment, the more you will learn about your writing voice.

  • Read your writing aloud

Reading your writing aloud can help you hear your writing voice and find places for improvement. When you read your writing aloud, pay attention to the rhythm, tone, and pacing. Does it sound like you? Does it feel authentic? Does your dialogue sound natural? Are your sentences too long? If you discover problems, try tweaking your writing until it sounds right to you.

Step 3: Plan Your Book

Once you've developed your writing skills and found your writing voice, it's time to start planning your book. Here are some steps to help you plan your book:

The first step in planning your book is to choose your genre. What genre is most suitable to describe your book? What subgenre are you writing in? Knowing your genre will help you focus your writing and target your audience.

Sometimes determining the exact genre, selecting categories, and finding keywords to describe your book can be a daunting task. Getting on board a marketing coaching program centered around data-driven strategies can help save a tremendous amount of time later as you get closer to publishing your book.

  • Develop your plot

For fiction writers, developing a plot is a crucial step in planning your book. Your plot should have a clear beginning, middle, and end and include key plot points, conflicts, and resolutions. Take time to brainstorm your plot and develop your characters, setting, and themes.

Collaborating with a developmental editor or book writing coach at certain stages of your writing journey could not only help you improve your story but also save you time and editing costs later.

  • Create an outline

Once you've developed your plot or organized your ideas, it's time to create an outline. Your outline should include the main plot points, chapter or section headings, and any key details or research that need to be included. Having a detailed outline will help you stay organized and focused as you write your book.

  • Set a writing schedule

Setting a writing schedule can help you stay motivated and make progress on your book. Determine how much time you can realistically devote to writing each day or week, and schedule writing time into your calendar. Consider setting goals or deadlines to keep yourself on track.

Holding yourself accountable and keeping yourself on track is challenging, especially for authors who lack support. Joining an accountability group or coaching group could introduce you to other authors in the same boat as you and allow you to find an accountability partner(s) to help you complete and publish your book on time.

Step 4: Write Your Book

Now that you've planned your book, it's time to start writing. Some authors believe in planning meticulously and adhering to the plan at all costs. Others believe that planning should serve as a guide and authors should be able to develop the story and deviate from the plan as they see fit.

Our recommendation to first-time authors is just to start writing. Later, you'll still have to edit the story after receiving feedback from beta readers and later your developmental and line editor(s), so why be pedantic about sticking to the plan and outline?

You can also relieve yourself of uncertainty and stress and apply a hack that is becoming more popular as the competition amongst indie authors increase. A writing coach will drastically increase your speed, improve your accountability and naturally improve your writing skills.

Find out more about writing coach rates here…

But going back to writing how to become an author and writing your first book, here are some tips to help you write your book:

  • Set a daily word count goal

Setting a daily word count goal can help you stay focused and motivated as you write your book. Determine how many words you want to write each day and aim to meet that goal. Even if you don't write the perfect draft, you can always revise it later.

  • Write the first draft without editing

When you're writing the first draft, resist the urge to edit as you go. Instead, focus on getting your ideas down on paper. You can always revise it later. Writing the first draft without editing can help you get into a flow and avoid getting bogged down by perfectionism.

  • Revise and edit your book

Once you've completed the first draft, it's time to revise and edit your book. This is where you refine your ideas, tighten your prose, and make sure your book is the best it can be. Consider getting feedback from beta readers or hiring a professional editor to help you.

Step 5: Publish Your Book

Once you've finished writing and editing your book, it's time to publish. Here are some steps to help you publish your book:

  • Choose your publishing route

There are several routes to publishing, including traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing. Each route has its pros and cons, so do your research and choose the best option for your book and your goals.

Preparing your book for publication involves formatting your manuscript, designing a cover, and obtaining an ISBN number. If you're self-publishing, you'll also need to choose a platform to publish on, such as Amazon KDP or Barnes & Noble Press.

Cover Design Miblart

In a previous article about book cover design, we discuss various options for you to consider, depending on your budget. We recommend that you take the time to read this article, but for now, overall, for top-quality book cover designs, we recommend Miblart.

  • Market your book

Marketing your book is essential to getting it in front of readers. Consider building an author website or author platform, using social media to promote your book, applying for book awards, and reaching out to book bloggers and reviewers for reviews and interviews.

Download our free guide to getting more reviews for your book without breaking your budget here…

How to become an author: Summary

how to become an author summary

Becoming an author takes time, dedication, and hard work, but it's a rewarding journey. By developing your writing skills, finding your writing voice, planning your book, writing and revising your book, and publishing and marketing your work, you can turn your dream of becoming an author into a reality.

Remember to be patient and persistent, and never give up on your writing goals.

If you're serious about your writing journey and wish to learn more about how to become an author, the first step we suggest is to check in with a reputable writing coach.

This will save you a tremendous amount of time, reduce stress, and lower costs in the long term.

About the author 

JD Caron

Denis was a coach long before he ever knew what that was. From his time in the military, to the decade he spent as a 911 ambulance dispatcher, he constantly found himself in leadership and teaching roles (he knows his way around an emergency). And after struggling to self-publish his first book, he knew he could help others do it better.

Currently, Denis is traveling around Europe, exploring WWII sites and sampling all the delightful cuisine the continent has to offer.

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