Many people have the dream of publishing a book and one day becoming an author. How great would it be to sell your own book in bookstores at some point or to inspire readers worldwide with your own story? Becoming an author is not that difficult. Above all, it is a very creative process in which you will grow beyond yourself. You can create new worlds, develop exciting characters and, above all, share your message with many reading enthusiasts.
In this article, we will show you how to overcome these first hurdles and actually become an author. You will see: Soon you will have a few fewer questions and can start relaxing as an author.
How can I become an author?
Right at the beginning of their writing career, many ask themselves how they can become an author. But the answer to this question is simple: as soon as you write, you are an author. You don’t have to have published ten books or started a successful blog. Many write only for themselves for years before they dare to go public with their works. Others use writing as a creative balance from stressful everyday life or to process their thoughts and feelings.
But maybe you have bigger ambitions and actually want to become an author and publish your works. The following tips will help you:
- Look for role models
Initially, you could be concerned with the question of how and where to start at. The important thing about this profession is that you write alone, but you always write for others. There is a huge writing community of other writers, but also readers. For starters, it can help you if you look for role models there. Of course, these are mainly other writers who may have already written successfully or reached many people with their texts. Take a close look at how these people realized your dream and find out about their writing careers. Perhaps you will find here the first approaches on how to start writing and become an author.
- Write for magazines or newspapers
A relatively easy way to get started is through magazines or newspapers in which you publish your texts. Many newspapers are regularly looking for freelance authors to write texts on specific topics or in columns. Here you can gain initial experience and find out whether the profession is really something for you. And best of all, you even earn money with your texts.
- Publish your texts on the Internet
An equally established possibility is the publication of texts on the Internet. Here you are even freer in genre and design. For example, you can publish your texts on your own website or blog and thus win over the first readers. Or you can opt for a profile on an already established site for fanfictions, for example. Particularly well-known are the car platforms Wattpad and fanfiction.de. Countless writers publish their works here every day – and have even made it to established publishers. If you want to know how to become an author on these platforms, read our post on “Writing Fanfiction”.
- Get feedback
On the way to becoming an author, feedback and criticism of your texts are particularly important. This is the only way you can assess what you should work on in your texts and how you can constantly optimize them. To do this, first, ask a person in your immediate environment if they would read some of your texts and give you feedback. Later, you can also let strangers look at your texts, such as your work colleagues or acquaintances.
Do I need specific education or degree to become an author?
First, the short answer: To become an author, you don’t need specific education or subject.
Nevertheless, many writers have studied something in the direction of writing and writing. For example, many first come into contact with non-fiction texts through journalism and later also write fiction novels and publish their own works. German studies or literary studies are also popular courses of study for prospective writers.
Many universities also offer special writing courses. These are usually optional and accompanying for certain subjects or to be chosen as evening courses. They will teach you the basics of the writing craft or help you develop initial stories. Often these courses are taught by already established writers who can report from everyday practice. If you are interested in such a course, just look for an offer in your city. You can find them, for example, at the local adult education center, university, or in libraries and bookstores.
Did you know? Not all authors are writers, but vice versa. Writers are specifically those authors who write fictional texts. So if you write novels, you’re a writer. On the other hand, if you write advertising copy for a company, you are an author, but not a writer.
What qualities do I need to have to become an author?
Are there actually certain qualities that distinguish a good author? We are often asked this, and of course, there is no right answer. Nevertheless, there are some qualities that can take you far as a writer and that make your daily work easier.
Structure and order are important – on the desk and in the head. Writing is a real brain teaser, and if you are already mentally at the next meeting, you will hardly be able to create a creative text. So sort yourself out before you start writing and give yourself some rest. Ban all distracting objects, such as the smartphone, from your environment and turn off the Internet. You will see: You will be creative all by yourself and can work on your text undisturbed.
Perseverance and patience
No novel has been written and published overnight. You will notice one thing very quickly: Processes in the book industry can often take a very long time and take weeks, months, or even years. For example, many publishers already know which books you will publish in the next two years. So if you apply there with your manuscript, it may well be that you can only publish in one to two years. The writing and revision process can also take many months. But you should also give this to your book, only in this way can it become successful in the end and convince many readers.
Tip: Don’t want to wait years for your release? Maybe self-publishing is for you. This means that you can self-publish your books and thus decide flexibly and independently on all processes of writing and publishing.
The most important quality of any author-to-be is passion. If you don’t have a passion for writing and telling stories, you’ll quickly notice it in your texts. Of course, this does not mean that you have to be highly motivated every day, but a general enjoyment of work and your creative profession makes everything easier.
Ability to criticize
Almost as important as passion is the ability to criticize. Again and again, you will meet people before, during, and after writing who critically question your work. It can’t hurt if you keep reminding yourself that this is important and good and, above all, not a criticism of your person. For your career as an author, therefore, the motto applies: Orient yourself above all to people who support and encourage you in your work, but also accept criticism and try to learn from it and constantly improve.
Joy of knowledge
Writers are naturally curious people. They want to know everything and sense a new, exciting idea for a story everywhere. As an author, you should not only be interested in your field of expertise and research but also regularly follow the news or otherwise inform yourself about world events. Who knows if there won’t be a news story or an exciting character waiting around the next corner that you can process in your next text.
What does the everyday life of writers look like?
As an author, you will have a very varied everyday life. Every day, different challenges and tasks await you that challenge and advance you in your profession. Of course, it also depends on whether you work full-time as an author or are employed in a bread job on the side. But there are a few elements that fill
the everyday life of every author So you can adjust to this in any case:
- Varied daily routine
In addition to regular work on the computer – in the café or at home – many other tasks are also part of your everyday author’s life. You will certainly be on the road a few days or weeks a year for research, maintaining contacts, or filing your tax return. The exchange with other writers, your readers or, if necessary, a publisher is also part of it. As you can see, as an author it never gets boring and you will certainly always have good things to do.
- Research, Research, Research
An extremely important point in everyday life as an author is, in addition to writing, above all the research. For your texts, whether fictional or journalistic, you have to do research, interview people, and travel to foreign places. As an author, you read many books for research purposes, meet exciting people and stay informed about the industry and its development.
- Training and craft grinding
As in any other profession, regular further education and training in your activities are unavoidable. For example, you could take writing classes or learn a new method of plotting. You can find inspiration for this, for example, on our blog in the articles on the snowflake method and hero’s journey.
You can also attend a seminar on the sale or marketing of books, find out about new publications or try out a new genre.
By the way: A good way to train the craft and write new texts regularly is short stories. You can write these relatively quickly in between and use them as an exercise for your actual texts. An article on the topic can be found under “Writing short stories”.
- Plan and write stories
After researching a novel, planning, and writing it follows. Writers also call this planning “plotting”. It is the activity in which a large part of the later novel is created, characters are developed and the plot is conceived. This work often requires a lot of time and is very intense. You should treat yourself to rest for this. You then begin the writing process. Here you hang on to your planning, design individual scenes, and later a whole book or an article. Depending on whether you write non-fiction or fiction, there are different approaches. You can find everything on the subject in our articles “Writing Non-Fiction Books” and “Writing Novels”.
- Revision and correction
After writing, it goes into the revision of the texts. For many, this is where the real work begins, because a rough draft is slowly but surely being refined into a complete text.
- Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales are essential for the success of a text. This also applies to self-publishers as well as to publishing authors. This point can take a lot of time and should not be underestimated. Many start long before publication in order to acquire as many readers as possible in advance.
How can I publish my book?
As mentioned earlier, there are different ways to publish a book. In general, you first decide between a publisher or the publication on your own, i.e. in self-publishing.
Publishing in the publishing house
For many writers, publishing in a publishing house is the simple and well-known way to publish a book. The classic way is that you first apply through an agency or directly to one or more publishers. The subsequent selection process may take a few weeks or months. Many publishers receive countless inquiries from a wide variety of authors every day and have to opt for a comparatively small program.
Advantages of a publisher:
In a publishing house, you enjoy above all the advantage that you have to concentrate exclusively on writing the text, and all further steps of the publication – editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing – are taken over for you. For many authors, this is an enormous relief, as it allows them to concentrate fully on the creative process and not have to worry about economic and design issues.
Publishing to self-publishing
One way to publish your book quickly and without a long wait is self-publishing. The publication of texts in complete self-direction has long been an established possibility away from the classic publishers. From writing to design to marketing, the complete publication is in your hands. They are maximally independent and can theoretically publish their first book today.
epubli supports you in the distribution of your book, and you enjoy many advantages:
Would you like to publish your book and thus be available in bookstores? With epubli, this is possible quickly and with just a few mouse clicks.
By the way, at epubli you can not only publish a print edition, but also an e-book in parallel. Just try it out and convince yourself of our offer.
Distribution in the book trade
After publication on epubli, your book is listed in the list of available books. This means that it can be ordered in bookstores and your readers can find it on all known platforms. These include, for example:
Countless equipment options
Would you like a book with extra thick pages, a fixed cover, or a particularly flexible ring binding? No problem. When publishing, choose from our different equipment options and choose exactly the variant that is most suitable for your book.
Further information can be found on our page on “Printing a book”.
Monthly payment and transparent fees
You will receive 70% of the net proceeds for each copy of your book sold. Your fee will be paid monthly in a transparent statement. You will also get an overview of your relevant sales channels.
No term or contractual obligation
Publication with epubli is free of charge and flexible. The rights of the text remain with you at all times. You can terminate your publication contract at any time and without giving reasons.
Advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing
Each type of publication has its advantages and disadvantages. They should deal with you before deciding for or against any type of publication. We have compiled some advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing for you.
- You are your own boss
Being your own boss is both a blessing and a curse and you should think carefully beforehand about whether you really want to. You alone decide on your texts and whether and how to publish them. In addition to all creative decision-making processes, you also have to keep an eye on economic aspects and structure your work.
- You coordinate all publishing processes
In a classic publishing house, you only take care of the punctual delivery of your manuscript. As a self-publisher, you will also manage and coordinate all other tasks, such as creating a cover, editing, or book marketing.
On the one hand, this is great because it allows you to put together your own team of experts and service providers and also retain decision-making authority over overall changes. On the other hand, it can quickly be overwhelming to find suitable service providers, write to them and describe your ideas. Think carefully beforehand about whether you have the time to do these tasks yourself.
- You earn more than in a publishing house
Admittedly, this statement is initially quite sweeping and does not apply to all authors. On average, however, you earn more from a sold copy of your book in self-publishing than publishing authors. 70% of the net proceeds are at epubli, which corresponds to a sales price of 3.99 euros about 1.64 euros per copy. However, you should note that when publishing in self-publishing, there are significant costs for cover, editing, or marketing, which you have to pay from this profit.
Is it still worth becoming an author today?
Are you also one of those people who want to make a living from writing? Like you, there are countless others, and not everyone achieves this goal. It is a long and often rocky road and many give up early. But if you really want to, it is worth believing in this dream. Even though you may not jump right into the bestseller list with a book, there are plenty of other ways to make writing a profession.
As a rule, writers are self-employed and work freelance. In addition to their work as writers, many write texts for magazines, blogs or newspapers and work in a journalistic context. Payment is usually made by a number of characters or pages and varies from medium to medium. You can use this salary as a basis for getting off to a flying start with your own projects. You will quickly notice one thing: As an author, you can hardly get out of your skin, you want to be creative and share your thoughts and stories with others. Because yes, even if not everyone makes it and the way to the (successful) author is not an easy one, it is still worthwhile to go.
Where can I find other people who also want to become an author?
One of the most beautiful things about writing is the exchange with like-minded people. As an author, you will quickly be accepted into the community and find contact with others, for example, at book fairs or on social networks. Together you can not only discuss current projects and texts but also discuss criticisms or exchange ideas on marketing topics.
Contact with others can be extremely inspiring and will definitely take you further. We will explain where and how to find the most authors.
- Book Fairs
In addition to numerous small and regional trade fairs, the largest industry meetings take place twice a year in Frankfurt and Leipzig. In addition to numerous publishers, there are always many other authors and readers on-site with whom you can make appointments and exchange ideas. It is always worthwhile to visit such a fair and maintain contacts. Quite a few successful projects found their origin at a book fair.
If you would like more information about the book fairs and current dates, take a look at our trade fair guide for authors.
- Social networks
Maybe you already use one or more social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. But have you ever thought about using them for professional purposes and making new contacts with like-minded people? With the help of an author profile, new readers, but also colleagues, become aware of you. You can find quick connections, for example, if you search the networks for the hashtags #bookstagram #writerslife or #booksofinstagram.
- Regional and national events
As an author, sooner or later you will also be invited to events and readings. Whether as a guest or as a participant, you can use such events to make new contacts in your region or beyond and thus be regularly invited to events. These put you in direct reader or colleague contact and help you to gain reach and awareness.
We hope to have answered some questions on the subject with our blog article. We wish you every success on your way as an author!
Surely you have already made quite a bit of progress in your novel. If you need further help or are thinking about how best to publish your novel, we recommend one of our further articles.