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25 writing-related careers ideal for aspiring authors




Psst! Are you a writer? Do you dream of writing a best-selling novel? Are you pining for publication, angling to become an author and longing to see your name on the cover of a printed book?

Maybe you wrote a full 150-page work of fiction during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Perhaps you feel the need to birth your own book, based upon your professional expertise of personal background. Possibly, you simply have a super story to share.

If you are like most aspiring authors, you are already amassing a list of prospective publishers. You may even have sent a few query letters (or full manuscripts) to literary agents or book editors. So you know the process of breaking into publishing can take time – lots of time.



What can you do to keep the lights on while you wait for your proverbial author-ship to come in?

Here are 25 writing-related careers, in which aspiring authors can polish their skills and pay the bills at the same time.

1. Advertising Copywriter

A copywriter composes blips and blurbs, slogans and spiels, for advertising materials and broadcast spots. Many advertising copywriters also produce content for billboards, direct mail pieces, marketing catalogs, point-of-purchase displays, product packaging and other promotional publications.

2. Blogger

With today’s virtually universal Internet access, nearly anyone can create a blog. However, a skilled writer may develop a blog that web surfers will actually read. Bloggers can earn by monetizing their websites and allowing third-party sites to place ads.
Some bloggers choose to participate in pay-per-post programs, for which they receive remuneration.

3. Book Editor

Many gifted writers are also capable editors. Publishing companies employ staff editors, who help authors to prepare book manuscripts for publication.
By working as an editor in a publishing house, an aspiring author may gain an inside look at book production and marketing. This can be a distinct advantage, when the time comes to develop and offer a book concept for potential publication.
4. Book Reviewer

Enthusiastic writers are usually literate people, who enjoy reading. Savvy aspiring authors may write and publish book reviews, either in print or online. This practice can be profitable, while offering insights into the current publishing world and a wealth of published writing samples.

5. Broadcast Scriptwriter

From radio and television news to sitcoms and reality TV, broadcasters employ scriptwriters to produce the words their anchormen or actors will say on film or on the air. Even the popular entertainment awards shows are usually tightly scripted by professional writers, who may be aspiring authors. 

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6. Creative Writing Instructor

Articulate wordsmiths can be tremendous teachers, offering insights and practical pointers for creative writing students in local schools, community centers and colleges. (In some cases, teaching certificates or advanced degrees may be required for writing instructors.)

7. Editorial Assistant

Historically, the publisher’s editorial assistant was primarily a secretary, who may have helped with proofreading and publishing mechanicals. However, in the modern book and magazine world, the editorial assistant may be called upon to edit copy, write short items, size photos, help with page layouts and more.

In fact, an editorial assistant may prove to be first in line for an associate editor position, when such an opportunity becomes available.

8. English Teacher

Many English teachers are also aspiring authors at the elementary, junior high, high school and advanced levels. In public and private schools, English teachers present literature, composition and often even creative writing lessons to students. (In some cases, teaching certificates or advanced degrees may be required for English teachers.)

9. Executive Speechwriter

Like broadcast scriptwriters, corporate executive speechwriters come up with the words that will be uttered by those in the limelight. The most successful executive speechwriters may earn six-figure salaries for their expertise, either as freelancers, promotional agency staffers or full-time corporate employees.

10. Fact Checker

Writers who love to work with details and research may find intriguing careers as fact checkers for top authors and publishing companies. Fact checkers follow up on statistics, dates, names, places and other specific items that might be mentioned in a manuscript to ensure accuracy before publication.

11. Ghostwriter

A host of skilled writers swallow their own pride to earn sizable paychecks as ghostwriters. Basically, ghostwriters work behind the scenes, composing copy that will appear under the byline of a politician, industry leader or other expert.

Occasionally, a ghostwriter may be granted a shared byline, such as those that appear under the phrase, “as told to …” or similar verbage.

12. Grant Proposal Writer

Non-profit organizations employ full-time or freelance grant proposal writers to create copy that will accompany their applications for government or charitable foundation grants. Aspiring authors may earn quite respectable incomes by working as grant proposal writers.

13. Librarian

Wordsmiths who are also bibliophiles may find library careers to their liking, as they wait for their opportunities to become published authors. Library positions might be found in corporations, hospitals, local communities, schools and even prisons.

Such slots may be strategic, as they offer a close look at the book world, particularly new releases, and often an opportunity for researching book and story ideas. (In some cases, advanced degrees or licensing may be required for librarians.)

14. Media Relations Specialist

Corporations (both private and public) and non-profit organizations frequently enlist the services of media relations specialists to handle press relations. Writing skills are a big plus for these positions, as media staffers usually are asked to create news releases and press packets.

15. Newsletter Editor

Nearly every well-organized institution or corporate entity boasts at least one newsletter or newspaper. Companies, foundations, hospitals, missions, philanthropies, politicians, stores and other groups customarily publish newsletters for staffs, customers, constituents, donors, investors and others.

Of course, staff writers (or writers at outside agencies) are hired to create, produce and distribute these publications.

16. Newspaper Columnist

Local and national newspapers offer select opportunities for good writers to publish periodic columns. A writer might produce articles on books, careers, celebrities, dating, gardening, movies, pets or another topic of interest. Gaining a regular column is a big bonus for a newspaper writer, as this slot usually improves a writer’s job security.

17. Newspaper Stringer

The original freelance writers were often stringers for local and national newspapers. Such a reporter was usually paid by the column inch, once a newspaper was published. Today’s newspapers occasionally use stringers to cover special interest topics.

Most often, newspapers will choose to pick up stories from stringers who managed to report on unique stories or to grab great scoops on breaking news.

18. Proofreader

Proofreading may be seen as one of the least glamorous of trades for aspiring authors, but it can often provide steady work. A skilled proofreader with good concentration skills and a solid grasp of correct grammar and spelling may be considered a key asset to a top author, editorial board or publisher.

19. Publicist

Capable communicators, such as aspiring authors, may find productive employment as publicists for celebrities, corporate leaders, politicians, sports figures or other clients.

Publicists work as image-makers (or image-protectors) for their clients, creating public relations opportunities, managing public appearances and serving as media liaisons. (A publicist might guard a popular client from paparazzi, for example.)

20. Reading Specialist (Tutor)

A fair number of aspiring authors enjoy employment as reading specialists, tutoring language-challenged students (youth or adult) in reading and writing.

21. Resume Writer

Professional resumes for job hunters take a special kind of skilled writing, and some aspiring authors thrive on this challenge. Resume writers can carve out specific, but often profitable, niches by helping job seekers to develop strategic and advantageous resumes, as well as suitable cover letters to send to prospective employers.

22. Technical Writer

Architects, electricians, engineers, quality control specialists, scientists and others use product manuals and technical publications routinely. Skilled writers who are also adept at comprehending and working with complex concepts can prove valuable for producing such documentation.

23. Theater Reviewer

Aspiring authors who are arts and entertainment enthusiasts may enjoy writing and publishing theater and movie reviews (online or in print) to earn income.

24. Translator

Bilingual or multi-lingual writers frequently find gainful employment as translators, while waiting for those book contracts to come to fruition. Some aspiring authors also teach or sign language (or provide sign language services) or lead English as a Second Language classes.

25. Writing Specialist (Tutor)

Aspiring authors who desire more flexible scheduling options occasionally choose to work as writing specialists, or tutors, either full- or part-time. Tutoring students in writing and composition classes (at any age level) is a super way for an aspiring author to stay on top of his or her own writing skills, while helping others and earning some much-needed funds.

True writers, especially aspiring authors, tend to be particularly imaginative and creative sorts of people. With a bit of musing and a fair share of clear communications ability, a skilled writer can carve out countless creative opportunities that fit, while waiting for his or her future bestseller to hit.

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