Millions of people dream of becoming a full-time author, but starting this career is difficult – and maintaining it can be even more challenging. That said, everyone capable of utilizing language is also capable of becoming an author, as long as they have the right approach and they’re willing to hone their skills.

These are some of the first things you’re going to have to do to launch your career in this area.

Decide What You Want Out of This Career

There are many ways to develop your career as an author. There are also many benefits you may wish to capitalize on. Some people like the idea of being their own boss and deciding what they write for themselves; if this is what you want, you may not want to work for a major publisher or sign onto a restrictive contract.

Some people want to make a lot of money with their writing; if this is the case, not all genres or approaches are going to make you wealthy. Some people want to write in a specific genre, like nonfiction or science fiction; opportunities in any given area may be limited, so you may have to make compromises to pursue your passion.

Set Your Initial Goals

Set some initial goals that are challenging yet reasonable. It’s not reasonable to expect to become a billionaire through your writing in the span of a couple of years. It’s also not reasonable to write and publish your first book in six weeks.

An example of a challenging yet reasonable goal is finishing the first draft of your first novel by the end of the year. You could also set a five year goal do you have two books in active circulation under your name. Whatever your goals are, write them down so you remember them and continue to be motivated by them.

Investigate Printing and Publishing Options

Next, you’ll need to begin investigating printing and publishing options. The most conventional option is to work with a publisher, or an agent who serves as a middleman between you and a publisher, to get your book printed and distributed through an existing channel.

However, there are a number of downsides to this, including the fact that publishers tend to be picky about who they take on and you may be subject to many conditions related to your writing.

You can also print your own paperback books online with the help of online printing companies. This is often a more viable and more attractive option for modern authors, since it affords you practically unlimited flexibility and reasonable costs.

Start Writing

Start writing as soon as possible. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, and even if you don’t have a plan for your book, any practice you have with writing is going to be valuable for you eventually. The sooner you start practicing, the faster you’re going to improve.

Create a Brand for Yourself

You’ll be much more likely to find success as an author if you create a brand for yourself. Instead of writing things on a whim, you’ll be writing books that fall in line with the standards and values you set for yourself.

For example:

  •       Target audience. Who are you writing for? Most authors specialize in one target audience so they can maximize relevance for that target audience.
  •       Preferred genre. What is your preferred genre? Are you a specialist in this genre or do you dabble in others?
  •       Personal style. What makes your writing style distinctive? Why should people read you instead of other authors?

Start Networking

Networking is a great way to build almost any career, but it’s especially important for aspiring authors. It’s a perfect way to get acquainted with new publishers and printers, but more importantly, connecting with your future audience and with other aspiring writers.

Generate Buzz

Try to build buzz for your name by publishing articles related to your work, networking on social media, and promoting your personal brand. This is a slow and intensive process, so remain patient during your early stages of growth.

Draft, Print, and Repeat

At this point you’ll be ready to draft, print, and repeat. The first draft of your first book is going to be extremely challenging if you don’t have any prior experience. Even with experience, churning out a full draft can be difficult. Remain patient with yourself and work with a professional editor for authoritative guidance on what you can do to improve your draft.

Not everyone is cut out to be an author, mostly because it takes more hard work than most people are prepared for. But as long as you’re willing to continually improve yourself, and learn from your past mistakes, this could be a viable career for you.