Maybe you’ve always thought about writing a book, or maybe you’ve even started a few chapters but you’re wondering what the next steps are. How exactly do you become an author? Well, the good news is that the second you start writing a book, you’re an author, you’re a writer. So congratulations! But how do you become a real author that people recognize? That takes some doing.
Finish the Book
It might sound obvious, but you do need to actually finish a book in order to be a real author. Plenty of writers only have a partially finished manuscript, but very few of them ever actually finish it. So if you want to be an author, you have to have a book to show people. Then, you’re an author.
Get an Agent or Learn How to Self Publish
If you’re going to go the traditional publication route, want your hardback book on the counter at your local book shop, and want to be able to send physical copies to your family, you’ll want to get an agent. Most publication houses will not allow you to represent your house, so you need to send your books or manuscripts to agents to see which one of them will represent you. Once you get an agent, you can start pitching your book to publishers and see which ones will publish or pay you – or both!
If you don’t want to go that route, or if you don’t get accepted by an agent or publisher (it happens), then you can try to learn how to self publish. With platforms like Amazon Kindle, this is easier than ever before, but it still takes a little bit of work. You need to figure out how to create PDF files, a cover image, the correct copyright images, and then you need to figure out the Kindle fee structure. Many self published authors struggle to get the proper royalties from their books from these platforms, so beware.
Network with Other Authors
The important part of becoming an author, aside from obviously making and publishing a book, is to hone the craft. To learn how to write better, to create even better stories, you need to learn from others. This comes in the form of taking classes, going to writing workshops, and having other people critique your work who get the writing process and who have technical experience writing and even publishing books. Don’t just ask your mom to read your book and see what she thinks; of course your mom is going to be excited about it.
Ask for advice, ask for other people to critique your work, and be willing to grow and change to better reflect what you’ve learned. Remember that you’re always an author, but you’re not going to be the best author you can be if you never learn more about what you can do. You will be able to publish better stories and become a well known author if you work hard enough.