Professional Author

"I write to entertain, inform or persuade. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, dark and chilling or warm and uplifting, comedic or tragic, I’m always trying to tell a story. Literature is my forte, and it is through my grasp of language and grammar that I express myself and my ideas. I am a painter of words and a sculptor of phrases. I will often work with publishers, editors and other authors to make sure my writing reaches its maximum potential. Through hard work and perseverance, I will make myself known I will make myself known to readers, publishers and fellow authors."

Salary Range:

$29,000 - $77,000

The Tip

Being a professional author means being a professional salesperson. The exceptional value of your creativity and storytelling will not sell itself. That’s your job.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Evidence-based Storytelling Skills
  • Ability to use research to develop an evidence-based story

  • Ability to generate story ideas

  • Ability to identify target audiences

  • Ability to create compelling narratives across media

 

Advanced Research & Analysis Skills
  • Ability to critically analyze literature

  • Ability to synthesize key themes from multiple sources

 

Contextual Knowledge
  • Knowledge of human behaviour

  • Understanding of context and values of audiences

  • Essential understanding of topics and themes as they relate to an audience

Advanced Communication Skills
  • Sensitivity to how communications is shaped by circumstances, authorship and intended audience

  • Formulate and defend positions

  • Apply written vocabulary to audience

 

Additional Skills
  • Excel at core organizational skills

  • Excel at intentional curiosity and thoughtful creativity

  • Fundamental business acumen

  • Marketing expertise

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (English) with a minor in creative writing

  • Master of Arts (English literature)

  • Very active in writing professional development workshops and retreats

 

"I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, but was never sure how to go about it. I found that I had a talent for literature, and decided to pursue a degree in English to learn how to better spin my tales."

Employment Experiences:
  • Completed a paid internship at Penguin Random House Publishing

  • Had a short story published in FreeFall Magazine, and was asked to write more in the future. I ended up writing a series of science fiction short stories on a salary.

  • I worked as a retail clerk for a while as I continued to work on my novel and build connections

  • I worked as a creative team member at Wordsworth Writing Camp

  • I published my first novel with Penguin Random House after being given support and advice from other counsellors and creative team members at camp

  • I was asked to teach a course in creative writing to aspiring youths at Wordsworth

  • After my Master’s degree, I taught courses in creative writing at the local college

  • I published a second book with Penguin Random House, and am currently writing the next book in my science fiction series

 

"My epiphany moment was when I signed up for Penguin Random House’s paid summer internship. With a firsthand look at the publishing process, I gained insight into the competitive market of literature and realized how hard I would have to work to get something published. I did everything I could to make contacts within the organization and learn basic sales methods to better pitch my novel. I did a simple part-time retail job to fund my writing, and started small with a local magazine that was willing to publish my work. From there I used my connections to Wordsworth and my newfound credentials to get a job as a creative team member at the camp and worked hard to learn how to teach. I used this to improve my writing, and got my first novel published by Penguin Random House, where I had made a few connections. I was then asked to become a counsellor at Wordsworth, where I taught a course in creative writing. I discovered a joy for teaching, and used the experience to get a teaching job at a local college. I use this career to fund my writing as I continue to make a name for myself as an author."

Community Experiences:
  • Joined creative writing club in my community when I was 15

  • At Wordsworth Writing Camp, I built my network and identified mentors. I now return as a guest mentor to teach others in a course on creativity.

 

"I found many friends and mentors at my local creative club and at Wordsworth, where I first learned how to write confidently and creatively."

Contextual Experiences:
  • I am a Doctor Who fanatic and attend the annual convention in Los Angeles

 

"I take the time and money every year to fly out to Los Angeles for an annual Doctor Who convention. I end up meeting lots of interesting people. It’s great inspiration for my literary endeavours."

Relationships:
  • Met local artist at writing club

  • Met professor at camp

 

"I was introduced to FreeFall by a friend from my local writing club, who got me in touch with someone they knew there. One of the counsellors at Wordsworth turned out to be a professor who shared my interest in science fiction. She ended up mentoring me in the methods of publication and got me interested in teaching."