- Career Path
- What Is a Fiction Writer and How to Become One
Table of Contents
What does a fiction writer do, how to become a fiction writer.
A fiction writer’s job is to write books, stories, plays, and other content to be published in a variety of mediums. While this role is most commonly associated with novel writing, authors also write fiction for other mediums like video and roleplaying games. Fiction writers often have varying titles based on the industry in question; common titles include playwright, scriptwriter, and narrative designer. As a fiction writer, you create materials of a variety of lengths, ranging from single-page stories to full-length novels and screenplays. Other aspects of this job vary. For example, you may work entirely from home on your own schedule, or you may work collaboratively in an office with a team of other designers and creators.
The primary qualifications for becoming a fiction writer depend on the type of writing you want to do. While some people can succeed by writing a manuscript and convincing someone to publish it, most publishing houses prefer to see published work so they can judge the likely financial success of your manuscript. Other fiction writing positions usually require a bachelor's degree and several years of writing experience. Many fiction writers self-publish or work on small-scale projects to gain experience before applying for a position at a larger company. Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of this career requires the ability to adhere to deadlines, exceptional writing skills, and the ability to incorporate feedback from editors.
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What Does a Fiction Writer Do?
Find out what a fiction writer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a fiction writer.
Table Of Contents
Fiction writer job duties.
- Fiction Writer Salary & Outlook
Fiction Writer Job Requirements
Fiction writer skills, fiction writer work environment, fiction writer trends, how to become a fiction writer, advancement prospects.
- Job Description Example
Fiction writers are responsible for creating the stories that readers enjoy. They create characters, settings, and plotlines, then write them down in a way that’s engaging and entertaining.
Fiction writers may work on their own or as part of a team. In either case, they must be able to come up with compelling ideas and develop these ideas into full-length stories. They also need to have strong writing skills so that their stories are well-written and easy to read.
Fiction writers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:
- Writing novels, short stories, or plays according to specific guidelines provided by publishers or producers
- Developing new ideas for novels, plays, or other types of literature
- Reviewing publishing trends and identifying niche markets to target with new fiction titles
- Preparing outlines of plots, themes, settings, characters, and other elements of a story, then writing the text of the story
- Collaborating with editors, illustrators, and other artists on the development of a book’s content
- Conducting research to accurately portray time periods, settings, historical events, and cultures
- Identifying target audiences and tailoring writing style to specific groups
- Developing ideas for storylines, characters, and settings based on existing material or inspiration from everyday life experiences
- Focusing on creating believable characters and dramatic conflict that will engage readers’ interest
Fiction Writer Salary & Outlook
Fiction writers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of fiction they write.
- Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $106,000 ($50.96/hour)
The employment of fiction writers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.
Demand for television and film scripts will largely determine demand for fiction writers. However, because many television shows are produced in other countries, the growth rate for these writers may be tempered somewhat by outsourcing.
To become a fiction writer, you may need to have the following:
Education: Most fiction writers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some writers choose to major in creative writing or English, while others major in journalism, marketing or another discipline. Regardless of the major, a bachelor’s degree in any field can help a fiction writer get their first job.
Training & Experience: Many fiction writers learn the specific skills and techniques of their trade while pursuing their degrees. Some also receive on-the-job training in entry-level positions, such as editorial assistant or copy editor.
Certifications & Licenses: While not necessary, fiction writers can obtain professional certifications to show their competence and dedication to their field.
Fiction writers need the following skills in order to be successful:
Creativity: Fiction writers must be creative to come up with new and interesting storylines, characters and settings.
Storytelling: Fiction writers must be able to tell a story in an interesting and engaging way.
Editing Skills: Fiction writers must be able to edit their work for grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax errors, as well as for flow and overall readability.
Narrative Structure: A good fiction writer understands the principles of narrative structure and how to use them to create an emotionally engaging story. They know how to control the pacing of their story, introduce new plot points at the right time, and build suspense until the climax.
Dialogue: Good dialogue can make or break a fiction piece. A fiction writer must be able to write realistic conversations that move the plot forward and reveal character traits. They must also be able to keep track of all the different conversations taking place in their story and ensure that each one advances the plot in some way.
Most fiction writers work at home, in their own private offices or studios. They may also work in public libraries or in coffee shops. Some fiction writers teach in universities or colleges, and a few work in publishing houses. Fiction writers usually work alone, and they may work at any time of day or night, depending on their inspiration. They may work for long periods of time, or they may take frequent breaks. Some fiction writers work on more than one project at a time, and they may work on several projects simultaneously.
Here are three trends influencing how fiction writers work. Fiction writers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The Growth of Self-Publishing
The growth of self-publishing is a trend that is changing the publishing industry as we know it. With the rise of digital publishing, writers are now able to publish their work without the help of a traditional publisher.
This trend has led to an increase in the number of self-published authors, which means there is now a larger pool of writers competing for readers’ attention. As a result, writers need to be more creative and innovative in order to stand out from the crowd.
More Attention on Literary Fiction
As technology advances, so does the way people read. In recent years, there has been a shift towards reading literary fiction, which is defined as writing that focuses on character development and plot rather than action or genre.
This trend is good news for fiction writers, who can now focus on writing stories that appeal to this new audience. By understanding what makes literary fiction unique, writers can create works that resonate with readers and set them apart from the competition.
A Greater Focus on Diversity
Diversity is becoming increasingly important in the world of publishing. As readers become more diverse, they are looking for books that reflect their experiences and cultures.
This trend is having a significant impact on the types of books that are being published, as publishers are looking for authors who can provide a different perspective. Writers can capitalize on this trend by focusing on diversity in their own work.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your goals, your experience level, and the type of writing you want to do.
If you’re just starting out as a fiction writer, it’s best to start by reading lots of books in your chosen genre(s) and trying your hand at writing short stories or novels yourself. This will help you develop your own unique voice and style. You can also join online writing communities where you can share your work and get feedback from other writers.
Once you have some experience under your belt, you can consider submitting your work for publication. There are many different ways to do this, so research the options that are available to you and choose the ones that best suit your needs and goals.
Fiction writers can advance their careers by writing articles and books that are well received by the public and by critics. Good reviews can lead to more book sales, which can lead to advances from publishers for future projects. In addition, well-received articles can lead to more assignments from editors, which can also lead to advances. As writers become more well-known, they can command higher fees for their work.
Fiction Writer Job Description Example
Are you a wordsmith with a knack for spinning tales? Do you have a vivid imagination and a gift for creating characters that come to life on the page? If so, we’d like to hear from you.
We’re looking for a talented fiction writer to join our team. As a member of our editorial staff, you’ll be responsible for writing original short stories and novels for our publication. We’re looking for someone with a strong command of the English language and a knack for creating plots that keep readers engaged from beginning to end. If you have a passion for writing and a portfolio of work to show for it, we’d love to hear from you.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Write original fiction stories, including novels, novellas, and short stories
- Develop characters and plots for new stories, as well as revising existing ones
- Edit and proofread your own work, as well as the work of others
- Research story ideas, locations, and historical periods to add realism and depth to your writing
- Stay up-to-date on literary trends to ensure your work is fresh and relevant
- Attend writers’ conferences and workshops to network with other professionals and learn new techniques
- Query literary agents and editors in an effort to get your work published
- Promote your work through social media and other channels
- Give readings and talks about your work at bookstores, libraries, schools, and other venues
- Teach creative writing courses at the college level
- Serve on panels and committees related to the literary arts
- Write grants and proposals to secure funding for literary projects
Required Skills and Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree in English, creative writing, or related field
- Minimum 5 years professional writing experience with a strong portfolio of published work
- Exceptional skill in writing compelling fiction stories
- Ability to work independently and with a team to meet deadlines
- Excellent organizational skill and multitasking ability
- Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe Acrobat Pro
Preferred Skills and Qualifications
- Master’s degree in English, creative writing, or related field
- 10+ years professional writing experience
- Experience teaching creative writing courses at the college level
- Familiarity with standard style guides for fiction writing
- Working knowledge of content management systems, WordPress, etc.
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Author Job Description
An author develops original written content for mediums such as advertisements, books, magazines, movies, and television scripts. They also create new ideas for content.
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Author Job Description Template
We are looking for an author to develop creative stories. The responsibilities of an author include writing original stories for novels, plays, television scripts, and movies. Authors also write journals, develop story elements, and rewrite and revise pieces written by other writers.
To be successful as an author, you should demonstrate excellent writing and grammatical skills, creativity, and strong self-motivation. Ultimately, a top-notch Author should have good time management skills, solid knowledge of story elements, and sharp editing skills.
- Developing story elements (characters, plot, theme, dialogue, and style).
- Developing creative ideas for stories.
- Editing pieces from other writers.
- Conducting research to include factual information in stories.
- Presenting drafts for editing in a timely manner.
- Bachelors degree.
- Previous experience as a writer.
- Strong writing and editing skills.
- Able to manage time efficiently.
- Creative and inquisitive nature.
Writer job description, creative writer job description, creative writer interview questions, writer interview questions, author interview questions, editing and publishing job boards.
- College Majors
- Job Search Advice
What is a Fiction Writer?
There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a fiction writer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $37.94 an hour? That's $78,921 a year! Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 0% and produce -100 job opportunities across the U.S.
What Does a Fiction Writer Do
There are certain skills that many fiction writers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed creativity, social perceptiveness and writing skills.
How To Become a Fiction Writer
If you're interested in becoming a fiction writer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 71.7% of fiction writers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 12.3% of fiction writers have master's degrees. Even though most fiction writers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.
Average Salary for a Fiction Writer
What Am I Worth?
States With The Most Fiction Writer Jobs
Number of fiction writer jobs by state, fiction writer education, fiction writer majors, fiction writer degrees, top colleges for fiction writers.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA • Private
2. Harvard University
3. Cornell University
Ithaca, NY • Private
4. Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH • Private
5. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI • Private
6. Northwestern University
Evanston, IL • Private
7. Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, NY • Private
8. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN • Private
9. Brown University
Providence, RI • Private
10. University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA • Private
Top Skills For a Fiction Writer
The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 71.4% of fiction writers listed fiction on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and social perceptiveness are important as well.
- Fiction , 71.4%
- Non-Fiction , 11.2%
- Poetry , 8.7%
- Short Stories , 8.7%
Fiction Writer Demographics
Fiction writer gender distribution.
After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:
- Among fiction writers, 51.9% of them are women, while 48.1% are men.
- The most common race/ethnicity among fiction writers is White, which makes up 74.9% of all fiction writers.
- The most common foreign language among fiction writers is French at 25.0%.
Online Courses For Fiction Writer That You May Like
A unique and exciting introduction to the genre and craft of historical fiction, for curious students, aspiring authors--anyone with a passion for the past. Read classics of the genre, encounter bestselling writers of historical fiction, and discover your own historical archive while interacting with a global community of interested readers...
WRITE YOUR FIRST NOVEL From Inc.com - The 30 Most Popular Online Courses of 2020 "Write Your First Novel" made the list at #15 https://lnkd.in/gZqscmn If you’ve ever had the dream, the desire or even just a vague notion that you would like to write a novel, this course is for you. Whether you are a full-time student, have a full-time job, a family to take care of or all of the above, you can do it. Really! And I will help you get there. In this Course, you will write your first novel. Many...
A fun, interactive workshop to help young writers unlock their creativity, improve their craft, and write better stories...
How Do Fiction Writer Rate Their Jobs?
Top fiction writer employers, most common employers for fiction writer, fiction writer related careers.
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What Similar Roles Do
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Resume For Related Jobs
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About the Job Title "Novelists"
Novelists job description.
Novelists Job Profiles: This is a general writeup based on our research into Novelists positions in the Writer career area. For individual, real-life job profiles of actual people with this type of job, check out our job profiles page.
- Career Field: Writer
- Salary Range: $33660 - $112450
What's it like to be a Novelists?
Duties and responsibilities.
A novelist is a writer who writes books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Developing story elements (characters, plot, theme, dialogue, and style).
- Developing creative ideas for stories.
- Editing pieces from other writers.
- Conducting research to include factual information in stories.
- Presenting drafts for editing in a timely manner
Generally speaking, novelists will need a degree in English or communications. Either of these degrees is will teach aspiring aspiring biographers the key skills they need. Aspiring novelists should aim to complete degrees that focus on creative writing.
Skills and relevant work experience
Novelists need to be creative and have a good imagination. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Passion for the subject, so that they can create interesting and engaging stories that people will want to read
- Research skills, as novelists will need to spend a lot of time researching the ideas behind their novel to ensure they make sense
- Thick skin, as novelists are likely to receive criticism and they must be able to rise above this
- Persistence, as writing is a competitive field so novelists need to be able to keep working hard and marketing themselves
Some novelists will work part time and have another job on the side. Others will work full time. Most biographers will work regular office hours so that they can stay in contact with sources and editors, but many set their own hours.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for writers in the United States was $63,200 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,660 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $112,450. Novelists can expect to earn in this range too.
More often than not, novelists tend to work for themselves. They can progress in their career by building a reputation and publishing best selling books. Alternatively, many writers will eventually become editors.
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Writers and Authors
What They Do
Work environment, how to become one, job outlook, state & area data, similar occupations.
What Writers and Authors Do
Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media.
Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer. Many writers and authors are self-employed.
How to Become a Writer or Author
A college degree in English, communications, or journalism is generally required for a full-time position as a writer or author. Experience gained through internships or any writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial.
The median annual wage for writers and authors was $69,510 in May 2021.
Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 15,200 openings for writers and authors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for writers and authors.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of writers and authors with similar occupations.
More Information, Including Links to O*NET
Learn more about writers and authors by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
What Writers and Authors Do About this section
Writers and authors develop content for various types of media, including advertisements; blogs; books; magazines; and movie, play, and television scripts.
Writers and authors typically do the following:
- Choose subjects that interests readers
- Write fiction or nonfiction scripts, biographies, and other formats
- Conduct research to get factual information and authentic detail
- Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
- Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
- Work with editors and clients to shape material for publishing
Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through clean prose, strong research, and the use of sources and citations. Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the clearest language and phrasing.
Some writers and authors are self-employed or freelancers. They sell their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers. They may be hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.
A number of writers produce material that is published only online, such as for digital news organizations or blogs.
The following are examples of types of writers and authors:
Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately describe important life events.
Bloggers write posts to a Web log (blog) that may pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.
Content writers write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.
Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as an advertising slogan.
Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.
Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.
Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or adapt a book into a movie or television script.
Speechwriters compose orations for business leaders, politicians, and others who must speak in front of an audience. Because speeches are often delivered live, speechwriters must think about audience reaction and rhetorical effect.
Work Environment About this section
Writers and authors held about 142,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of writers and authors were as follows:
Writers and authors may work anywhere they have access to a computer.
Jobs are somewhat concentrated in major media and entertainment markets—California, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC—but improved communications and Internet capabilities allow writers and authors to work from almost anywhere. Some writers and authors prefer to work and travel to meet with publishers and clients and to do research or conduct interviews in person.
Some writers and authors work part time. Most keep regular office hours, either to stay in contact with sources and editors or to set up a writing routine, but many set their own hours. Others may need to work evenings and weekends to produce something acceptable for an editor or client. Self-employed or freelance writers and authors may face the pressures of juggling multiple projects or continually looking for new work.
How to Become a Writer or Author About this section
A college degree in English, communications, or journalism is generally required for a salaried position as a writer or author. Experience gained through internships or any writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial.
Writers and authors typically need a bachelor's degree in English or a related field, such as communications or journalism.
Other Work Experience
Writers and authors can get job experience by working for high school and college newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. College theater programs offer playwrights an opportunity to have their work performed. Many magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain related experience.
Employers may prefer candidates who are able to create a visual story using tables, charts, infographics, and maps. Knowledge of computer software and editing tools that combine text with graphics, audio, video, and animation may be helpful.
In addition, anyone with Internet access can start a blog and gain writing experience. Some of this writing may lead to paid assignments regardless of education. Writers or authors can come from different backgrounds and experiences.
Writers and authors typically gain writing experience through on-the-job training. They may practice and work with more experienced writers and editors before their writing is ready for publication.
Writers may need formal training or experience related to a particular topic that they want to write about.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Some associations offer certifications for writers and authors. Certification can show competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. For example, the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) offers the Certified Grant Writer® credential.
Certification may increase opportunities for advancement.
Writers and authors can get a start by putting their name on their work when writing for small businesses, local newspapers, advertising agencies, and nonprofit organizations. However, opportunities for advancement within these organizations may be limited.
Writers and authors may advance their careers by building a reputation, taking on complex writing assignments, and getting published in prestigious markets and publications. Having published work that has been well received and consistently meeting deadlines are important for advancement.
Many editors begin work as writers. Those who are particularly skilled at identifying stories, correcting writing style, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs.
Adaptability. Writers and authors need to be able to adapt to updates in software platforms and programs, including various content management systems (CMS).
Creativity. Writers and authors must be able to develop interesting plots, characters, or ideas for new stories.
Critical-thinking skills. Writers and authors must be adept at understanding new concepts that they convey through writing.
Determination. Writers and authors must have drive and persevere to meet deadlines.
Persuasion. Writers, especially those in advertising, must be able to convince others to feel a certain way about a good or service.
Social perceptiveness. Writers and authors must understand how readers react to ideas to connect with their audience.
Writing skills. Writers and authors must be able to write clearly and effectively to convey feeling and emotion and to communicate with readers.
Pay About this section
Median annual wages, May 2021
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics
The median annual wage for writers and authors was $69,510 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $133,580.
In May 2021, the median annual wages for writers and authors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
Job Outlook About this section
Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
As traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms, writers and authors are shifting their focus to online media, which should result in some employment growth for these workers.
State & Area Data About this section
Occupational employment and wage statistics (oews).
The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.
- Writers and authors
Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com . Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.
CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.
Similar Occupations About this section
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of writers and authors.
Contacts for More Information About this section
For more information about writers and authors, visit
American Grant Writers’ Association, Inc.
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Association of Writers & Writing Programs
National Association of Science Writers
Society of Professional Journalists
Writers Guild of America East
Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook , Writers and Authors, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm (visited March 03, 2023 ).
Last Modified Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.
The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.
The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.
The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.
State & Area Data
The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.
The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.
The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.
Contacts for More Information
The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).
2021 Median Pay
The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.
Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.
Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.
Work experience in a related occupation
Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.
Number of Jobs, 2021
The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2021, which is the base year of the 2021-31 employment projections.
Job Outlook, 2021-31
The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent.
Employment Change, 2021-31
The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.
Employment Change, projected 2021-31
Growth rate (projected).
The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2021 to 2031.
Projected Number of New Jobs
Projected growth rate.
The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
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Writer: job description
Writers produce articles, reports, books and other texts.
What does a writer do? | Salaries and pay for writers | Typical employers of writers | Qualifications and training | Key skills
Writers are paid to write a variety of texts, including books and articles. Depending on the type of work, they can be either employed or freelance. An advertising copywriter , for example, is a type of writer who produces the text for adverts. Our overview of the different routes into writing careers explains some of the other options including journalism and online content writing.
What does a writer do?
Typical tasks for writers include:
- drafting, writing, editing and proofreading text
- pitching ideas to publishers
- liaising with agents, editors and other publishing professionals
- working with designers, photographers and marketing experts
- contributing to publicity work, such as using social media to announce book launches and engage with readers and attending promotional events
- researching and developing contacts
- negotiating terms and conditions of contracts
- administration, such as keeping track of expenses and filing tax returns.
Salaries for writers
Writers are paid differently depending on the medium for which they’re writing. For example, book authors generally receive royalties (payments for use of your intellectual property that are based on how many copies of your book are sold) and sometimes an advance (a lump sum paid during the writing phase that’s usually deducted from royalties). Writers for websites and magazines may be paid per article, per word or per hour, or they may agree a set fee with the publisher.
Writers tend not to earn high salaries; most people choose the role because they enjoy it. However, a small minority of writers, particularly those who have had their work adapted for the big screen, go on to earn large sums.
Because writers are often self-employed and don’t always earn enough to make a living from their writing alone, our advice on covering your living costs through other work is likely to be helpful.
Typical employers of writers
Writers are typically employed by or paid to produce work for:
- book publishers
- media companies
- newspapers and magazines
- online publishers
- educational institutions
- computer games developers
- film studios.
In-house work, as opposed to freelance, is more common in technical author, copywriting, content development and journalist roles.
You can build experience and contacts by using gig work sites to find writing work. If you’re keen to write books, an agent will provide advice on how to get published and help secure contracts. Useful publications and websites include Writers’ Forum and The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook .
Qualifications and training required
You can become a writer as a university graduate or a school leaver as there are no formal academic qualifications needed. Previous experience from published articles, self-published titles, freelance or voluntary work, or writing competitions can help you explore your writing style and develop ideas.
Many universities, colleges and adult education centres offer short creative writing courses that can be helpful.
Key skills for writers
- Excellent written communication
- Time management
- Personal organisation skills
- Research skills
- Commercial awareness
- The ability to agree and meet a brief
- An excellent grasp of narrative and structure
- The ability to act on feedback
- Attention to detail.
Next: search graduate jobs, schemes & internships
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- View our marketing graduate jobs
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Writer: job description ... Writers produce articles, reports, books and other texts. ... Writers are paid to write a variety of texts, including books and articles