Job Description:

An author is a specific type of writer who has created and published a book or other significant written work including novels and non-fiction books, children’s books, or poetry. Authors are typically associated with longer, more substantial literary works, such as novels, non-fiction books, plays, or poetry collections. The term "author" is often used when discussing someone's role in creating a specific, standalone work.

Job Category:
Culture, Media & Sport

What you will do:

You could write either fiction or non-fiction, in genres such as novels, short stories, plays or poetry. You could choose a writing specialism, like writing children’s books, travel or technical writing.

You could also write features for newspapers, magazines, radio, film or television, or hold a blog or other social media.

Depending on your role, your day-to-day duties might include:

  • choosing a subject based on personal interest, or on a commission given by agents or publishers
  • coming up with themes, ideas or plots
  • researching information using the internet, libraries and personal interviews
  • submitting your draft to a publisher, either speculatively or through an agent
  • revising your work after getting feedback
  • pursuing publishing opportunities
  • upload your work to websites or social media, or look for publishing opportunities
  • attend book signings, readings and discussions of your work
  • run writing workshops

As an established author, you’ll attend book signings, readings and discussions of your work, or run writing workshops.

The difference between an Author & Writer is than, in essence, all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors. Being an author usually implies that one has completed a substantial creative work and seen it published. Writers, on the other hand, encompass a broader category of individuals who engage in writing activities for various purposes and may write shorter or less formal content.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent written communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an author doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, but there are subjects and skills that can be helpful for developing the writing and creative skills needed for a writing career. Here are some relevant subjects and skills:

  1. English Language: A strong command of the English language is crucial for writing effectively. GCSE English Language or equivalent courses can help you improve your grammar, vocabulary, and writing skills.
  2. English Literature: GCSE English Literature or similar courses can expose you to various literary works and help you analyze and appreciate different writing styles and storytelling techniques.
  3. Creative Writing: While not always offered at the GCSE level, creative writing courses or extracurricular activities can be beneficial for honing your storytelling abilities and developing your unique writing voice.
  4. Reading: Reading widely and often is essential for aspiring authors. It exposes you to different genres, styles, and perspectives, which can enrich your writing.
  5. Research Skills: Research is often an integral part of writing, whether you’re working on fiction, non-fiction, or any other genre. Strong research skills can help you gather information and add depth to your writing.
  6. Critical Thinking and Analysis: Analytical skills can help you deconstruct and understand the mechanics of storytelling, character development, and plot construction in other authors’ works, which can inform your own writing.
  7. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are valuable not only for writing but also for promoting your work, interacting with readers, and collaborating with publishers or editors.
  8. Self-Motivation and Discipline: Writing often requires self-discipline and motivation, as it can be a solitary and sometimes challenging endeavor.

While these subjects and skills can be advantageous for aspiring authors, becoming a successful author ultimately relies on your passion for writing, creativity, dedication, and a willingness to learn and improve your craft continuously.

You’ll need to:

  • be able to come up with ideas that will sell
  • have good research skills
  • be able to express ideas in a style suited to your intended audience

You’ll also need to have confidence in your writing, be able to accept criticism and remain positive.

There are a number of things you can do to develop your skills, find out more about the world of publishing and promote yourself, like:

  • joining a local authors’ group
  • entering writing competitions
  • blogging
  • study Creative writing or English

Should you wish to study through University:

You’ll need a high level of writing skill and talent. To develop these skills, you could get a qualification like a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • creative writing
  • communication and media
  • English language or literature
  • creative and professional writing
  • journalism

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll work on a self-employed, freelance basis. You’ll choose your own working hours, although you may still have to meet publishing deadlines.

Career Path & Progression:

You could self-publish, in traditional print format, online or through e-books.

You might be able to promote your work by entering literary competitions, become a book critic or teach creative writing in colleges.