Whether reading books and other printed materials, writing original content, or a combination of both is your passion, there are lots of interesting and lucrative careers for book lovers.
Some of these career paths hold great potential while others may require a dedication to devoting a large portion of your time and effort to achieving your goal. However, the one thing they have in common is that they can feed your hunger for the printed word in whatever form you prefer.
As a bibliophile, you may be just as interested in creating the next great American novel as you are in reading it. Here’s some key information you need to know to help you decide if the life of an author is right for you:
Writers create written content such as:
- Movie scripts
- Articles for various print and online publications
- Advertising jingles and content
They may freelance or work on contract to publishing houses, publications or even advertising agencies. The sky is the limit since they can write fiction or non-fiction on any subject or topic imaginable. Of course, there is more to being a successful author than simply putting words down on paper or in digital format.
Successful writers must have top-notch grammar skills, and with the increase of digital information and technology advances, experience working with various types of software programs and publishing platforms is a plus as are graphic design skills.
Fortunately, age is no obstacle and even octogenarians have been known to write and publish a best seller (see photo of the 85-year old real estate broker turned author above).
Authors must create compelling and unique content that persuades readers to accept a point of view, purchase a product or service or feel certain emotions. Good written communication skills are key as are persistence (finding work and dealing with rejection is tough) and determination to become successful.
If your goal is to obtain a salaried position as a writer/author, you might want to start planning for college or make plans to finish if you are already enrolled. Most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, English or journalism for those positions. If you are a freelancer who does not possess a degree, you may be able to use related work experience in lieu of a degree depending on the employer’s requirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2010 median pay rate for writers and authors ranged from $33,840 for all writing occupations to $55,420 for writers and authors. The job outlook, however, is poor with job growth for the next 10 years estimated at just 6%. The baseline for what is considered average job growth is 14 percent, which may lend credence to that old adage about the “starving artist” for those considering a career as a writer.
If you’ve decided a career as a struggling author is not for you, you might want to consider becoming an editor.
Editors are the final stepping stone between the creation of the author’s written work and its actual publication. While the specific duties of an editor depend on where he or she is employed and in what editorial position, typically editors read and proof written content for grammatical accuracy and correct any spelling or punctuation errors. They may also revise content or do fact-checking of statistics and other information.
In addition, they may review author pitches and decide what content gets published and which gets rejected, or they may develop article and content ideas and then match those ideas to the appropriate writer.
Most editorial positions require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in related fields such as English, communication or journalism. Specialized positions such as fashion editors or sports editors may require experience in a related industry. The median wage for editors in 2010 was $51,470 with a projected job growth in the next decade of just one percent.
3. Reporters and Journalists
With all due respect to Lois Lane of Superman fame or Bill Smithback of the Special Agent Pendergast series, the lives of real-life reporters has little in common with that of their fictional counterparts.
Reporters may write about news that is happening in their local community, or they could be assigned to report on global newsworthy events, depending on their employers and assignments. They interview people, do research, check facts and write deadline intensive content on a daily basis.
They may be responsible for uncovering their own leads and news stories, or an editor may assign them to a particular story or event. However, they are literally on the job 24/7 as they need to be alert for news events happening whether they are, and they must be capable of reporting accurately and in an unbiased manner on a wide range of subject matters
Most publications prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English or communication, and those who have work experience or have interned in the industry may get preference in the job search.
The median pay for 2010 for reporters and journalists was $36,000 and as the economy has declined, so has the job potential for those interested in pursuing a journalistic career. The BLS is projecting a 6% percent decline in job growth for this occupation over the next decade.
4. Desktop Publishers
Desktop publishers are adept with computer software and use it to produce a wide range of printed materials for publication in print or online format. They take content from the idea stage to the printed format and do tasks such as :
- Create or edit graphics for illustrations or book and magazine covers
- Convert photographs into digital images
- Design page layouts and formats
The formal education requirements for desktop publishers are varied. Some individuals enter the field based on their work-related experience, while others may obtain an associate’s degree or other type of degree, certificate or award. There has been a sharp decline in the job growth in this industry according to the BLS, and the median 2010 pay was $36,610.
Librarians are responsible for the maintenance of library collections as well as the day-to-day operations of the library. Their duties might include but are not limited to:
- Helping individuals locate the resources they need
- Preparing and leading educational programs
- Selecting and purchasing new library materials (books, movies and so on)
- Organizing and maintaining shelved or archived materials
Depending on the specific requirements of the hiring library, an aspiring librarian may need a teaching certificate, a bachelor’s degree in a related field, and a master’s degree in library science. The job growth outlook is slow with a projected 7% growth in the next 10 years, and in 2010, librarians earned a median income of $54,500.
If you have a dream of turning your love for books into a well-paying career, you are now armed with enough data to make an informed decision about pursuing a job in one of these industries. If you are still undecided about the best career path for you, you might want to read “6 Fastest Growing Careers in the US.”
Alternatively, if you are still in school or just preparing to enter the job market, you may want to consult your guidance counselor for help finding a career to suit your talents and interests. If you are out of school, out of work, or seeking to change to another career, try checking with your local unemployment office to see what resources might be available.
Image of author holding book is copyrighted 2013 by Donna Cosmato, all rights reserved
Image by jeshua.nace under CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Writers and Authors,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm (visited April 17, 2013)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Editors,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm (visited April 17, 2013)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-correspondents-and-broadcast-news-analysts.htm (visited April 17, 2013)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Desktop Publishers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/desktop-publishers.htm (visited April 17, 2013)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Librarians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/librarians.htm (visited April 17, 2013).