How to Become A Novelist

If you are imaginative, disciplined, and have a passion for writing, then becoming a Novelist would be an ideal career path for you. This profession is self-fulfilling and rewarding – apart from the royalty income and media attention, you will also get a chance to change people’s perspectives with your writing.

In order to become a Novelist, you will have to study the craft and polish your writing skills. Read this guide to understand what it takes to join this field. The article will discuss how to become a Novelist and will shed light on the education requirements and career prospects of these professionals.

Should I Become a Novelist?

If you are skilled at translating your thoughts into words eloquently, then a career in writing is ideal for you.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has not published separate data for Novelists, therefore we will use the category of Writer and Authors as our reference point. Refer to the table below to learn about the career prospects and the salary potential of these professionals.

Education Required

Bachelor’s Degree

Major Requirement



Certifications are recommended


Work experience gained through writing in college/high school newsletters and magazines is recommended.

Key Skills

Critical Thinking Skills, Creativity, Adaptability, Persuasive Skills, and Writing Skills.

Annual Mean Salary (2019)


Job Outlook (2018-28)

0% (Little or no growth)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

BLS has forecasted that Writers and Authors are expected to face little or no growth opportunities from 2018 to 2028. The increase in online publications is expected to generate a high demand for these professionals. However, writers employed in the newspaper and periodical publication industry will have fewer job opportunities.

Salary outlook and employment opportunities for Writers and Authors depend on the area they are working in. For instance, the state that had the highest employment level in 2019 was California, with 7,840 jobs, followed by New York (7,680 jobs), Texas (2,580 jobs), Florida (1,910 jobs), and Illinois (1,730 jobs).

Moreover, the top paying state for Writers and Authors was District of Columbia, which paid an annual mean wage of $103,980. Other top paying states included New York, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Steps to Become a Novelist

Step 1: Obtain a High School Degree

The first step involves getting a high school diploma or a GED. With a high school degree in hand, you will be all set to apply for a specialized training program.

Step 2: Get a Bachelor’s Degree in English

After completing high school, you should enroll in a four-year long Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in English. The B.A program offers specializations in various fields such as Literature and Creative Writing. The curriculum of the degree will cover topics related to Theories of Writing and Literacy, Introduction to American Writing, and Interpreting Literature.

Step 3: Practice Writing and Attend Workshops

During college, you should try to set some time apart to write short stories, essays, blogs, and articles. You can also get your written material published in different magazine. Moreover, participating in writing competitions and attending writing workshops is also a good idea. You can check with your university as well as the local bookstores to see if they are organizing any writing events. Such events will give you an opportunity to interact with the writing community and will help you learn a thing or two from established writers. Joining a writer’s group can also help you in many ways – this will enable you to find a mentor who can offer you guidance about the writing process.

Step 4: Consider Enrolling in a Master’s Program

Although a Master’s degree is not mandatory, you can still earn it if you have an interest in learning more about the subject. You have the option of enrolling in a 2-year long Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in English and Creative Writing. The MFA program offers a number of specializations which include: Non-fiction, Fiction, and Poetry. Moreover, these programs also include in-depth peer reviews and writing seminars to help students develop their writing skills.

Step 5: Land a Publishing Contract

In this stage, you should compile your work, refine the final draft, and send it to different publishing companies or agents. Make sure that you follow the submission guidelines of the publishing houses before sending your material. If your manuscript is unique, inspiring, and has the potential of becoming a best-seller, then you might be offered a writing contract in no time.

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