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Author

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Summary of occupation

Authors compose works of literature including poetry, scripts, articles, novels and works of non-fiction. Some authors prefer to research and carefully map out a story line, whereas others prefer to dive straight into writing with little preparation. Once an author is happy with their written work it is submitted to a publisher where it may be edited and changed for publication. Authors work with editors and publishers to ensure that their creative vision remains intact.

ANZSCO description: Produces literary or other written work for publication or performance. This occupation requires high levels of creative talent or personal commitment and interest as well as, or in place of, formal qualifications and experience.
Alternative names: Writer
Specialisations: Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Screenwriter, Script Writer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An author needs:

  • the ability to write creatively and clearly
  • concentration, imagination and dedication
  • to be able to handle criticism
  • time management skills and the ability to work to deadlines
  • word processing skills.
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Working conditions

Authors can work in a vast array of environments, however quite often they work in offices, libraries or from their home. They work independently for long periods of time, although sometimes they collaborate with other authors or editors. After publication they may work with visual or performance artists.

Authors are also required to participate in some travel, both locally and overseas, for research, to give readings and to publicise their works.

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Salary details

Earnings for authors can vary considerably depending on their level of experience, their negotiated contract, the quality and the commercial potential of their work, and the demand for their work. As an author develops their skills and reputation, their earning potential may increase. 

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Tools and technologies

Authors spend a majority of their time working on a computer with word processing software. They may also use the computer to access the Internet for research. Similarly, they may also use textbooks for research. Some authors prefer to record their ideas or research on a hand held dictaphone.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as an author without formal qualifications as the necessary skills are normally developed through experience and practice. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have completed a formal qualification in writing or a related area.

​Most universities in Western Australia offer courses in creative writing, professional writing, scriptwriting or English literature. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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