A book writer is someone whose job it is to write and/or edit books. Although there is no strict definition of what a ‘book’ is, generally speaking, a book is a collection of written material, such as prose, poetry, or Biblical verses. It could include artwork, as well, such as a map or a decorative plate. A book can also be any printed collection of materials, whether physical books, e-books, or audio books. Writers whose primary job function is to create content for e-books and social media may not consider themselves to be ‘traditional’ book writers, but they may still write books, appear in books, or contribute to books.
The amount of money that a book writer earns will depend on a number of variables. What is your experience level? Is the book you’ve written in-house or with an agency? How many books have you written? What genre or categories do you specialize in? What is your rate per hour? Are you a freelancer? How much would you like to charge?
The first and most immediate variable is your experience level. Experience allows you to negotiate your rate, as well as gives you the opportunity to take on more complex projects. The more experience you have, the more confident you can be in your rates. However, that doesn’t mean that you should hold back because you don’t want to seem ‘expensive’. Your experience level should determine how much you’re willing to charge, not the other way around. Your rate per hour will also depend on your experience level. To give you an idea of what to expect, we have compiled a guide that should help you figure out how much money you’ll earn as a book writer.
The Median Annual Salary for Book Writers
According to the New York Times, the median annual salary for a book writer is $52,000. This figure comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks employment across all industries for a variety of tasks. The publication of the New York Times lists salaries for different industries, ranking salaries for jobs that involve writing by comparing them to the overall median. While this figure is not entirely accurate, it does give us an idea of the financial security that comes with being a book writer.
The New York Times also reported in 2019 that although the demand for freelance book writers had increased, many writers were struggling to find work. Several writers told the publication that they had turned down jobs because they didn’t feel that the pay was good enough. They also complained that it was difficult to get work as a freelance writer because there were so many other people also trying to do the same thing. The New York Times wrote that, “With so many people looking for freelancing work, it’s hard to stand out.” This is why we recommend that you get as much experience as possible before you start charging money. Let’s say that you are a good writer and you have a lot of experience. In that case, you could ask for $500 per hour, plus expenses. This should cover you for about a month’s worth of writing. If you can find a better rate, you should take it.
The Most Common Jobs for Book Writers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, book writers primarily write material for either adult or children’s literacy books. Although there are a variety of careers for book writers, writing for children is the most common path. In fact, almost 90% of book writers in the U.S. work in this field. This is partly because children’s books are often a lucrative market, meaning that there are more opportunities for writers to break even, and partly because it is easier for publishers to identify qualified authors for this niche. Regardless, it is safe to assume that if you are a writer, you will be writing for children.
The second most common job for book writers is to edit and/or proofread existing material. This material could be in any form, including books, magazines, or newspapers. Since about 70% of book writers work in some capacity for a publisher, this is usually a part of their job description. However, freelancers also edit and/or proofread materials for a variety of clients, including publishers, magazines, and newspapers. Editing and/or proofreading are both tasks that could take several hours per day to complete, meaning that you could potentially earn a few hundred dollars per week. Alternatively, you could do this work for less than minimum wage and still make a substantial profit.
The Second Most Common Genres for Book Writers
The second most common genres for book writers are biographies and histories (37.8%), followed by:
- self-help / how-to books
- poetry collections
- satirical novels
- science / math textbooks
If you have an interest in any of these topics, consider writing a book about it. With more and more people turning to self-help books and non-fiction crime / biographies / history books, it is quite possible that there will be a demand for your services in the near future. Be sure to develop a reputable website, build your social media presence, and prepare for the occasional book tour (if you’re lucky enough to get published). Your income as a biographer or historian could be substantial, and it will come with the recognition that comes with telling the truth about significant historical events or people.
The Most Common Occupations for Book Writers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common occupations for book writers are:
- editorial assistant / researcher
- academic editing / research
- administrative assistant
- public relations representative
- literary agent
- ghostwriter / proofreader
- web content creator
- content marketing manager
- marketing manager
- book editor
- film / television script reader
- English teacher
As you can see, a book writer’s job can vary significantly, depending on your experience level and what kind of books you want to write. It doesn’t seem like there is a typical path for a book writer. The one constant that you will find is that every book writer’s job is an opportunity to make money, whether they like it or not.