One of the biggest difficulties standing between people and writing a book is feeling as if they aren’t worthy of being called an author. I’ve fallen into this trap, even though I’ve written several books.
Are there qualifications to be called an author? Yes! You need to have written and published your work.
But are there ways to improve your credibility as an author? Absolutely. Let’s look at a few ways to improve your author status.
Formal Education Not Required
Does having a formal education and training in writing help? The simple answer is yes. But does becoming an author require it? No.
Today’s world offers an amazing assortment of improving your writing right from your desktop. From online videos on YouTube to taking online courses at sites such as Udemy.
Fiction versus Non-Fiction
There is a difference in writing fiction and non-fiction when it comes to your qualifications.
Fiction – the qualifications for fiction can tend to require less, specific technical knowledge about a topic, though you will find that in order to succeed in your chosen genre you will need to exude a certain sense of confidence to your readers.
For instance, in order to write about outer space, you don’t have to actually have been to outer space, however, you’d better get your facts straight about things such as gravity, air, and the like. Readers of this genre will quickly call you out (or ignore your book) if you don’t have your facts straight. So, there are qualifications in fiction, and it’s to do your homework.
Non-Fiction – the qualifications of authoring a book on this side of writing includes being able to establish yourself as having some level of knowledge greater than the average person. This can be both formal and non-formal.
If you’re writing about computer coding, you’d better not only have a grasp of the coding you’re writing about, but a degree tagged onto the end of your name will give the topic more credibility. However, not every topic in non-fiction requires a degree. It may just require experience on the topic you’re writing about.
So I Can Just Write Anything and Publish It?
The real answer to this is, yes. You can publish anything and be called an author. Just the same as you can get a job and do a poor job at it and still be called by the same title as someone who is putting in the extra effort.
But is that enough? Just doing the bare minimum? (I hope you’re shaking your head, no.)
As with any job, becoming an author is like having an entry-level position at work. You start at the bottom and then build your skills as you improve and work your way up the ladder of success.
As with my first book to my latest, I hope that my writing has improved. And this didn’t occur by happenstance. It’s a process.
It was me deciding to read more in the genre where I was writing, to pick up skills along the way, to take online courses and read, read, read! Also, I’ve logged countless hours watching videos about becoming a better author and story structure. Youtube and I have become quite intimate friends at this point.
Though becoming an author takes little more than putting your thoughts to paper and then hitting the publish button, it obviously takes more than that to wear the title and be able to stand behind your books. Improving your skills along the way and studying the topics and genres where you intend to write is not only a good idea, it’s critical to wear a polished author tag.