My husband often says, "When you retire, you can just sit at your computer and write about books all day long." What fun that would be, to read and review to my heart's content! So, I was excited when Tara, the assistant editor of Pounding The Pavement, suggested they'd like to write an article for Dolce Bellezza. Did I have a topic in mind?" she asked. "Most certainly," I replied. "I'd love to know how we can turn our passion for literature into a career." Now, here it is:
If you’re a book lover like me, you’re at your most comfortable when surrounded by books. Walking into a great library or bookstore, I can feel my blood pressure lowering and the stress dissolving. It’s invigorating, and I can’t wait to either get going on the work I need to do, or to pick up every book around me and read the first page. One or the other.
But how do you turn this abstract love of novels and poetry into a satisfying life path? Here are a few suggestions for jobs that can provide both a life of letters and a way to pay the rent.
If the thought of taking an unpolished piece of work and turning it into a stellar piece of writing sounds exciting to you, you might make a great editor. As an editor, you’d look over people’s writing, make suggestions for revision, and help them come up with titles. Editors also generate ideas for content in books, journals, and newspapers.
Necessary education and skills: You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, and a concentration in English, communications, or journalism can be helpful. It’s also important to love writing, and to be able to express your ideas clearly.
Salary: $36,000-70,000 a year
What better way to show your love of books than to take part in their production? Publishers specialize in many aspects of book selection, design, and production, from picking out which books to buy from authors, to marketing new releases, to selling advertisements for periodicals.
Necessary education and skills: A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement, through job experience is important. Interning or working on a college newspaper can be helpful for getting a better job.
Salary: $36,000-$100,000 a year, depending on position
If you’ve got an artistic bent, consider bookbinding. Bookbinding is the craft of creating books, through shaping their covers, hand stitching, and gluing in their pages. Bookbinders also repair and restore old, rare books.
Necessary education and skills: It can be helpful to take classes in bookbinding, though many binderies offer on the job training. Comfort using tools and a knowledge of graphic arts is also helpful.
Salary: $20,000-40,000 a year
If you’re tired of moaning over how your favorite book was turned into an awful movie, you can take action. Script writers are in charge of adapting books and other media for the big screen. You’ll get paid to obsess over the book and all its details, and to decide what’s necessary for the movie and what can be left out.
Necessary education and skills: You’ve got to have great writing and reading skills, so a bachelor’s in a related field is definitely helpful. Knowledge of film and the production of movies is also key.
Salary: $38,000-70,000 a year; most script writers work by contract and are paid by project.
Indie Book Store Owner
Owning and running an independent bookstore is like assembling your own library of great books, each one chosen at your discretion. As a small business owner, you would supervise employees, advertise for your store, and price your inventory.
Necessary education and skills: Though no formal education is required, a degree in business or management can be a lifesaver for opening a small business.
Salary: $30,000-60,000 a year
Freelance writers set their own schedule and decide when, where, and how much they work. This can be a great job for someone who wants to hone their writing skills, while also having time to read copiously and immerse themselves in a new novel. Freelance writers work for newspapers, magazines, blogs--basically any company that needs writing done.
Necessary education and skills: A bachelor’s in a writing-related field will develop the necessary writing skills. Experience, like interning at a magazine, is helpful in scoring your first gigs.
Salary: $30,000-80,000 a year, depending on experience
Joy Paley is a culture, technology, and science writer from Berkeley, California. She is also a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on online career training for the Guide to Career Education.