Archive of Articles about Writing

Glossary of writing careers

The list of jobs a writer can hold will never be complete. You’ll find writers who are programmers, stock traders and business executives. Below is a list of some of the most likely and probably most satisfying careers for people who love to write.

Acquisitions Editor
Most often associated with book publishers, an acquisitions editor supervises the process of finding potential writers to write for their publisher. They often are in charge of negotiations with the writer.

Advertising Writer
See copywriter.

Agent’s Assistant
An agent’s assistant does whatever tasks need to be done for a literary or talent agent. They often act as manuscript readers for an agent, who generally receives far more manuscripts than they have time to read.

Assistant Editor
An assistant editor serves under the managing editor or editor in chief. The generally take over some of their duties, such as managing writers or making story assignments. Often they are assigned a specific section within a publication or broadcast. If so, they may also be called a section editor.

Author
An author is what people classically think of when they think of writers. An author writes books. These books can be fiction or non-fiction.

Columnist
A columnist is the writer of on ongoing, regularly scheduled feature for a publication. They may also syndicate their articles to multiple publications.

Copy Clerk
See editorial assistant.

Copy Editor
A copy editor prepares text for publication. They proofread articles and often act as fact-checkers as well.

Copywriter
A copywriter writes advertising and product descriptions (know collectively as copy) for print and online catalogs, commercial scripts, brochures, direct mail and so forth.

Critic
See reviewer.

Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-chief is in charge of the overall content and production of a publication. This is a managerial position more than an editing position.

Editorial Assistant
An editorial assistant provides administrative support for editors, associate editors and writing/editorial staff. They often perform scheduling, filing, note taking, and other administrative duties. They may or may not perform writing and editing tasks.

Editorial Secretary
See editorial assistant.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor
ESL instructors teach the basic or advanced skills of speaking and writing in English to students who did not learn English originally. They often work in foreign countries.

English Teacher
And English teacher generally works with high school or junior high school classes to teach them English grammar and writing.

Fact Checker
See researcher.

Gag Writer
A gag writer writes for cartoonists, comedians or shows needing humor, generally in short form.

Ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is employed to write on behalf of another person and give the authorship credit to that other person.

Grant Writer
A grant writer researches and responds to grant opportunities for an organization, often a non-profit one. Grant proposals must often adhere to strict rules spelled out by the organization providing the grant.

Indexer
An indexer analyzes the text of a book or other published materials and creates an alphabetized or otherwise organized list of key terms and their locations.

Journalist
A journalist collects, writes, edits, and presents news or news articles for the Internet, magazines, radio, television and newspapers. A journalist may or may not be a permanent employee of a publication or media outlet.

Joke Writer
See gag writer.

Lecturer
See speaker.

Literary Agent
A literary agent represents an author in their dealings with publishers. It is their job to get a manuscript read and sought after by the right people.

Managing Editor
A managing editor administers and directs the editorial activities of a magazine, newspaper, book publisher or other media outlet.

Manuscript Evaluator
See manuscript reader.

Manuscript Reader
A manuscript reader reviews submissions from writers. Generally it is their job to weed out less suitable work and pass on the best of the submissions to an editor such as an acquisitions editor.

Monologist
Much like a storyteller, this person writes and then performs an anecdote or series of anecdotes. Monologist is considered a more prestigious title than storyteller. The term is usually applied to people who perform for an adult audience.

Press Agent
See Publicist.

Production Editor
Production editors often have duties similar to that of a copyeditor, but they are focused on putting the article into its printed form, often using page design packages such as FrameMaker, PageMaker, or Quark Express.

Public Relations Writer
A public relations (PR) writer creates materials that establish and promote a business or other entities’ image and relationship with the public.

Publicist
A publicist’s job is half public relations and half advertising. A publicist promotes an individual, business, or group. They arrange for and often write newspaper articles, and schedule interviews, lectures, or other public appearances. They may also arrange for paid advertising if the client desires it.

Publicity Writer
See Publicist.

Publisher
The publisher is in charge of a publication. Often, the publisher is an owner or has some financial stake in the publication. It is their job to oversee the preparation and distribution of printed material for public sale such as books, magazines, and newspapers. The also tend to set editorial policy, often with the aid of an editorial board.

Reading Tutor
A reading tutor teaches reading skills to young or underdeveloped readers.

Researcher
A researcher must provide or confirm information for published materials written by other people. They do not receive writing credits for their work.

Resume Writer
A resume writer works with job seekers to create resumes, cover letters and other materials that will help them find a job.

Reviewer
A reviewer evaluates the quality of things such as books, films, food, art or theater.

Scriptwriter (Business)
A business scriptwriter writes sales scripts and presentations.

Scriptwriter (TV, Film, Radio, Theater)
A scriptwriter writes copy to be used by an announcer, performer, or director in a film or broadcast.

Speaker
A speaker lectures on a topic or series of topic for an audience, often in an educational or motivational capacity.

Speechwriter
A speechwriter writes presentations, lectures, and speeches for other people.

Staff Writer
A writer employed by a business, publication, or broadcaster to write articles and rewrite press releases or other information.

Storyteller
A storyteller is a performer who generally writes and then performs aloud the telling of a story. This is often associated with children’s tales. When the performance is mainly for adults the performers are generally called monologists.

Technical Editor
A technical editor reviews the work of technical writers or technical professionals to make sure it is accurate from a technical legal, and editing standpoint.

Technical Writer
A technical writer analyzes and writes about specialized subjects such as computers, engineering, science, medicine and law.

Translator
A translator rewrites in one or more languages materials originally created in a different language.

Writing Consultant
A writing consultant is a sort of editor-for-hire that examines someone’s writing for ways that it can be improved upon.

Writing Instructor
A writing instructor generally works at the college level but without tenure. They are hired to teach one or more writing classes that are generally focused on composition or grammar.

Writing Professor
A writing professor is a tenured instructor who has generally been published many times. They are often required to teach only two or three classes a semester and spend the rest of their time writing new materials for publication and mentoring students.

Writing Tutor
A writing tutor works individually with another person to improve their writing. Unlike a writing consultant, the writing tutor focuses on a person’s general writing skill rather than a specific piece of writing.

2 thoughts on “Glossary of writing careers

  1. I’m so glad I found this post! My husband and I just opened a microbrewery, and since he’s the brewer, he pretty much has a built-in career path. However, I had no idea what I want to do with myself. I’ve always had a talent and passion for writing, so I wanted to incorporate that but had no idea how to do so. This list and the included descriptions really helps me envision how I can use my writing to help our business. Thank you so much!

  2. I’m so glad I found this post! My husband and I just opened a microbrewery, and since he’s the brewer, he pretty much has a built-in career path. However, I had no idea what I want to do with myself. I’ve always had a talent and passion for writing, so I wanted to incorporate that but had no idea how to do so. This list and the included descriptions really helps me envision how I can use my writing to help our business. Thank you so much!

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