Glossary of Writing Careers

See Also: How to use the Web to Find Writing Jobs

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.

26 thoughts on “Glossary of Writing Careers

  1. My teacher told me I should research a career in writing as well as in first grade teaching for my I-Search paper. Thank you for the list of possible careers! This will help me a bit.

  2. I’m doing an assignment in Creative Writing class. I’m in the 12th grade and researching a carreer in writing. I found this site cool jobs in writing.

  3. im a young writer, i have already writen a 150 page book. and i had fun doing it, but i want to see what other things are out there for writing jobs. but, i will probly stick to writing my books when i become older.

  4. I am currently in the crossroads of choosing a career path that I will actually enjoy and not one that gives me the feeling that i might become a robot. Unfortunately i am 27 and have no college experience. I became a massage therapist (which hasn’t done me well) and now work in a stock room for an expensive clothing company. But my true love is putting pen to paper and am considering taking the big step. (big i say because im not sure if the money will be there to support a household).
    So i stumbled across this lovely list of possibilities and really do appreciate it! :-)

  5. I have always loved the art of writing and the wonders of traveling. Even though I am only a freshman in high school, I am constantly searching for future colleges and careers that will satisfy my gnawing hunger for the written word and for traveling our vast planet. I have this dream of being an international freelance journalist, and being able to travel from the Serengeti plains to the Amazon rainforest, simply writing for magazines or blogging, my ideals and adventures. I just wanted to know how practical it this career would be, and what degrees might be necessary.

  6. When I was at school and looking for a writing career – I found nothing substantial. These sorts of in-depth lists and descriptions should be easily available to school kids that excel in english… but they just arent. All you hear is ‘writer’ but few actually reveal how it can be a great 9-5 job, and how possible being a writer is – writers can earn good money.

  7. Thanks for the list, I just started my second college endeavor to sharpen my writing skills that I have been using most of my life. I am presently a pastor. My passion is writing which I have been doing for since the fourth grade. I love to write and feel now its time to take this talent to the next level professionally. Thanks again keep up the good work.

  8. Knowledge is Power..This list helped me to understand that being a writer is logically possible in different forms. Not quite sure where i want to go with this talent at the moment, but i am definately researching. Hope to be writing my own material some day in whatever form God has planned for me. Thank you so much for educating me.

  9. trying to find a future career with any means nessasary. yes that even means going to some website and looking up the possibilities. I aspire to be an author, im just afraid in not good enough.=+[

  10. trying to find a future career with any means nessasary. yes that even means going to some website and looking up the possibilities. I aspire to be an author, im just afraid in not good enough.=+[

  11. I am doing a career report on writing, since its what I’ve always loved to do. Anyways, I love how the careers are all listed and a short description follows it. I hope its useful in my report.

  12. Thanks so much for this list. I love writing poetry and other forms of writing but can’t write a novel to save myself. From this list I’ve found that there are different writing careers out there.

  13. I was looking for the qualifications to be a publisher and I stumbled across this site, then found my way to this page. I’m so glad that I did. I’ve struggled for years in finding a career path to suit me and have recently begun looking into publishing and editing. Seeing this list has been so helpful because I now see so many avenues open to me as a future for my focus when I graduate. Thank you so much for this. Everyone, where I live, seems to think writers make no money and can either be journalist or teach Literature or English. This has given me hope and a focus to say I’m thinking of being a editor-in-chief or a managing editor or a publisher, instead of always responding “Well, I don’t really know…” when asked what I want to do when I graduate from my degree programme.
    I just have one question if you could help me: In terms becoming an editor/publisher which degree programme do you think will be more beneficial a major in COMMUNICATION STUDIES or a major in LITERATURE IN ENGLISH? Thank you once again.

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