A book author is one who writes original content for publication in novels, nonfiction books, or textbooks, among other types of books. He or she may work independently, or as a co-author with another person or a team of people, to complete the amount of writing required for a book. Generally, a book author is a freelancer, meaning he or she works independently, and is not an employee as part of a larger company, though there are exceptions. An author may have a legal contract with an agent or publisher, though, to produce a certain amount of material by a deadline.
There is no specific education required to be a book author, though many have pursued bachelor's degrees in English, journalism, or communications. Some will go on to earn master's degrees in creative writing or another fine arts degree. In general, however, the only thing required to be a book author is persistence, a portfolio of previously published work, and of course the ability to write well. Though some people may find that it is possible to get a book deal without having any previously published work, most will find that it is virtually impossible to do this, because most publishers or agents will not even read the work of an unpublished writer.
The actual process a book author uses to write a book will depend on his or her writing style, as well as the type of book she is writing. A nonfiction book or textbook for example, may require extensive research; some writers do extensive research for writing fiction as well. If he or she is collaborating with another person, such as another writer for content or an illustrator for children's books, this will be part of the process as well. Because so many writers are independent contractors, this often means a certain amount of freedom in scheduling.
Some people enjoy this ability to create a schedule, while others find self-motivation more difficult. This could also be true because many book authors spend a great deal of time working alone, and need to be able to maintain concentration and focus. Most will need to write a number of different drafts of a book as well; it can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking years to complete, particularly if a book author is working with an editor throughout the process as well. For this reason, many book authors also have jobs on the side to bring in income while they are writing; alternatively, they might keep several different writing projects going on simultaneously at different stages of completion.