A – Author

A

To kick off the A to Z Challenge, I gave myself an easy one. My topic for the challenge (as you can check out here) is writing, and the world of writing, and so there is not much more critical to this than the author. Books don’t write themselves, as I’m sure someone in the history of the world has said before, and so it goes.

The question often comes up: at what point can you call yourself a writer? The answer tends to have to do with writing – do you write? And in a lot of ways, a lot of the time, there are folks who are writers who are not paid for it, or not paid yet, not published yet, what have you. Take most bloggers, for instance. A consistent blogger might not be paid – and power to those who are! – but they are writing.

However, is there a difference between this and being an author? Is Author, perhaps, the concept that goes along with Being Published? Being paid for your writing? Or maybe it has to do more with something specific, about writing specific sorts of things. Authors write novels. Or wait, are those novelists? Authors can write short stories, after all. Or what about screenplays? Plays plays? Poetry? Or are there other words for these sorts of people – playwrights and poets?

Clearly, this seemingly simple term needs some help. How about Merriam-Webster?

A person who has written something; especially : a person who has written a book or who writes many books.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/author

So I don’t know if that’s the answer. One who has written something is an author; they might also be a more specific sort of author, like a blogger or a poet. But still an author.

What about you – what do you think of if someone were to tell you they were an author? What would your assumption be about their work, or what questions would you ask them? Let me know in the comment section down below!

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About CompGeeksDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

17 Responses to A – Author

  1. The difference between a writer and an author? Anyone who writes is a writer, technically speaking. And while the same could be said of an author, I guess (you can author a book, a play, a blog, etc.), I think of the word “author” as a more professional term. Maybe that means you’ve published, and maybe it means you write regularly and take your work serious.

    That’s just my take. I’m interested to see what the masses think.

    Like

    • I like this take – the distinction between one who writes, and one who writes professionally. Or writes, and writes discreet works. But it’s all so subtle and debatable!

      Like

  2. Diana says:

    I’m currently teaching from a book called Everyone’s an Author. I tend to agree with the title.

    Like

    • Everyone could be an author, for sure. Everyone has a unique story to tell. And when you hear a great story, you want to tell people they should write a book, right?

      I could see it. But hey, someone’s already written that book. Hmmm next idea…

      Like

  3. Sue says:

    Almost a Catch 22 question…no matter how you answer, you can get caught up in the debate of who or what determines the author title. As a Family Historian/Genealogist and Blog writer everytime I click on the PUBLISH button, I am a published writer/author…no catch there. Well done for the Letter A. Visiting from the AtoZ List where I am #948…up from your listing of 976. Nice to meet you.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

    Like

    • I have been doing some editing work for a group that already has the content on a website, and is now getting it together for a published book. And they’re worried about things like copyright on images, and deep editing, now… and my opinion is like, hey, guess what, you’ve been published ever since this was online…

      Thanks for the comment! Good luck on the challenge!

      Like

  4. Alex Hurst says:

    We had the same topic! Though we took it to different places. 🙂 My general understanding is as others have already said. I think if you have something published, or on the market, more specifically, you are an author. Until that point, you are a writer.

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s probably the most useful definition, yeah. The thing that separates out the one from the other.

      Great post on Author yourself! I too was writing stories at that sort of young age, that definitely drew heavily on the works of others. I wonder if I still have them lying around…

      Like

      • Alex Hurst says:

        If you end up finding some of your old stuff, be sure to let me know! I like reading that kind of stuff. ^_^

        Like

  5. Gene'O says:

    You are off to a fine start, my friend.

    I had a problem for a long time calling myself a writer – it’s been part of my identity since I was 11 years old and wrote a poem that was so good my classmates all clapped when the teacher read it aloud. But I was uncomfortable saying it out loud until I woke up a few years ago and realized I’ve been paid to write every day for three quarters of my professional career, and have boxes of writing that is not fit for anyone to read while I am alive (I’ll burn some of it before I die).

    I use author more broadly. I consider painters, video game designers, and newspaper reporters all to be authors.

    Diana and I have a saying: “Everyone’s an Author.” We also say “Everything’s an Argument” Those are the titles of two very good composition textbooks, and those titles speak to ideas about the importance of communication and expression to the human experience that we both share.

    I love that you started with “author” and I started with “audience.”

    If you haven’t seen what I’m doing with my A to Z page, you should take a look when you get a minute. I’m looking at everyone who comments on my posts, then starting from the bottom of the list and visiting writing blogs. Linking at least five new ones that I like enough to comment on to this page every day, including Sundays. So, assuming I survive the challenge, at the end we’ll have a list of at least 150 writing blogs on a permanent page. How’s that for a resource?

    http://gno112.wordpress.com/april-a-to-z-2014/

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is the sounds of a phenomenal resource. So I will cheat on having to find new blogs and will just use your list… 😉

      Like

      • Gene'O says:

        LOL, well, if you haven’t visited them yet, it’s easy to find their current post once you have the URL from the day before.

        The potential to meet that many writers in a month excites me.

        Like

        • Oh yeah, once you have their site, from a Gravatar or whatever, you’re there. At least, if they have any sort of good navigation going on.

          I’ve found a few sites for people who are clearly far more professional than I, and seeing the amount of stuff they have going on is exciting! Giveaways, and promoting their work. Definitely some good folks to check out!

          Like

  6. Claire says:

    Great question and discussion! I’ve often wondered myself if I was an author or a writer or both and if the latter, what’s the difference???

    Like

    • It’s like the similar discussion around being an artist – are you an artist by making art, or by having someone pay for your art? I don’t know that I have the answer!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  7. yaykisspurr says:

    To me an author is someone published. A writer writes. I use the words pretty interchangeably as most of the time you don’t talk about a writer unless they are published (except for yourself, of course). I love the simple, broad subjects here 🙂

    Like

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