Author Vs. Writer Vs. Novelist Vs. Published

Tue, Jul 7, 2009

Personal Writing Journey

Author Vs. Writer Vs. Novelist Vs. Published

WOW author, LuAnn Schlinder proposed an interesting thought lately in her own post entitled Author Vs. Writer. From my perspective, I haven’t got a clue. I tend to call myself a writer in my head at least, given I write in several mediums such as these blogs, a few magazines and I write fiction also.

But I don’t – yet – consider myself an “author”. For whatever reason, I picture “authors” as those people sitting up front of a group of interested people, presenting their latest book, maybe at a Book Industry event, or a library, or a reading group, or certainly at a school. So, for me, at least, the title of author comes when one is published in a physical (and virtual ebook at a push) format.

This is somewhat inconclusive, however. Because then you get to other authors – those of short stories, perhaps. Do short stories maketh an author in my own mind? I’m not so sure. As a person who did write a short story for a competition, and sat up on a stage and stood in front of a podium presenting it to an audience, am I therefore an author given my previous criteria? Even if I were to suggest the short story in question was also published – online and not by myself – does that suggest to me that I am finally an author?

No. Sadly enough, for me, it doesn’t. It is obvious now that somehow the title of “author” for me is something I am ultimately aiming for in my fiction work. I want to be a successful and perhaps even recognised, author of novels. That, for me only, is how I think of authors, as a goal to aim for.

Even worse – I don’t personally consider authorship sits with non-fiction work. Those who have written encyclopedias or self-help manuals, or the latest easter craft books or copywritten for websites or magazines, or written articles for magazines (some of which I’ve personally done) or even blogged (er-hem) are not – in my own mind – considered authors, but rather writers. But then there is more mud in my own theories, because what of the memoir writers and diarists? Particularly those who have had their diaries published? What of the Diaries of Anne Frank, for instance? Is there an author there? Even post-humously?

Being a writer is not at all anything lesser than being an author, however. I consider both to be a worthy title. And I am very proud to consider myself part of the writing world also, and to hold the title of “writer” on some resumes and collections of the body of my own work and life.

But, with some consideration, it seems my own mind supplements the words “author” with that of somebody who creates entire fiction based worlds and characters, and not somebody who deals in facts or journalism, or even writes and is published in poetry or short stories. (I’ll wash over the diarist then, or never get away from my own thinking…)

What is this entire fiction based world then, that I so erroneously consider to make an author? It would be easy to just shrug away all my theories and suggest that authors are those who write novels. But I also consider children’s book writers as authors – and some of those are only a few pages long, shorter than many short stories. However, for script writing, I have no such concept – is a movie, play or television script writer an author or not? I have no idea. So it’s something about the format then, rather than the type of writing, and that’s as far as I can go with analysing my own – admittedly error-ridden- thinking of what is the difference between a writer, novelist, author or even what medium of publication suffices to make one sit in such titles.

I know that my own thinking is possibly not shared by many who write, and perhaps shared by a few who do. It’s one of the conundrums of being a writer, and one not helped by media and publicists at all. It’s not a big deal however, and at least, with my fiction work, I now know more simply what I am aiming for.  Ultimately, I want to consider myself to be a novelist / author.  And while I work on that, I’m most certainly a writer, and sometimes even a published one. For me, being both a writer and author are part of my own life roles.

LinkMe : The WOW article which started this all off – Author Vs. Writer

Image Credit : Photo taken in-world of Second Life, last night. That’s me at a Writer’s Meet.

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This post was written by:

Michelle - who has written 262 posts on Juiced On Writing.

Michelle Thompson is building a career in both non-fiction and fiction writing. She's blogged for several years, and has previously written for arts, hobby and blogging themed magazines and websites. Her current work involves writing for some group blogs, pursuing a Second Life, and freelancing for some Second Life magazines. In fiction, Michelle is currently working on her second and third novels.

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3 Responses to “Author Vs. Writer Vs. Novelist Vs. Published”

  1. Gary Dale Cearley Says:

    Michelle,

    I have written a couple of non-fiction books. I personally believe that the term author denotes anyone who has published a book of original content.

    Gary Dale Cearley

  2. Cathy Clamp Says:

    Interesting topic. I have a similar view. I wrote materials and gave workshops, but didn’t consider myself either one. Then I pubbed in magazines and was a “writer.” Later I published fiction and became an “author” Now I consider myself a writer and author. It’s even on my business cards. Other friends consider ALL forms to be “authorship” because of copyright. Copyright doesn’t contemplate a “writer.” Doesn’t exist. All so subjective, y’know?

    Good post! You’re flying around Twitter in RTs. :)

  3. Trevor Hampel Says:

    This debate seems to be quite the in thing on writer’s blogs at present.

    My take on it is quite simple: when I write I am a writer, whether that be a poem, story, blog post, shopping list or email.

    When that piece of writing is made public, that is, published, then I have become an author. Published means many things: printed in a book, newspaper or magazine etc., performed in public (poems, plays etc) or even self published (as in a blog post).

    For more on the way I think on this topic see
    #are-you-a-writer-or-an-author/



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