Writer or Author?


Fellow GWIN member Lisa Ivaldi asked, “Do you want me to add Author to your profile?

Author with a capital A.

My heart beat faster as I considered the implications of that particular title.

According to the dictionary, a writer “expresses ideas in writing” or “is engaged in literary work” while an author is an “originator or creator of written work.”

The definitions appear similar, but there is a definite difference, one clearly articulated by many English teachers: “You become an author when your books are published, but if your writings never publish, you remain a writer.”

Best-selling author Dean Wesley Smith has a different take on it.

He strongly believes that “a writer is a person who writes, an author is a person who has written.” According to Smith, writers focus on the process of writing and as soon as they publish one book they’re onto the next. On the other hand, authors devote their energies to promoting their book instead of writing the next one.

It is no surprise that Smith considers himself a writer as opposed to an author, having written more than 100 novels and 200 short stories. And his final advice is sound: “Authors are missing the best promotion tool there is for their old books. Their next book.”

While I agree with Smith’s advice, I tend to gravitate toward the more traditional definition of an author. The word has a more professional ring to it, declaringย  that a writer is finally taking his/her craft seriously.

A fact that wasn’t so apparent when I first launched my second act as a writer.

For three years, I dabbled. Travel writing. Business articles. Blogging, Poetry. Cozy mystery. Angel stories. Memoir.ย  Fantasy. Depending on which online course or workshop I attended, I immediately embraced the new genre and tried my hand at it.

I met with modest success andย  enjoyed seeing my articles, book reviews and short stories in newspapers, magazines and online. Interestingly enough, most editors included the following short bio: “Joanne Guidoccio is a Guelph writer.”

With the launch of my debut novel, Between Land and Sea, close at hand, I feel confident and ready to call myself an Author.



9 responses to “Writer or Author?

  1. Interesting blog, Joanne. I always wondered what the difference was between an author and a writer. Thank you for answering my question. Or answering it as much as a question like this can be answered. I’ll just say…I’m an author who is currently writing her next story ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I imagine you’re very excited about the launch of Adella’s Enemy. It sounds wonderful. Go ahead and call yourself an author. You are definitely worthy of the title. Thanks for dropping by, Jacqui ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Pingback: Melanie Gets Literary | Melanie's Life Online

  3. Interesting to think about…I always referred to myself as an “aspiring author” until I had a short story published, which I think totally qualified me to call myself just a plain ol’ author. But, upon further pondering, when I talk to people, I simply call myself a writer. *shrugs* I like Smith’s descriptions of the words. Thanks for the post!

    • I think we’ve all used the words interchangeably. I didn’t really give it much thought until suggested that I add Author to my profile. I do like the sound of it. Thanks for dropping by, CJ ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I find this an interesting question, and I enjoy reading veryone’s different thoughts on it! I’m a writer; even after I’m published, I’ll still call myself a writer. For me, “author” is my relationship to a specific piece of writing. I can be “the author of _______”, no problem. But if someone asks what I do or about my job, I think I’ll always be a writer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for dropping by, Kate. Like you, I enjoy reading different perspectives on this question. When people ask what I do, I automatically respond writer, at least that’s what I have been doing. On paper and online, I consider myself an author…I wonder if that will spill over into my conversation.

  5. Thanks for exploring this important distinction, Joanne. I’m always struck by how significant wording can be. I believe you’re an author. You have the level of commitment, of craft seriousness, and, oh yes, you’ve also written a book. ๐Ÿ™‚

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