Writer or Author?

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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, declaring  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.  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 and  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.

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