Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are YOU an Author?

At what point does someone who scribbles become a writer? When do they become an author?

Lots of people claim to be writers or authors. When you ask them what they do, it can usually best be summed up as 'scribbling'. So what makes a writer/author? Here's a couple of definitions for you to consider, and, yes, the definition of writer conveniently gives me that title.

Writer: A person who writes with aim of being published, not necessarily for reward.

A writer will usually have numerous rejection slips or emails and possibly an occasional piece of writing published somewhere. Anyone who regularly publishes (2-3 times a week) on a blog in coherent and spell-checked prose could be classed as a writer. Posting on forums or other people's blogs doesn't count, neither does contributing to online discussions or 'letter writing'.

Author: A person with a string of published works to their name.

To be considered an author, a person must have had books/short stories/articles published over a period of several years and be making a living from writing. It is possible to be an ex-author, part-time author or aspiring author. Self publication may count, but only for books with an ISBN number and only if a number have been published over a significant period.


Cindy said...

I wouldn't say you need to have a string of published works or even be making a living from writing to be called an author. I would say good, solid publication is probably the biggest thing. Of course self-publication blurs the lines a little, but even if you're not making enough to support yourself on writing but you are making more than you put out to get your work in the public eye, I'd say you're an author.

Martin Willoughby said...

Hi Cindy,

By 'string of published works' I didn't mean a lot of books. It could be one book and several short stories and articles. It just has to be more than a few. As for making a living, I agree with you.

One question to ask about this is, 'when did JK Rowling become an author, as opposed to a writer?' According to my definition probably after book four, which just shows that any definition should only be a guideline.

Have fun