Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Authors vs. Writers

"Authors are rareified creatures, you know, who write serious fiction."
"And writers...?"
"Write books people buy," she explained, with a twinkle of mischief.

- Susanna Kearsley, Named of the Dragon


  1. That is an interesting view between the two. I wouldn't agree just because if I'm reading it right then people who don't sell don't qualify as either. I call myself a writer but I haven't sold anything yet.

  2. Well, actually Dawn, if you don't sell any books then you must be one of those serious authors. LOL!

    Hmm, I guess that makes me one, too. Wait, she didn't say anything about *finishing* books, did she? I guess I'm neither of those things, then.

  3. Well, I think I'd rather be a writer then.

  4. i've heard the words defined in this way: you're an author if you have a published book and a writer if you don't. why do we make the distinction? is there really any difference? and does it really matter?

  5. Michelle, I think that perhaps the definition you've heard (which I've also heard) is making the distinction between a paid profession and a hobby. Also, "writing" could include any number of things (blogging, magazine articles, journaling, etc.) while "author" I think refers solely to books.

    I think it matters in terms of public recognition of one's work, as opposed to just scribbling for personal enjoyment. It would be interesting to check a dictionary.

  6. Interestingly enough, I did look in the dictionary and both terms refer to writing for a profession, but "author" only refers to books and "writer" to multiple forms.

    I think more to the point is the dichotomy between those who write for some deep artistic satisfaction (i.e. literary authors) and those who write popular (i.e. genre) fiction. I definitely would class myself in the second category.


I apologize for the word verification. I hate it, but the spammers made me do it.