It’s easy to use the words writer and author interchangeably. But are they really the same?
They are not! In fact, there are several differences between the two. The biggest distinction is that an author tends to be a full-time professional writer and often has multiple publications. The word writer encompasses a wider set of people, whether they publish books or blog posts, write professionally or scribble down musings.
Simply put: almost all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors. So how do you know whether to classify yourself as a writer or an author?
There is an ongoing debate on how to use the terms writer and author. For the most part, a person who has created a formal literary work—and has published and sold that work—is an author. Many writers, on the other hand, often work behind the scenes as freelance writers or ghostwriters.
Authors are talented and dedicated writers. They tend to have more experience in the researching and publishing fields than those who consider themselves writers. And authors are professional storytellers who may specialize in writing any genre at any length, from short stories to full-length books.
Regardless of whether you work in fiction or nonfiction, to be an author, you must dedicate yourself to your creating and writing craft.
An author might also hire a literary agent, who can help boost the author’s career with book tours, marketing, and publishing. Since an author may need to make a living off creating and crafting works of literature, they often need an agent to help sell their books.
The connotation of the word writer is that it is a more casual title than the title of author. But did you know that you can be a full-time professional writer without being an author? Ghostwriting, content writing, and even editing are all potential professions for a writer.
You can have a lucrative and fulfilling career as a freelance writer—and you’ll always be in demand! Businesses, periodicals, and other professionals consistently hire writers to help create content. Think of all the websites on the internet. Every blog and every page needs to be written.
As a professional writer, you can help clients create blog posts, website content, social media posts, and more! You may not be considered an author, but you will be a successful writer.
Merriam-Webster is one of the most trusted dictionaries available, so it makes sense to rely on its definitions of author and writer! It identifies the term author not only as a noun but also as a verb. For instance, you can author a book or even a law.
As a verb, author is simply a more distinguished term for write. A writer can be anyone who writes anything. An author is a distinguished and professional writer who has published and sold their work.
Authors write, and writers write. But which one is right—for you? Sure, you’re pursuing a career as someone who writes professionally. But will you consider yourself an author or a writer? You want to use the correct title. This isn’t just for accuracy—it will also help you find work. If you’re an author, you might already be hard at work on a new book. And if you’re a writer, you’ll need to market yourself to potential clients.
Not everyone can produce good writing. It is a specialized skill that requires hard work, practice, and experience. But many talented people earn a comfortable living as professional writers, and there are a lot of options available to you if you’d like to pursue this career path.
One of the best ways to earn a living as a freelance writer is to become a ghostwriter. A lot of companies—and the professionals that work within these companies—hire professional writers to create content. A ghostwriter might create anything—a journalistic article, a blog, a screenplay, or something else entirely.
Basically, your employer comes up with an idea and an outline, and you’re the wordsmith who ties it all together. As a ghostwriter you generally won’t receive credit for the content you create. But it’s a great way to make a living!
Another popular option for a professional writer is journalism. The news media and periodicals are always looking for fresh and exciting content. So try it out! Contact as many publications as possible to see if you can secure a consistent writing gig—or at least an occasional writing job.
It’s difficult to become an author. It requires discipline, a lot of hard work, and true dedication to your work. A writer will finish one project and move onto the next. Conversely, an author might spend years on just one book. Here are a few of the aspects of creating a book as an author:
On top of all of that, the book has to be interesting enough to sell to the public! While writers can complete multiple projects in a month, an author is likely engrossed by one work for a year or more.
There are many different specialties in the writing world. As a professional writer, you’ll have many options for job titles to pursue:
And that just names a few! It really just depends on finding your specialty. Do you want to write fiction? Maybe you’ll end up as a published author. Or maybe you want to focus on creating strong content for your clients to post on their websites or in their publications.
Choose your focus, and your title will follow. And as a writer, you might wear different hats and therefore hold multiple titles. You can do whatever you set your mind to. So pick the path that you’re most comfortable with, and get writing!
The world of writing is immense. And that’s a good thing! It allows writers to be successful in many different ways. You can really choose your own destiny as a writer. You can be a freelance writer or ghostwriter and work for companies across many different industries. Or you can make a living writing books and traveling the world on book tours.
Remember: there are different types of writers and authors, and each type has their own specialty. Together, they make up the wonderful world of writing.
In general, writers receive authorship status when they publish a book or a manuscript. So when you as a writer successfully publish and sell your work, you will likely be considered an author. It doesn’t matter if you’ve created a work of fiction or nonfiction; it can even be a short story. If you are successful in publishing and selling your writing, you can call yourself an author!
Very often, the same person both writes and authors a work. Think of the classic novels and short stories that you read in school. Renowned storytellers have been both the author and the writer of countless works of literature throughout history. And you can do this too!
First, in order to author the book, you’ll need to create and outline the story. You’ll determine your story’s voice and take great care in developing the characters. You might also want to bring in your literary agent and publishing company to make sure that your book idea will be a hit.
Next, you can begin the writing process. Use your wordsmith abilities to craft interesting sentences. And make sure the story flows together. You want a lot of people to read and enjoy your work. So make every word in your manuscript count!
Even if you play the roles of both author and writer for your book, you will need help editing. An editor will look at your manuscript with fresh eyes to make sure it’s ready for the public eye. They will put your work under a microscope and look for everything from plot holes to typos.
This is a good thing! You want your editor to catch any mistakes before you try to publish, print, and sell your book. You can’t do everything on your own, so let an expert help you.
While we often think of a work’s author as being the writer as well, that’s not always the case. It’s quite common for an author to hire a professional writer to finish their work.
A professional and published author might add a writer to their team to ghostwrite an entire story. They also might ask a writer to start the editing process and look for ways to improve the language that’s already been written.
Some authors—particularly very famous people who have created multiple successful works—consistently hire professional writers to actually write the words that the public will read.
Writing is an art. It continues to grow and evolve. And like all art, good writing is subject to debate. What makes a person a writer, and what makes a person an author? What are the differences and similarities between these two professions?
It’s human nature to want to express your opinion. Because of that, there are countless opinions on what defines a writer versus what defines an author. This has been an ongoing debate for decades and will likely stick around for decades to come.
Many people agree that all authors are writers but that not all writers are authors. Some avid readers argue that a writer is similar to a student. A student wants to learn, and a writer wants to write. Conversely, they compare an author to a scholar. A scholar is wholly dedicated to their studies just like an author is wholly dedicated to their books.
You’ve heard the terms biographer and autobiographer. These are common titles and household terms. A professional author can create a nonfictional book about a historical person. This involves a great deal of research because the literary work absolutely must be factual and accurate. But who else might put in the work on a biography or autobiography?
Authors sometimes hire professional ghostwriters to craft the language and verbiage throughout their manuscripts. Additionally, authors will need editing teams to make sure their books are ready for publishing and printing. The best authors know that they need assistance to perfect their book before it goes public—and they welcome the help of writers and editors.
You love words. You love reading. And you have a special talent for creating good content. That’s why you’re pursuing a career in professional writing! But there’s more than just a love of wordsmithing that writers and authors have in common.
One of the biggest commonalities that writers and authors share is their ability to accept constructive criticism. Whether you’re working on children’s books, novels, or freelance content creation, your writing will be scrutinized. Your editor and proofreader will point out mistakes. And not everyone who reads your work will like it.
But that’s okay! Writers and authors need to understand that constructive criticism is part of being a professional writer.
Writers and authors have fun and exciting professions. And these professions will be around forever! People will always need to hire content writers, and readers will always want access to new stories.
Elite Authors is here to help you achieve success. Read here to find out how we can help you build your writing career!