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Am I an author or a writer? And is there a difference?
People often use the titles author and writer interchangeably. However, they are not one in the same. And as someone who has been both, I can tell you that while the differences are subtle, they are very important.
Especially when you're hoping to get paid for your writing.
Am I an Author or a Writer and How to Tell the Difference
What is a writer?
In a nutshell, a writer is someone who writes.
Seems pretty simple, right?
And it doesn't necessarily matter what you write. It could be blog content, magazine articles, books, short stories - the exact projects don't really matter.
What matters is that you are writing.
A professional writer is someone who writes with the intention of getting paid for it. There's a bit of debate out there about whether or not you're a professional writer if you've never had any clients or never actually gotten paid.
And while I understand that stance, I believe you become a professional writer the minute you profess that is what you want to do for a living. Just as you can open a store before ever selling a single product, you can give yourself the title of professional writer before collecting on a single invoice.
Professional writers are good with words. They know spelling, grammar, and all the rules of putting them together. And while they might be very good at bringing ideas together into a cohesive story structure, they don't always need to. They just need to know how to put it into words.
A writer can put anyone's ideas into words.
The Role of a Writer
Writers are the unsung heroes of the literary world. They are the ones who bring stories to life, captivate readers with their words, and provide entertainment through their imaginative creations. The role of a writer is to use their skills to convey ideas and emotions in the most effective way possible.
Freelance writing is an excellent way for writers to showcase their skills while also earning money. It can be challenging at times because it requires writers to hone their abilities in different areas such as blogging, ghostwriting, and copywriting. However, it provides numerous opportunities for writers who want to expand their horizons.
- Blogging: Blogging is one of the most popular forms of freelance writing because it allows writers to express themselves creatively. With blogging, there are no set rules, and topics can range from personal experiences to informative pieces on news events or trending topics. A blog can be an excellent platform for writers looking to build an audience and establish themselves as experts in a particular area.
- Ghostwriting: Ghostwriting involves writing content that will be published under someone else's name. While this practice has garnered some controversy over the years, it remains a legitimate form of freelance writing that can be both lucrative and rewarding for those who participate in it. Ghostwriters must possess excellent writing skills while also being able to mimic another person's voice, making them incredibly versatile writers.
- Copywriting: Copywriting is all about crafting persuasive messages that sell products or services. It requires a keen understanding of human psychology so that writers can create content that appeals directly to consumers' needs and desires. Copywriters must be able to write succinctly while still conveying the necessary information effectively.
Creative writing is where many aspiring authors begin their journey. It allows writers to explore different genres, experiment with different writing styles, and develop their unique voices. Creative writing takes many forms, from short stories to poetry to journalism.
- Short Stories: Short stories are an excellent way for writers to showcase their creative talents while also honing their storytelling skills. They provide a way for writers to develop characters and settings in a concise format, making them ideal for those who want to practice writing with brevity.
- Poetry: Poetry is the most challenging form of creative writing because it requires writers to convey complex emotions in a limited amount of space. Poets must use words carefully and deliberately so that every line has maximum impact. It's a beautiful art form that tests writers' abilities like no other.
- Journalism: Journalism is all about telling the truth through the written word. Journalists must be able to research thoroughly while also crafting compelling stories that captivate readers' attention.
They must have excellent communication skills and be able to work under tight deadlines while still delivering high-quality content. The role of a writer can take many forms, but each requires hard work, dedication, and creativity.
Whether it's freelance writing or creative writing or journalism, every writer's goal is the same: To use words effectively and beautifully in a way that connects with readers emotionally and intellectually. Writing may not always be easy, but it's always worth it for those who have a passion for telling stories through the written word.
What is an author?
An author is someone who organizes and structures a concept into a book with the intention of publishing that book.
This tends to lead to more questions such as how long does a book have to be and does it have to be published through a publishing house or does it have to sell many copies?
Any concept that has been structured into a book format of any length with the intention of putting it through the publishing process - either self-publishing or traditional publishing - counts as a book for this purpose.
Guides and eBooks that writers and bloggers throw together and place up on their websites without running through the publishing process? That's a bit of a gray area. There are those of us who believe that the publishing process is what makes them an author, and others who believe just having the book anywhere makes them an author.
The main point, however, is that being an author does not necessarily mean making a living as an author - it is not necessarily your profession. And in many cases (especially in nonfiction) writing is not the author's job.
Many authors (again, especially nonfiction) don't need to know spelling, grammar, or the rules of putting them together. They just need to know the ideas that they want to teach and the impact they want to make, but not necessarily how to put it into words. There are always editors, ghostwriters, proofreaders, and even software that can help with all the technical rules, spelling, and grammar.
An author comes up with the idea that needs to be written.
The Role of an Author
Publishing a Book
Publishing a book is not for the faint of heart. It requires countless hours spent pouring over every word and page, endless revisions, and plenty of rejection letters. And whether you choose to self-publish or go the traditional publishing route with an agent and a publishing house doesn't matter: these two paths are very different but they are equally complex and daunting.
But for those who have the determination to see their work in print, the rewards can be great.
Finding an Agent or Publisher
Finding an agent or publisher is a daunting task that can make even the most seasoned author feel like giving up. The truth is that it takes persistence, patience and a thick skin to navigate the publishing world.
Editing and Revising with an Editor
Once you've found an agent or publisher who wants to work with you, it’s time to start editing. This part of the process can be painful but it’s necessary if you want your book to be successful. A good editor will help you refine your writing so that it's clear and concise while also bringing out the best parts of your story.
Marketing the Book to Readers
The final step in becoming a published author is marketing your book to readers. This means creating buzz around its release date through social media channels, author events and other promotions targeted at people who might be interested in what you have written about.
Writing with a Purpose
Writing for Social Change
Writing has always been a powerful tool for social change because words have the ability to inspire action. Authors who write about issues that matter – from environmental concerns to social justice to political activism – can inspire their readers to take action and make a difference in the world. This is the true power of writing for social change.
Writing for Entertainment
Not all writing needs to be serious or political, however. Writing can also be purely for entertainment purposes. Whether it's a romance novel, a crime thriller or a science fiction epic, writing that transports readers to another world is just as valuable as writing that inspires them to take action.
The key is knowing your audience and delivering what they want in a compelling way. Being an author requires patience, dedication and hard work every step of the way – from creating your manuscript to marketing your book.
Writing with a purpose can also have far-reaching effects on society and provide great personal satisfaction at the same time. Ultimately, whether you are writing for social change or just for entertainment, it’s important that you believe in yourself and your talent as an author or writer.
The Overlap between an Author and a Writer
Several writers may eventually take to authorship, for which they will develop a concept to be published in book format.
And many authors will decide to make that their profession, making a living off the publication of books.
Different Goals in Mind
One key difference between an author and writer is their goals in writing. Authors aim to write works that will be published on a large scale; such publications often involve long periods of editing, proofreading, marketing efforts along with extensive research beforehand - all aimed at creating something that will become widely known among people. Writers have different goals in mind when it comes to their work.
Many freelance writers aim for shorter projects like blog posts or newsletter content creation gigs rather than working on longer-term projects like books as it requires less time commitment and provides more flexibility with their schedules.
When do you Become an Author?
I said earlier: you become a writer when you write. You become a professional writer the minute you decide you want writing to be your job. But when do you become an author?
I disagree. I believe you are an author the minute you decide you intend to get that work published.
And I believe that thinking about yourself as an author - developing your own author identity - is an important part of the entire publishing process. It's hard to try to set up your author platform if you don't even think of yourself as an author yet.
Not to mention, telling yourself that you're not an author just because you haven't been published yet is a surefire way of inviting imposter syndrome in.
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