The Importance of Knowing the Author of a Work


The author of a work is the person who wrote or created it. This includes literary works such as books, poems, plays and novels as well as nonfiction works such as scientific articles, engineering reports and technical manuals. In some cases, the term can also be used to refer to someone who writes a letter or email, such as an email writer.

The term author is a noun that originated in Middle English around the early 14th century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It is related to the word auctor, which means “founder, master or leader,” and also is associated with authenticator. A variant spelling, authour, emerged in the 16th century and later became spelled with an h.

An author is often referred to as a professional writer, although anyone who writes can be considered an author if their writings are published. The difference between an author and a writer is that authors are usually responsible for the content and structure of their writings, while writers may not.

If you are reading a book, magazine article or web page it is important to know who the author is so that you can evaluate their credibility and accuracy. You can often find out by looking at the author’s name towards the beginning or end of the work or by evaluating their credentials, including academic background and areas of expertise. In addition, it is important to determine if the author has written other works on the same topic and whether they are peer-reviewed or published on a scholarly website (.edu).

Many authors have assistants to help them with the research and writing process, and some even employ editors. A skilled writer can help an author polish up their manuscript and make it ready for publication. It is a good idea for an author to have a well-written biography and to be able to market themselves effectively to potential publishers.

A common mistake that people make is to confuse the words author and writer, as they are similar but have different meanings. An author is a person who has originated a written piece like an article or a book and is held accountable for it, while a writer is just a general word that describes anyone who has ever written anything, regardless of the contents or quality of the write-up.

Some critics have criticized the resurgence of the verb author, saying it is an unnecessary or pretentious synonym for write, but others point out that the word has a unique connotation in that it implies a significant amount of editing and vetting prior to publication. An author can be a person or a company, and can include scientists, engineers, businesspeople and even politicians. For example, a scientist working on a project might have to get the permission of an author at a university before his or her research can be published in a peer-reviewed journal. In this way, the word author can convey a sense of legitimacy and importance that the general verb write cannot.