What Does it Mean to Be an Author?


Writers are often referred to as authors, but what does it mean to be an author? Are you a writer if you’ve written a book or an article? What about a novel, a short story, or a screenplay? The answer is yes, but an author is more than just a writer. To be an author, your writing must meet certain criteria and it must be published in some form to qualify as such. Here is what we know about this word, and how it differs from the similar term “writer.”

The Noun

An author is a person who writes a book or other work of literature. The noun comes from the Latin word auctour, which means “the creator of something.” It’s used most commonly in reference to a piece of fiction, though it’s also applied to nonfiction works, such as articles or even scientific papers.

The noun is a broad category, and there are several subcategories. A novelist, for example, writes novels, while a playwright writes plays. Similarly, short story writers and radio dramatists are considered fiction authors. Generally, an author’s name is included in the foreword or preface of their work to give readers a sense of who they are and where they came from. In addition, the back cover of a book may include the author’s biographical information, as well as a list of other works by the same author.

In the past, the verb to author was widely criticized for being unnecessary or pretentious. Its usage has since faded, but a number of writers still employ it to show off their literary sophistication. The Usage Panel sympathizes with this position, but it has no objection to using the noun instead.

For the average reader, knowing the difference between a writer and an author isn’t necessarily important. However, the definition of an author does have some significance. Anyone who writes anything can be considered a writer, but only those whose writings are published are authors. For example, an individual who writes an article about a particular topic on Quora may be considered a writer, but only if the article is titled “About the Author.”

For professional writers, it’s essential to understand how to differentiate these terms to build credibility with their audience. In a world where many pieces of content are sourced from freelancers, it’s vital to be able to distinguish between these contributors and to promote their skills accordingly. This helps authors to gain recognition as experts in their fields, and it gives readers confidence that they’re getting accurate information from reputable sources. This is why it’s so important for writers to clearly identify themselves in their bios, and to state their areas of expertise and credentials when possible. This will help readers to evaluate a piece of writing and decide whether or not it’s worth reading. It will also enable them to contact the author for more information if necessary.