What Is an Author?

Author is a person who writes books, articles or other works for money. Although the terms writer and author are sometimes used interchangeably, an author creates a work from the beginning to the end and is involved in the ideas behind it, while a writer might just execute the written product. The word author is derived from the Latin term auctorem, meaning “founder, master, leader.” It can also be applied to a person who writes for his or her own benefit and enjoyment.

Many people write for a living, whether as journalists, novelists or bloggers. Some of them have become known for their works and are referred to as famous authors. This usually means that their writings have been published in print or on the internet and is read by others. The work they produce is often based on their personal experience, observations and knowledge. Some authors write nonfiction, such as biographies, while others are known for their fictional characters or historical settings.

For example, a person who wrote a book on the history of the United States would be considered an American author and might have been awarded with a Nobel Prize in Literature. Other works, such as plays or movies, are based on the work of professional writers. Some literary works are even based on the lives of real people, such as autobiographies and memoirs.

An author can be an individual, group or institution and may not always have exclusive rights to the final work. For example, some authors work under contract with other entities that own the copyright to a text, such as city governments or media companies. In these cases, the author only has limited control over the final product and must abide by the terms of the contract.

Michel Foucault’s essay “What Is an Author?” challenges the traditional notion of an author as a singular, fixed entity and instead views the concept of authorship as a process that is constantly changing, evolving and fluctuating in response to various historical and discursive conditions. This approach allows for a greater range of interpretations and readings, which might be stifled by a focus on an author’s intentions or identity.

In addition to the information provided in a piece of writing itself, further background on an author can be found in articles and books about them. This may be through magazine, journal or newspaper articles or through Web document searches using the author’s name. Well-known authors may be cited frequently by other scholars and have extensive bibliographies. This is particularly true for literary works that have been translated into other languages or published in different editions. In some instances, a publisher will include information about the author on the cover of a publication or in an introduction or preface written by someone else. The author’s name will also be included in any credits or acknowledgements. In some cases, the author’s name is also incorporated into the actual text itself, such as in a footnote or an endnote.