What Is an Author?

An author is the originator of a written work such as an article, a book or a play. Although anyone who writes is considered a writer, an author has the copyright of the work and must be held accountable for it. Authors can write fiction or nonfiction. They can also be a specialist in a certain area of writing such as children’s books or technical reports. An author often supplements his or her income by working in other areas such as public speaking, teaching, or research.

Many people use the words author and writer interchangeably, but the word author packs a bit more punch than just “writer.” To be an author requires that you have a formal writing project such as a novel or an essay published under your name. This is a distinction from other types of writers such as freelancers or ghostwriters, who may do the actual writing for someone else and never get credit.

To become an author, you need to dedicate yourself to your craft and master the skill of storytelling. There are a number of different genres to choose from, and authors can write at any length from short stories to full-length novels. The best authors are able to find their niche and develop their own style. Unlike most professional jobs, being an author is not usually a lucrative career path. While some authors can make a decent living from book sales, most must supplement their income with other activities such as public speaking engagements or consulting work.

When writing your book, it is important to include an author bio that tells readers who you are and why they should read your work. It’s also an opportunity to explain any relevant qualifications and experience you have in the subject matter of the book. Some authors have a history of working in publishing houses or magazines, while others might have received awards or accolades for their work.

A good author bio should convince readers that your book is worth reading by highlighting your writing skills, personal experiences and academic background. It should also be a compelling description of the themes found in your book. This is not the place for a hard sell, but you do want to give readers a reason why they should purchase your book over another on the same topic.

The verb author appears in the English language in the late 1500s with both of the meanings it retains today – “to be the author of” and “to originate or create.” The usage of author as a verb vanished for hundreds of years, only to reappear as a resurgent participle in the early 1900s. In this sense, the verb author has been used to describe things like laws, movies, football drives and even technological creations such as the Hubble Space Telescope. The resurgence of the verb has brought renewed interest in the work of literary authors, who are credited with the ideas and words that create the works they publish.