The responses have been steady since I posted the poll that asked the question on whether “writer” is the same as “author.” So far, most readers agreed that “writer” is NOT the same as “author:”
Mary McDonald: “I think that’s one of those debates that will continue through time. I think most see publishing being the point of transition from writer to author.”
Mark Carver: “I’ve always understood the key difference being that an author has published work.”
Stephanie J. Pajonas: “I say I’m an author. It’s my job writing books and publishing them. Writer is more generalized to me. I’m that as well, too.”
Tiegan Dakin: “My definition of a writer is anyone who performs any literary creating, i.e poetry, fiction, nonfiction, etc.
I always saw authors as people whose works had been published online or in print, whether that be in literary magazines or their own novels.”
RYCJ: “A writer can be a writer without publishing his or her work.
An author on the other hand is published… whether he or she “authored” a letter to a friend or Congress, or wrote and published a full length book.”
Laurie Buchanan: “I agree with the other two responders (Tiegan and RYCJ): A writer is someone whose work is yet unpublished. An author is someone whose writing is published.”
It appear that many deem that in order to be considered an author, one must have been published. What vary among these responses are what items (poetry, stories, books, etc.) that are published that would determine one’s status as writer/author. Any further thoughts on these?
Alex for Shaw offered the most extensive response that was different from the rest:
“Writer and author are very similar nouns in their common usage, but writer is a broad term that covers anybody who assembles words. Author usually refers to a writer, but one who is identified with their body of work (however large or small). The implication is that what an author writes has visibility beyond their private sphere.
There are some forms of writing where “author” is not the usual term, such as journalism: one usually refers to the writer of an article, editorial, column or feature rather than the author. With literature “author” is much more common, especially for a creator of prose. With poetry or dramatic works the more specialized “poet”, “playwright”, “dramatist” or “screenwriter” are often used, leaving “author” primarily as the term for novelists.
Finally, “writer” is descriptive of what the person does. It derives from the verb, from the action (just like the word “scribe”). “Author” in contrast is synonymous with “creator”, hence phrases like “author of one’s own misfortune” to describe someone who has gotten themselves into trouble. While “writer” deals exclusively with the mechanical acts of putting pen to paper (or an equivalent: finger to keyboard), “author” refers to the creative aspect, the invention.”
Personally, I’m still digesting this particular one. Anyone agree with her insight on the topic?
From pipermac5 (aka Steve) as of 12/29/2015:
“I am a writer, a blogger, and somewhat of a wordsmith, but I wouldn’t claim the title of “author”. My writings are online and available to all who wish to read them, but none have been “published” as printed-material.”
From bdaiken as of 9/5/2016:
“I think it’s about self perception to some extent. I used to describe myself as a designer who also writes. I would now describe myself as an author who does the occasional design job. Less about how much money you make from each venture, more about where the focus of your life lies.”
*I humbly thank all those who have responded so far. Keep checking back here for new responses as they are added over time!