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What Is a Writer and How Does a Writer Become an Author?


By EelKat Wendy C Allen

What is a writer?

What is the difference between a writer and an author?

What is a writer and how does a writer become an author?

These are incredibly common questions, and equates for one of the single most asked questions I receive.

Publishing is the difference between a writer and an author. A writer is anyone who writes, while an author is a writer who publishes what they write. Elsewhere I have explained how you can become a writer. In this section I will explore the various options you will face on your path to becoming an author. But first let's see how I came to write this.

This article all started because I was asked a very simple question. I was asked it by several people over the course of several years. Each asker had their own spin on the question, each telling a different tale of how they came to think of it. What is a writer and what publishing methods do writers use to become authors?

Most question askers are looking to become writers when they ask me this. They tell me of hopes and dreams and of one day making millions off their bestselling novel. Because their stories were always the same, I think I’ll draw on one story which was quite different, not asked by someone looking to become an author, but rather asked by someone looking to discredit a self-published author.

One particularly mean spirited woman sent me a very long and angry letter filled with hatred for her next door neighbor, explaining that her neighbor “lived on section 8, couldn’t hold down a real job, ONLY had an associate's degree, and claimed to be a writer, but she knew the neighbor was not a writer because, all of his novels were self published and only sold on Amazon.” She railed on for several pages. I replied to ask her why it mattered the guy was on section 8 and she replied back that “only lazy deadbeat bums get section 8 not published authors and real authors don't self publish their books on Amazon”.

Hmmm. I replied back to tell her that 78% of the families currently living on section-8 got there from either a hurricane, a tornado, or a forest fire, and asked how she knew the guy could not hold down a job. She replied back to say that “well he’s a writer!”

I asked what that meant, pointing out that I too was a writer. She replied with “well writing is not a real job!” I asked her if she read newspapers, watched TV or movies, read magazines or novels or college text books”.

She said “yes, but those were written by real writers, published authors, making real money, they don’t live in section 8 and they all have Masters Degrees and they NEVER self-publish their books”.

I replied back to tell her that 84% of all traditionally published writers do not make enough on royalties to reach minimum wage and work 2 part time jobs in addition to writing, and contrary to popular myth, there are far greater famous self-published authors than there are famous traditionally published authors. In fact very few authors before 1968 were traditional published, and most traditional publishing houses were not even founded until the early 1980s.

The method of publishing DOES NOT determine if a person is a writer or an author. The publishing method has nothing to do with it at all.

Prior to 1983 nearly all college textbooks were self published, and outside of Harlequin Romance novels and sci-fi pulp magazines, there was very little fiction traditionally published either. The boom to leave vanity press and self-publishing behind and pursue big house aka traditional publishing for works of fiction did not start until 1982. Clearly she had no clue the history of the publishing industry.

I asked her what the point of contacting me was, what exactly did she want to know, what answer was she seeking?

She replied “I want to know what a writer is. What is the difference between a writer and an author? He says he’s a writer, but I know he’s not because I have a Master’s Degree in English and he only has an Associates Degree.”

Master’s vs Associates seemed rather pointless to me, so I asked why she brought it up. She said “Well, ALL published authors have Masters Degrees in English and Journalism.”

Hmmmm. Odd I can’t think of a single famous published author who has either, I said to her, adding that education has nothing to do with a person is a writer or not, nor does living conditions, heck I was homeless for 7 years and I never let that stop me from writing!

What is the difference between a writer and an author?

What is a writer and how does a writer become an author?

What makes a person a writer and how does a writer become a published author?

A writer, simply put is one who writes. Everyone who writes on a regular basis is considered a writer whether or not they have ever been published.

Writers can mean those who write for newspapers or those who write fiction, those who write for medical journals, or those who write TV sitcom scripts, heck, even a kid jotting down thoughts in their diary is a writer. They are all writers because they all physically write things down. They all get Writer's Block. That is a very general description, I know, but I have to start somewhere, don’t I?

If I was to start detailing all of them, I'd have to write an encyclopedia on the subject, so, for the sake of simplicity, we will assume, in this article, that a writer is one who writes fiction in novel or short story format.

Now, back to the question: What is a writer?

A writer is someone who writes, probably every day or nearly so. Usually they feel compelled to write, as though they have no control over it. It is as though they will die if they cannot write something down. Their every fiber burns with the sensation, the uncontrollable passion, that they must put words to paper in order to survive. They feel every emotion their characters feel: the love, the pain, the horror, the fear, the anxiety, and the lust for adventure. They not only feel their characters, they become their characters. Everything in life sparks a new story idea. They awake at night from their sleep to jot down in notebooks. They pull their car off the road to write down ideas on the edges of maps. They are obsessed with the fever that is known as writing. That is what it means to be a writer.

But how does this writer become an author?

An author however, is generally perceived as a writer who has been published. For some writers, it is enough that they write, publishing their work is not their goal. For most writers, however, the goal is to become a published author. The trick is being published. You have many options. Which one should you choose?

Let's take a look at the various publishing methods you can use for your book:

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UPDATE: June 5, 2017
US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,
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Old Orchard Beach Town Hall and Police Department 
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140+ Gypsies, Blacks, & LGBTQA+ Residents



Have Information?
Please Call FBI Agent Andy Drewer @ (207) 774-9322  

More info on what happened can be found HERE.