Writer or Author?

Nan Reinhardt

~ By Nan Reinhardt

[This post originally appeared here.]

When people ask me what I do, my answer sometimes depends on how and why they ask the question. If it’s a random, we-just-met-at-an-event kind of query, I choose my answer based on how involved I want to get in the conversation.

I know how bitchy that sounds, but sometimes, you just don’t want to have a long conversation with someone you know for certain is going to immediately chortle when you tell them you’re a romance writer. So those folks get “I’m a freelance copy editor.” Then the conversation can steer toward “Oh, I bet that’s interesting,” rather than a smirking “Really? Like 50 Shades? Heh, heh.” Yeesh…

Sometimes they ask, “What do you do for a living?” That’s easy, I’m a freelance copy editor for a living. I don’t earn enough from book sales to consider it a living, although I’m closer now than I was a few years ago. I can’t give up the editing gigs just yet, and even if I could, I’m not sure I’d would. I love editing almost as much as I love writing.

Then there’s the dilemma of telling someone I’m a writer versus telling them I’m an author. I’ve always differentiated writer from author–my delineation being whether or not I was published. A writer writes. An author writes and sells books, but she also markets and promotes and suffers mightily over rankings on Amazon and making lists such as the USA Today or NY Timesbestseller list. So, based on that criteria, either one works for me at this point. However, before I started this article, I looked up both words and guess what! Webster doesn’t differentiate between a writer and an author.

A writer is “one who writes.” An author is “one who originates or creates; a writer of a literary work, such as a book.”

So am I the only writer who didn’t consider herself an author until her first book was published? And what was it about being indie published that made me doubt my own authority as an author? (See what I did there? A little word play, tee hee.) Why did I not truly feel like an author until I had a 4-book deal with a traditional publisher? If all I ever wrote were articles on this blog, would I be any less an author than the writers who write and sell millions of books? That’s my question for the universe today–how do you define yourself–writer or author? Does it even matter?

As always, mes amies, remember to hold your face to the sun, be grateful for all things, and love well.

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today-bestselling author of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! She is a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. Nan has been a copyeditor and proofreader for over 25 years, and currently works on romantic fiction titles for a variety of clients, including Avon Books, St. Martin’s Press, Kensington Books, Tule Publishing, and HarperCollins, as well as for many indie authors.

Although she loves her life as an editor, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten, a love story between the most sophisticated person she knew at the time, her older sister (who was in high school and had a driver’s license!), and a member of Herman’s Hermits. If you remember who they are, you are Nan’s audience!

Her latest novel, A Small Town Christmas, which is the first book in the Four Irish Brothers Winery series from Tule Publishing is available at book retailers everywhere. The second book in the series will be releasing in Spring of 2019.

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  1. denise - February 4, 2019 Reply

    I go by writer and author….the work I do on a friend’s blog is writing and reviewing, and while I’m the “author” of that work, it’s not the same as the stories I’ve written (and some are published)–that’s my “author” work.

    I think people are more intrigued when they hear the word “author.”

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