Writer vs Author: The Important Differences

Audrey Hirschberger
August 16, 2023 | 5 mins

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When pursuing a career in writing, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to label yourself. Are you a writer vs author? What makes you one or the other? Is there even a difference between an author vs writer?

Today we will answer all these questions and more: so you know precisely what to call yourself. 

To get started, we’ll set the record straight: yes there is a difference between a writer vs author. But in order to understand the differences between an author vs writer, let’s examine the core definition of the words “writer” and “author” first. 

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What is a Writer?

A writer is, quite simply, a person who writes. It doesn’t even need to be their career. If you write a script, a journal, or the occasional poem, you can still refer to yourself as a “writer.” 

Writers can write fictional or nonfictional content, as well as printed and digital works. Even if the final format of the writing will be on TV or in a play, you can still be classified as a writer. 

Types of writers

When comparing a writer vs author, there are many more types of writers out there. Some common types of writers include:

  • Content writers: Content writers write blogs or website content. This could be for themself, or other people or companies.
  • Copywriters: Copywriters craft written content for marketing and advertising purposes. 
  • Screenwriters: Screenwriters write scripts for movies, documentaries, and television series.
  • Songwriters: Songwriters write lyrics and melodies for songs – and may or may not perform them. 
  • Journalists: Journalists are writers who write investigative articles for print, online, or TV news organizations. 
  • Ghost writers: Ghost writers write up the ideas of other people for money. These writers don’t take ownership of the writing. 
  • Authors: Yes, authors are writers too! When looking at the difference between a writer vs author, all authors are writers – but not all writers are authors. So what is an author? Let’s take a closer look. 

What is an Author?

An author is someone who writes a novel, story, poem or other written work. It doesn’t matter if they write fiction vs nonfiction, or short form vs long form. An author can write a work from any topic on the list of book genres

But what is the difference between an author vs writer? There are three big distinctions.

Writer vs Author: 3 Key Differences 

Here are the three main differences between a writer vs author: 

1. Where the ideas come from

The first difference between a writer vs author is where the idea for the writing originates. To be an author, you must write content that originates from your own ideas. 

If the content is non-fiction, an author’s work must be written in their original voice – and ideally from a unique viewpoint. 

If the work is fiction, the imaginary situation or world must spring from the author’s own imagination. 

So, when looking at a writer vs author, a writer can summarize other people’s writing, or write up what happened in global events, but that doesn’t make them an author. 

2. Ownership/authorship of the writing

The next difference between a writer vs author is the degree of authority or authorship of the person writing. You might think this is similar to where the idea is from, but this has to do with actual intellectual ownership. 

For example, the author of a poem may write anecdotes about the life events that inspired it, or the author of a cookbook may include original ideas and stories in their recipes instead of simply writing the recipes down. 

3. Whether the writing is published

The single biggest difference between a writer vs author is that authors have published their work.

If you regularly post blogs online with your own byline…you are not an author. 

If you have written an epic high fantasy trilogy with 1000+ pages per book, but have never published those books…you are not an author. 

To become an author, you must publish your work. This can be done through a traditional publishing house, Amazon KDP, or self-publishing

In fact, it is easier than ever to become an author thanks to all the avenues for self-publishing. 

How to Become an Author

Now that you know the difference between a writer vs author, it’s time to learn how to become an author!

Learning to become an author isn’t necessarily hard, but it does take a lot of work. You need to improve your writing skills, have the dedication to sit down and write regularly (it’s the only way you’re going to finish that book), and form a plan to edit and publish your book once it’s finished.

You might want to take some online courses to improve your writing skills, or try using a writing prompt generator to get ideas. Then, you want to create a writing schedule you can stick to. Pencil your writing sessions into your calendar and treat them like any other non-negotiable appointment. 

Make sure you have a distraction-free workspace. Then, get to writing!

Once you’ve finished your book, the hard part starts – editing. While you can certainly self-edit your book, if it’s your first one, I highly recommend finding a book editor. You will likely go through multiple rounds of editing, encompassing different types of editing, to ensure your story arc, point of view, and word choice are all up to snuff. 

Last but not least, in order to become an author (and not simply a writer) you need to publish your work. With so many options out there, deciding how to publish a book can be a bit overwhelming, but that’s what our team is here for!

How Long Does It Take To Write A Book?
• How to Write a Book in 12 Simple Steps

Ready to Make the Leap from Being Writer to Becoming An Author?

If you’d like to take the next steps in self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place. At selfpublishing.com, we offer classes, advice, and plenty of services for authors to help you learn how to successfully self-publish your next big hit. 

You will have everything you need to turn from a hobby writer to a published author before you know it. Why not get started?

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