This is a question that’s asked a lot on YouTube and on
other social media sites by people who either are writing a book or people who want to write a book.
Everyone has a different answer to this question. At one
extreme, some people say that you are only an author or a writer once you’re
making a lot of money from books you’ve written. This is a very unpopular
opinion, as it would mean that lots of people who are generally considered authors or writers by most other people
would now lose the title – it would be a fairly useless definition. At the
other end, some people say that you are a writer if you write. This definition
is, in a literal sense, completely true, but also so broad as to possibly make
the title ‘writer’ useless.
Now, I’ll start this post by saying that actually I really
don’t mind how anyone else decides to use these terms – you want to call
yourself a writer or an author? Go ahead – it doesn’t bother me. I’m not
writing this post to try to suggest a ‘right’ definition for these terms – use whatever
criteria you want.
The reason why I’m writing this post is because I had strict criteria that I used for myself – before I would call myself an ‘author’ – and it was very rewarding. And other people may also find it rewarding, so I thought I’d write it down in a blog post, in case anyone else wants to do it too.
(I’ll also say at this point that I’ve never really had any
interest in the word ‘writer’ – I technically am a writer, but I’ve never used the word to describe myself. The
word I’ve always fixated on is ‘author’ – the rest of this blog post is going
to be about the word ‘author’, but it could equally apply to ‘writer’ if that’s
the term you prefer.)
I only started referring to myself as an ‘author’ once I’d
published my first fiction book (which was Zolantis back in 2018). I had been
writing fiction for many years before that, but I only allowed myself to start
using the term once I had published some of that fiction in my first book.
There weren’t any criteria on what kind
of book it had to be – it didn’t have to be a novel (in the end it was, but
Zolantis wasn’t planned as a novel – it’s really more of a long novella). It
didn’t have to sell loads of copies either – in fact I didn’t care if it didn’t
sell any copies at all. It just had to be a book, and it had to be published.
Doing it this way was very motivating, because for the
entire time before publishing
Zolantis, I really wanted to finish a book, so that I could start using the
title ‘author’. The desire to have a book of which I was the author, and to be able to start using the title ‘author’,
gave me the drive to finish Zolantis. And then when I did finish it, not only did I have the reward of a book that I
could hold in front of me that was mine, but I could also start using the
And this would be my advice to anyone else: if you wait
until your first book is published before using these terms, it will drive you
to finish that first book (and the first one is often the hardest one to