These are my thoughts based on my own experience and the recent decisions, I have made to ensure I continue to be a writer.
Last February, I went back to my home town. This is the first time I returned home as a published author. My family and friends always knew I wrote poems and short stories but not many of them took it seriously. It was never something I talked about much before with them.
Even when I returned home, I never brought up writing. I guess I felt if they wanted to know more about it, they would ask me.
Some did ask me, mainly the same question. “I heard you are an author now. How is your book coming along?”
You would think as a writer, I would be able to answer the simple question but nothing came to mind. Ok so that is not completely true. The problem is my actual answer, is not exactly something people want to hear or understand. If they knew I could finish writing a novel in a month, if I wanted, they would be shocked and most likely think I was bragging. They want the romanticized answer. “I have spent years perfecting, my novel. I am still working on completing the final pieces.” People want to know it is hard because not everyone can imagine writing a complete book.
Occasionally, I would give them the truth, “The book is going great and is now finished; actually I now have five titles out and am working on three more projects.” I found when I said this most people became quiet and ended our conversation.
I also learned most of my friends and family believed being an Author was more profound than being a Writer. I believed this as well until; I saw a post on Facebook that said “Writers Write”. Funny one quote picture on social media could change someone’s outlook on their dream.
A writer is always writing and working on their craft. An author is someone who has written past tense and sadly stops with one novel. It takes time and preparation and innovation and training to get past the myths society puts on writing novels. Most writers and readers never get past the myths and thus remain authors instead of writers.
What are the Differences?
A Writer writes.
An Author has written.
Simple, right? Nope. Writers are Authors most of the time but Authors rarely are Writers. Confused, yet?
Here is an example…
I am the Author of Whispers in the Storm, Blood Myth, and Sekhmet’s Revenge. I will always be an author no matter if I write again or not. Those works are out there for the world to read, buy, and review. However, if I never write again I am no longer a writer. I must continue to write to be a writer.
Writers are always focused on their current project or the next novel.
Writers are focused on what is next, the future.
Authors are focused on the past, what they have already written.
Today it is very easy to get published with small presses and indie publishing. This is an amazing time to be an Author and a Writer.
An Author strives to finish their work. Their “masterpiece”. Their “baby.” Once it is completed, the novel has been through editors, beta readers, and finally has the perfect cover.
Now, it is time for the Author to make a choice. They can go with the traditional and more accepted route, sending it to an agent or publisher or they can join the new era of indie publishing. The choice is up to the author; neither is wrong but must make sense for the individual.
Choice has been made, the author then goes straight to making sure their time and work is not wasted, by promoting their finished work.
Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and on and on the promotional monster begins. Promotion is all the Author thinks about now. They must get their work out to the masses, after all it is their “baby”, it deserves the time of promoting and nurturing to make it successful.
So now the Writer becomes the Author, all of their writing time becomes promoting time.
A Different Choice…
Finished! Yes! Off to editor and beta readers, now it is time for the next project.
Finally! Edits are back, cover is finished, and Writer does a blurb, gets the book on buying sites but continues to write the new story. Book is indie published quickly and Writer goes back to work on next project, finishing it and getting it proofed while he starts the next project.
Writers after the initial announcement of the book and posting on websites do not promote like Authors. There simply is no time in a Writer’s mind to do such things. The next novel is their only focus. Writing time is more valuable than promotion of an old book.
Writers are inclined to believe their own writing is their best promotion, so they remain a Writer.
A simple break down of things I noticed in my own world…
Writers are people who write the next story.
Authors are people who promote their last story.
Writers receive feedback from simply writing and finishing stories.
Authors receive feedback from sales, promotions, and reviews.
In the new age of indie publishing Writers are going to be told there are ways they must handle their career to be successful. When in reality a Writer, only has to write, unless they want to become solely an Author.
We all must decide why we write.
Do you write to be published, to become famous, or accepted by the industry? If this is why you write then you are an Author.
I am not saying praise and acceptance from peers isn’t a great feeling. It is an amazing feeling but if everyone hated your work would you continue to write? That is the question. If you would not continue then you are an Author. You become a has been… Someone who has simply written past tense.
On the other hand do you write because worlds develop in your mind and you must get them out? Do you love the excitement you get of telling stories? Will you write if everyone hates every word you type? Then you are most likely a Writer.
Can you be both?
YES! The most successful in the field are both but never let the promoting beast take your writing time. The best promotion for any Author or Writer is their next book.