When are you an Author?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Author is

  1.  One that originates or creates
  2. The writer of a literary work (a book)

The simple definition is someone who has written something, especially someone who has written books or many books.  I didn’t copy and paste so I may have missed something, but you get the idea.


I came across a few interesting articles the other day as I did an online search for advertising and promoting books.  Especially advertising ideas for Indie Authors.  I’m new to the world of being an Author.  As you can see, I consider myself an Author. Indie Author is just another way to say Author.  For me, I like the Indie label.  I do it all on my own.  From start to finish.  I have creative control, and I have the final say.  All decisions are mine, and I control all aspects of my work.  Indie is not a mark of shame, but a way to let people know the path that I took.

Apparently there is much debate as to who can call themselves an Author.  I read a few articles and their comment sections.  It seems that a lot of people consider a person an Author only if their book is traditionally published.  This isn’t in the definition of what an Author is.  A lot of people commented that Indie Authors are not Authors.  We are writers.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Writer is

One that writes.

The simple definition is someone whose work is writing books, stories, poems; or someone who has written something.


They look almost interchangeable.  A writer writes.  An Author writes.  The difference is that an Author creates or originates a work.  A writer can write something somebody else creates or says, but isn’t originating the work itself.

I have two books on my shelf that I wrote.  I took the time to come up with the ideas, the characters, and the stories.  I wrote them.  I did other things as well, like formatted, and edited.  Regardless, the books are my original creations.  It seems like my work is belittled by the fact that I self-published.  My books are available for sale, just like everyone else’s books are.

I saw one person state that Indie Authors are polluting the pool.  We’re just putting out dribble, and nonsense.  We’re making it harder for real Authors to get their works out there.  I have to question why is that a concern?  If there is a sea of garbage surrounding your traditionally published work, wouldn’t your book rise above the rest?  Your work should speak for itself.  If your story is good, then people will read your book.  If an Indie Author puts out a bad book, then they won’t get any sales.  People will avoid them.

It makes me feel like people are implying that all traditional published books are great, and all self published books are horrible.  When did that become the case?  I have read plenty of traditionally published books that had grammar errors, spelling errors, and punctuation mistakes here and there.  I’ve read some that were just badly written.  Both sides produce good and bad works.

I picked self publishing because this is a passion of mine, but not my full time focus.  I’ve always wanted to be an Author.  My dream was to write a book.  I have a family though, and we have bills to pay.  I have a day job.  I’d love to let a traditional publisher do all of the leg work for me after I write a book.  I’m unknown, and I’m not writing in the popular “churn ’em out fast” book genres that publishers like putting out.  Granted I haven’t tried to contact a publisher, but I don’t have the time or budget to worry about it right now.  I am so thankful and grateful that self publishing exists, because I would never have accomplished my dream without it.

I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to write a book.  I don’t want to wait 18 months per book to be published.  I like that I can self publish at my own pace.  Which is quicker than 18 months or so.

Another point I read was that Indie Authors don’t put in the time, work, or effort that real Authors do.  I have to question that.  The person said that Authors spend years agonizing over their work to get published.  I am in the same situation.  I sat on my first book idea for 13 years!  I wrote out a synopsis, and story line years ago.  I just never got around to writing the book.  I’ve always thought about it, but couldn’t find a time to start it.

I was in the Marines, then I went to college, then I got a job, and then I got married.  Then came kids.  Moving, getting new jobs, and other life events were happening.  I finally sat down and said that it was time.  I would start to write now, or I never would.  So I finally made the plunge.  Yes I can sit there and put out a book every three months, but does that mean that I’m not putting that much into my work?  Writing is my passion.  My books are my creations.  My characters are alive to me.  I sit at a computer for hours almost everyday putting thousands of words to paper.  I’m trying my absolute hardest to put out the best story that I can.  This means a lot to me, and I’m working as hard as I can.

I don’t know.  I think everyone should pursue the best option available to them.  Since there are so many people who can write a book, I think that fact makes it harder for people to get traditionally published.  They can’t take us all on, can they?

There are pros and cons of getting traditionally published, or self publishing.  There could be a million points on each side of the argument.  Some could say that someone who pays a vanity press to publish their book is more of an Author than an Indie Author.  But the Author paying a vanity press is paying a publisher to put their name in their book, and giving that publisher the majority of the royalties.  Is an Author who pays a vanity press to be published on the same level as an Author who is traditionally published?  Is a self published Indie Author anywhere near the same level as those two?  I guess it boils down to who you ask.  Someone who is traditionally published probably looks down on the other two types of Authors.  Vanity press Authors probably look down on Indie Authors.  Indie Authors probably look down on doodlers?  Or people who keep a diary?

I don’t like the distinction.  I like the fact that people are putting their original works out there, and readers have so much to select from now.  It’s keeping the hobby of reading alive, and hopefully reading as a pastime is reaching a wider audience than ever before.  Anyone who created a book, and it’s read by others?  You’re an Author.

No one can tell me that I’m not an Author.  I have two books on my shelf that say otherwise.  I’m working on a third.  I have many more in the works.  When my kids saw my first book arrive in the mail, they asked what it was.  I showed it to them, and asked if they recognized the name.  They both had such a look of amazed shock, that I couldn’t stop smiling.  They said it was my name, and asked why is my name on a book.  I said that I wrote it.  They looked at it, and opened it up.  They thumbed through the pages, and asked if I wrote all of those words.  I said yes.  My eldest looked at me and said, “You’re an Author Daddy!  My Daddy is an Author!”  That moment right there was all of the praise, validation, or acclaim that I’ll ever need.

I know what I am, and my kids love that I wrote books.  They constantly ask me questions about writing books, and tell everyone they know that their Daddy is an Author.    My kids see that I did something different, and they watched as I pursued my dream.  They see that I achieved my dream.  Now they talk about their future dreams with confidence that they will one day achieve them too.  All because I decided to become an Author.



4 thoughts on “When are you an Author?

  1. I have struggled with this distinction for a while myself. I’ve not yet published and I somehow felt that made me not worthy of the author designation. Thank you for your thoughts!!


    1. It’s hard to believe you are what you are, until someone else says it for you. A lot of authors, including myself, need some kind of validation. Little do we know that as soon as we commit to writing the story, we’ve earned that title. If you haven’t published your manuscript, you should still be proud to say that you’re an Author. You’re just waiting publication

      Liked by 1 person

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