Sunday, September 13, 2009

What does it mean to be a "real" writer?

Over at Nancy Famolari's blog, there's a discussion going on over what it means to be a "real" writer.

I was flabbergasted when I read that Nancy had dealt with a group who defined "Published Author" as someone who had received an advance from a publisher. This rather snobby definition exclude authors who have been published in magazines, e-zines, e-books, self-published and by small presses who can't afford to offer advances.

Nancy asks the question: "What does it mean to be a real writer?"

Personally, I distinguish the terms "writer" and "author." A writer is one who writes. Anyone can be a writer. A writer becomes an author when he or she sees their work in print. They don't even have to receive a paycheck for their writing. The process of being published, regardless of the terms of that publishing, makes a writer an author.

Although some means of publishing are more socially acceptable than others, they are all valid methods.

What do you think? What makes a "real" writer?


Vivian Zabel said...

Very true, Crys, there is a fine line between writer and author.

Nancy Famolari said...

Great response, Crystalee. I have to admit I thought the organization was incredibly snobby and with no particularly good reason! You're right, having your work in print, sharing with others is a good definition of being a real author. Thanks for responding!

Dawn Embers said...

I agree that you have a great response Crys. Another distinction that I've found interesting, one that Mur Lafferty discusses on her podcast, is between a professional author and one who isn't. She refers to it as part of her introduction because she doesn't claim to be a professional yet.

I believe professional equated to: getting professional rates for short stories/magazine/anthology work which is about 5 cents a word or so. And for novels I don't quite remember what qualified. But the standards had to do with what qualified for a certain Guild or Organization.

It is a very interesting topic, to say the least.