Malik Sharrieff

Writer or Author… What’s the Difference!?!

By Malik Sharrieff

Here’s the net version: A writer is someone who writes regularly and receives enjoyment or some value in the process. An Author is an entrepreneur who delivers value to consumers (readers), typically through the production and distribution of literary product, and is fairly compensated for their efforts.

Both a writer and an Author create literary product. That product could take the form of a short story or a novel, a self help or self development guide, or a how-to/DIY manual or textbook. The key difference is how the writer and the Author perceive their place and that of their product in the literary market.

First, a writer primarily writes for purposes of self-expression, mass approval and communication of concepts or ideas they find relevant. For example, If you host a blog, write stories of any length, compose poetry or write articles for the local newspaper; if you like what you are doing or receive any kind of appreciation or payment (financial or not) then you are a writer. So you can write for fun and be a writer, you can hate writing and get paid for it and you are a writer, you can write for the school newsletter to impress your classmates and you are a writer. As long as you write regularly and get something out of it, then you are a writer.

An Author is very different from a writer (in the same way a timber wolf is different from a poodle).

An Author is a business. The Author’s credit is the Author’s brand. The stories, books or articles created by the Author are the Authors products.

The true Author understands that, regardless of how they feel about the writing process, their success lies in how much value their work can deliver to readers. So even if all other aspects are the same, an Author maintains a specific, business-oriented perspective that is customer driven and focused on delivering value first.

It is by delivering real value to the market that an Author can justify compensation. In contrast, a writer expects compensation (in whatever form) simply for the act of writing.

If you truly believe that you are an Author, but your only ambition is to have people love you for your work, or if you think you deserve praise or to be made rich just because you finished that story you’ve been developing over the last 18 months; you are likely setting yourself up for disappointment. And if you think that being a talented writer is enough to pass yourself off as an Author, please understand that you will only be fooling yourself. Any publisher worth his bad attitude will be able to spot a “writer in Author’s clothing” a country mile away.

You need to understand that neither an Author nor a writer is inherently good or bad. However, knowing which one you are will make your literary career a lot smoother.

If you are a writer, that’s great! It’s possible to have a stellar career as a journalist, blogger, or contract writer. And, while it is possible that a writer can be successful selling books, you will absolutely need a traditional publisher to handle the hundreds of business aspects needed to convert your talent into financial success.

Think of why you write. Understand your own motivations and gain clarity on whether writing is a hobby that you want to make money from, or if this is a business that you want to build a life around. These are two very different perspectives and choosing honestly and wisely will dramatically change the experience of your literary career.

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