Irregular Update: Of Labels

Being a writer is weird. You tend to associate with other writers and you build little pocket communities of writing-inclined folks to get together and support each other whilst writing. You pretty much talk about writing and do your writing in places where you meet with other writers. It’s a strange social order.

One of the strangest things about it, though, is the phenomenon that happens when you spend a lot of time talking about, blogging about, twittering about, and theorizing about the life of a writer.

You begin to make labels. And I’m not talking about genre specific labels. I’m talking about personal labels.

Eventually there begins to be a distinction between “writer” and “author”.

And that, in my opinion, is unnecessary bullshit.

The distinction comes from one of the writing communities that I’ve been involved in. The difference, according to the other writers, is that a Writer is simply someone who writes, where as an Author is someone who has been published, either by a third party, in a magazine or serial, or through self-publishing. By that criteria, I’ve been an Author for more than a year as I started writing for Zombie Training Magazine in 2012, and recently had my first novel published.

What confuses me, though is why do you need to have specific criteria in order to call yourself an Author?  And for that matter, why THAT specific criteria?

I’ve never really seen much of a difference between the two. You write stories, you’re a writer. You write stories, you’re an author. It’s the same thing. You write movies or TV scripts, you’re a screenwriter, not a screen-author. So why the distinction? Why the need for an additional level of labels? I feel like it’s a rather pretentious thing, forcing your labels on to the writing community. A way to distinguish yourself from those who have not been fortunate or successful enough in their endeavours at writing? A goal? You can put “author” on your business card? I think that the distinction is extremely unnecessary and it isn’t a helpful one to the writing community.

What do you think? IS there a difference between being a writer and being an author?


About kaikiriyama

I'm a writer. I write everything from shorts, to novels to screenplays and then some. I like comic books, ponies, zombies, pokemon, monsters, demons, vampires and mythology. I walk a fine line between badass, scary and girly. View all posts by kaikiriyama

3 responses to “Irregular Update: Of Labels

  • LGVazquez

    I can see someone having an issue with a word like “author”, especially in a community setting. A quick dictionary search doesn’t really distinguish the two. Do you think some people take the “author” term to heart? Or do they lord over others because they have 1 or more writing credentials? (I’m not part of any writer communities, so I wouldn’t know). Personally, I’m fine with the title of “writer” …I’d be more happy with the term “science fiction writer” once that happens. But, that’s just my preference.

    • kaikiriyama

      In context, the people I am referring to consider that you are only allowed to be a writer when you have been published in some form outside of a blog or fan fiction, typically by a third party or by self-publishing a book. They have said that you are allowed to call yourself an author even by having a short published in a magazine, e-zine or in an anthology. My facebook page is titled as “Author Kai Kiriyama” because there is a man named Kai Kiriyama who is a singer or model or some form of celebrity in Japan or Korea somewhere, hence the need to differentiate myself. The people who I’m referring to use “Author” as a title of authority, and they use it to lord it over people who haven’t been published in any way. I’m perfectly happy with calling myself a writer. And Luis, you’re a part of MY writing community online here and on Twitter my dear. <3

  • LGVazquez

    Well, thank you, I’m glad to be a part of your community. And yeah, I’d take serious issue with people thinking they can lord over others with a title. You have every right to rail against that. Only you can decide what you call yourself.

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