Author or Writer?

I noticed I don’t have a tagline for my blog. Easy enough fix, right?

Apparently not. If you noticed, I still don’t have a tagline.

You see, I couldn’t decide between referring to myself as an author, or a writer. I’ve found that the title of “Author” is only bestowed on someone published. And not just any kind of published. Traditionally published. And not just any kind of writing. Novels. Only novels.

This seems a little elitist to me. Do we only refer to general practitioners, or oncologists, or surgeons as “doctors?” Of course not. Even though there are hundreds of specialties, the public recognizes they all practice medicine. So while there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of published novelists out there, I imagine there are hundreds of thousands of writers who fill in all the words in between. Their writing isn’t any less difficult, or time-consuming. In many cases, it’s even more widely read.  So why are novelists the only kind of writer bestowed with the “author” title?

OK, so I even went the super-cliched route and looked up Webster’s definition. I wasn’t going to admit that, but under each definition is the question, “What made you want to look up [this word],” and this comment caught my eye:

“To see whether it’s now considered a verb, too. To me, a writer writes, and if what that writer wrote is published, then and only then does “author” apply.”

I’m guessing that’s the general consensus among most people, which is why I’m not yet comfortable with calling myself author yet. Even though I’ve had several dozen magazine articles published, I only feel like a writer. And if I were to introduce myself to someone as an author, I know the next question would be “What books have you written?”

I don’t know what the answer is. What about you? If you write novels, but aren’t published yet, how to you refer to yourself when someone asks what you do? If you write in some other medium, what do you call yourself?

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