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When Does a Writer Become an Author?

In the world of literature and creative expression, the terms "writer" and "author" are frequently used interchangeably. However, a closer examination reveals some slight nuances between the two, particularly concerning the act of publication. Let's delve into the distinctions between these two titles to gain a clearer understanding of their respective meanings and implications and hear from some published authors who chime in with their thoughts.


A writer embodies the essence of creation through written expression. This umbrella term encompasses a wide array of activities, ranging from crafting novels, articles, essays, poetry, to scripting for various mediums. Writers may traverse diverse genres and platforms, driven by purposes such as entertainment, education, or advocacy. In essence, anyone who wields a pen or taps on a keyboard to give life to written content can rightfully claim the title of a writer.


On the contrary, an author denotes an individual who has ventured beyond the realm of creation into the realm of publication. While all authors are inherently writers, not all writers can lay claim to the title of authorship. Being an author implies a certain level of validation or recognition bestowed upon one's work through formal publication. This recognition can manifest through traditional print formats, eBooks, online platforms, or any medium where the written word finds a home.

Transcending from Writer to Author

The transition from being a writer to becoming an author is a significant milestone marked by the formal publication of one's work. It is the moment when the writer's creative endeavors are unveiled to the world, inviting readers to embark on literary journeys crafted with care and passion. However, this transition is not solely defined by publication but can be influenced by various factors:


The acceptance of a writer's work for publication by a reputable publisher or through self-publishing channels heralds the transformation from writer to author.

Marcia Nicks, author of “My Voice Will Be Heard”, says, “I think a writer becomes an author when the words to be written is developed in the mind, heart and soul.  It is just not manifested until the words are written and published.”


Writers may earn the title of author through recognition and acclaim from readers, critics, or literary circles, even before formal publication.

Daisy Marrs, author of “Woman to Woman:  A Wrong Turn in Life”, and   “The Soul of a Woman:  The Path to Healing, Love and Forgiveness”, says, “A person becomes a writer when he/she puts words on paper when wanting to write in some form such as writing poems. Once the information is put in book form and not published officially one might call themselves a writer or unpublished author.

Some individuals may have written books and don't officially publish them either by self-publishing or using a publisher but will sell them. However, I believe to officially call yourself an author you should have published books or some written work to claim that title.” 

Intent and Identity

Writers who identify themselves as authors, driven by their dedication to the craft and their pursuit of publication, may rightfully claim the title. 

Aisha Cargile, co-author of “A Marketing Fairy Tale: Build Your Marketing Plan Step by Easy Step”, and contributor to “Mentoring Moments:  14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthroughs to Success”,  says, “You can tell you've shifted gears from just writing to being a full-fledged author when you start considering who's going to be reading your work. It's like your writing journey evolves from a solo adventure to this interactive exchange with your readers in mind. Suddenly, it's not just about pouring your thoughts onto paper; it's about how those words resonate with others.

Elements like grammar, crafting engaging storylines, setting the scene just right, and ensuring your writing carries weight and purpose become front and center. Because now, it's not just about you and your ideas; it's about forging a connection with the folks on the other side of the page.”

While the terms "writer" and "author" often overlap, their distinctions lie in the act of publication. A writer breathes life into words, while an author shares those words with the world. The journey from writer to author is a personal and professional evolution, shaped by publication, recognition, affiliation, and self-identification. Ultimately, whether one identifies as a writer, an author, or both, the essence of creative expression remains undeniably potent, transcending titles and labels.


Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC and Enhanced DNA Publishing. Through Enhanced DNA, Denola develops and nurtures individuals and organizations to achieve their Leadership, Communication and Performance goals and objectives. Denola is also an author and publisher and through Enhanced DNA Publishing, assists new and newer authors in publishing their books according to the standards of the Independent Book Publisher's Association (IBPA). Denola retired from Eli Lilly and Company after 27 years where the majority of her career was focused on Employee Relations/Human Resources. Interested in becoming an author? Check out Denola' s award-winning book, Enhancing Your Author DNA: Step-by-Step Publishing Guide

You can connect with Denola on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN Enhanced DNA or send a message to


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