What Makes an Author?


Upon discovering this blog and seeing me refer to myself as an author, someone asked me what works I have published.  I answered the question honestly, explaining that I haven’t had anything published, at least not in the signing a book deal/getting distribution/products in popular book stores sense…not yet.   After typing my response, I suddenly began to question my use of the term author –  Am I an author?  Can I call myself an author if I haven’t been published?  What makes an author?

According to Wikipedia, an author is broadly defined as “the person who originates or gives existence to anything” and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created.  Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.

Looking back to last summer when I wrote my first (30,000+ words) children’s chapter book, Adios, Cusco, I remember how much trouble I had even calling myself a writer.  “Okay,” I said to myself, “I wrote a book, but I’m not a writer… am I?”  Well, yes, of course, silly.  You wrote a book – that certainly counts.  But it took me some time before I began to comfortably wear that title.

Skip forward to two weeks ago when I started this blog.  I registered “A Children’s Poem a Day” and gave myself the user name authorjaymie.  To be honest, I didn’t think twice about it.  Author Jaymie.  Author Jaymie Gerard.  Not only did I want to wear that title, it felt like a good fit – author felt just right.  Why woudln’t I use the word? So there was really no reason to doubt it.  If it ain’t broke… well, you know the rest.

We label ourselves based on what we do, what we believe in, and how we see ourselves.  When we begin a new task and are in that novice stage, we can sometimes diminish the ways that we are already walking our talk.  Sometimes our notions of what we are supposed to look like or what qualifications we are supposed to have can cloud our vision of ourselves.

The bottom line is, if you create things, especially written things, whether or not a publishing company knows you exist, if you feel you are an author, then honey, you are one.  At least, you are in my book!

3 responses »

  1. … exactly how I feel… about so many of the things I do. Recently (yesterday, in fact), I was informed by someone that I cannot really call myself a critic (especially not a callous one) because my blog has no critique, and that I was actually just reviewing photographs and artwork. I could not really refute the claim at all because the person defined a critic as someone who provides positive and negative feedback. My only defense was that I had only featured things I liked so far, because it makes sense to do just that, and that’s why I hadn’t anything negative to say…

    Lol.. I should probably shut everything down and go to sleep…

    But I really liked what you had to say here… and you are an author.. a published one, in fact – online self-publishing is also another facet of publishing ^^

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