Author! Author?

Question of the week: “When did you first think of yourself as an author?”

There are many avenues in writing.

I can talk about when I first believed that I could write, when others thought that I could write and when I finally thought that I could write a novel.

But what is an “author”?

I wanted to interview a nice young man in town, someone who was also a ‘Brought-in’, because he said that he was an author. I back-pedaled after we spoke for a while because when I asked what he had published, it was just little musings posted in a local free newspaper.

No way would I consider that ‘being an author’.

I always assumed that “author” was the title of a ‘book writer’, and even that should mean when one had been published.

Does ‘self-publishing’ count?

Then yeah, I guess I was an author as a child, because I first wrote when I was probably  8 years old, made books which impressed teachers and family. I was shy, but secure in when I wrote. I stopped, (perhaps I became  more shy?), but I knew that what I had done was more than OK.

However, the term “writer” will always be what comes to my mind about what I am, with all of the different forms my compositions have taken, (and which have been published).

My sister had been writing most of her life and entering a prestigious music contest in a couple of the lyrics categories. In my late 20s, (and bored to death in Idaho), I tried my hand, liked what I did and sent  in four; I won the equivalent of an “Honorable Mention”. (I finally framed the certificate a few years ago). My sister never got over me getting the judges’ attention first time out and in the years she tried, she was never contacted by them.
I knew then that I could put words together.

I knew that I could call myself a lyricist. But breaking into music is too much trouble.

Later on, I  fell into writing articles for newsletters, organizations, and for places of business, such as menu descriptions and services offered. (You think those are just lists? There are subtleties to reel customers in.) I did stories for blogs, articles for e-zines and got a box in a book of compilations of ‘tips’.

Fast forward: A writing friend told me that she was submitting writings for a major religious organization’s annual Christmas card, and the runners-up would be printed into an inspirational book, and that I needed to give it a try. They used my poems; they used none of my friend’s. She could write, but hers didn’t fit their needs, I suppose. My point is, they did not publish all that came to them. The shrine did it again the next year, and the four that I submitted were included once more.

I was a published poet.

I did more and more blogs. I wrote stories, I told stories. I was determined to write a series of three  books with practical advice and true anecdotes. There is no room in publishing for even my first book, which was based on letting  people know that they actually could cook and entertain, but if you are not a celebrity, you cannot get that kind of book published. It doesn’t matter what kind of a celebrity you may be; you just need a ‘name’. (The other books would be likely to have the same problems, although they were not food-related.)
The original idea merged into a blog, although I found that the stories were not as easily assimilated.

I was asked to do this blog; I jumped at it before the foundress changed her mind.

Then I got a big break in a fancy, glossy magazine. I put it together and then the publisher decided that he wanted to put it in a “readers’ stories” category and it needed to be a third of the size I had written. I asked him if I could put a link to the full article. He asked to see it in toto, “to see what  [he] could do with it”. He published it as I wrote it, in full.

That was certainly validation of my writing.

NEVER did I expect to be a novelist.

Until I was inspired.

And I knew that I could call myself an author to myself, and others could call me one when I finished.

That novel has had to take a back burner to life.

It’s taken a backseat to a play, which needs to once again be redone into a story; (I did it badly the first try.) It’s had to wait for a children’s story that needs to be resubmitted, (I didn’t realize that my main publisher  of choice does not like rhyming stories.)

The novel is always in the works, and another one is behind it, trying to get out. Three other stories keep rearing their heads.

So many characters vying for my attention.

I am determined to get them done.

I owe it to them.

I owe it to me.

And I feel strongly that I owe it to The Hound and all of the Foxes , past and present, for keeping me here.

Am I a writer? Yes. Am I a poet? Yes. Had I even been a lyricist? Yes.

In the works. I feel that I am ready now to let others find out.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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9 Responses to Author! Author?

  1. Merriam-Webster’s definition of Author. Noun 1: the writer of a literary work (such as a book). 2: one that originates or creates something: software authors, film authors, the author of this crime

    Cambridge Dictionary says, US meaning: A writer of a book, article, etc., or a person whose main job is writing books: UK meaning: The writer of a book, article, play, etc.

    Oxford Dictionary: A writer of a book, article, or document. 1.Someone who writes books as a profession. 2.The writings produced by a particular author. 3.An originator of a plan or idea.

    And finally, The Free Dictionary. 1. The writer of a book, article, or other text. 2. One who practices writing as a profession. 3. One who writes or constructs an electronic document or system, such as a website. 4. An originator or creator, as of a theory or plan.

    Although the word published is not used in any of these definitions, it is indicated in the descriptions by the use of “profession” and “job.”

    When I looked up “writer,” the definitions were all over the place, including all kinds of things besides books. But, the Cambridge English Dictionary, I think, had the best explanation for the difference between a writer and an author.
    Writer 1. a person who writes books or articles to be published: (note the “to be published.”)

    We’re free to call ourselves whatever we feel comfortable with, but when it comes right down to it, and someone asks you what you do or what your profession is, you have Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, and Oxford to back you up.

    Again, I will always be a writer. When I published my first book (up until then, I’d published nothing, not even online. I only made comments there), I became an author. Because of that, I will always be an author.

    It’s up to you what you decide to call yourself, but if you don’t think of yourself as an author after publishing a book, article, website, blog, or anything that others want to or need to read, you are doing yourself a disservice. Being an author gives you a status, or standing, that will draw people to you to see what it is you wrote. And, Tonette, if you’ve written a novel and published it, whether it was via the traditional method or Indie (a direction more and more traditional authors are going today), you are a novelist. Claim it.

    And regarding traditional or self-publishing, it doesn’t matter. You still have to go to a publisher of some kind, unless you have a printing press in your basement or office. The traditional publishers simply have their own and are usually more well-known for doing the work. Although, I doubt if anyone today has not heard of Kindle Publishing at this point. 🙂


  2. Well, thank you for all of your research , Sharon, but I was thinking more or what is traditional, standard thinking of ‘author’, which wouldn’t mean someone who puts whatever is in his mind that week into a local ad-paper. One can ‘author’ any writings, I suppose, but I don’t think that the member here who offered the topic meant anything other than “BOOK WRITER/NOVELIST: WHEN DID IT HIT HOME?”.
    Except for my kiddie books which I bound in construction paper when I was 8-10, then I can’t consider myself a ‘published novelist’. I am working on one, though, so maybe I can say ‘novelist’, but honestly. ‘author’ will only hit if and when I have finished it.


  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Sounds like you done nearly everything except screen-writing… and I think that’s an excellent foundation for an author or writer or wordsmith. And actually, I think wordsmith is a better descriptor than either of the other two, because that’s what we do!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    We’ve certainly dissected the meanings and nuances of the word this week, haven’t we? Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I look forward to reading that novel once you get it done.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve certainly written a variety of items and dipped your toes into several areas of writing. I look forward to reading your novel when you did finish it. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

    Liked by 1 person

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