Originally Posted by Peter Graham
But these folk are not really writers. They are folk who have written something - which no more makes them a proper writer than me hacking Dave Ten Pints' leg off with the chopsaw makes me a surgeon.
Does that matter? Arguably not. But the person who goes down that route and who loftily calls themselves an author is certainly guilty of vanity.
I get very uncomfortable about distinctions like these. If someone has written a whole book -- however er... experimental (or appalling) -- then they've written a book.
If someone writes, even if what they write is drivel, they're a writer.
Do you have to have a traditional publishing deal to be a 'proper writer'? As someone commented above, there's a fair amount of utter drivel out there, traditionally published, just because people will buy it (vampires -- I'm looking at you).
When I first started reading about writing and publishing I encountered a reviewer's blog where she ranted about how much she hated 'newbie authors' describing what they'd written as 'a book'. I thought then, and I think now, her definitions were pointless snobbery.
I don't want to go all airy fairy about it, but if someone chooses to define themselves as an author, where's the harm?
(I don't even bother looking at self-published books -- or I haven't yet -- because pretty much anything I've glanced at at random has been shockingly poor, so I don't disagree about the mountains of rubbish -- just that the distinctions are difficult to make)