In answering the question, pretend that you have to choose one of the following statements. Which one best applies to you?
- No, I write books for pleasure, not for publication.
- Yes, my books have been published.
- No, my books have not yet been published.
It is a trick question, but the reference to books is pertinent because anyone who writes a book, be it fiction or non-fiction, whether published or not, is an author.
The Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) main definition of author states:
A writer of a book, article, or document.
“The word author is based upon Middle English (in the sense ‘a person who invents or causes something’): from Old French autor, from Latin auctor, from augere ‘increase, originate, promote’.”
Clearly, there’s more to being an author than just writing. I’m informed that when referring to novels, the author is a writer who has the imaginative skills to invent stories by creating plots and characters, and with a degree of originality.
Whilst it is argued that there are no original stories now, just different adaptations, the publishing world is often led by trends. All it takes is one blockbuster to hit the market and, for months or years afterwards, alternative versions of the story scribed by different authors are taken up by publishers. Trends are a lucrative business.
Recently, I was chatting with a lady who works in a library. She said that a current trend of young adult fiction is to include the words “Secrets” or “Lies” in the book’s title. Recently, in general adult fiction, the word “Girl” was a hot favourite.
Since publishers are looking for new talent, perhaps it now pays for the author to create a story as original as possible; however, given that the BBC has just started to show an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, could that genre set a publishing trend in 2020? My library friend suggests it will. In that case, writers: prepare for the long haul! Then again, maybe 2020 will bring that long-awaited blockbuster that the publishers are waiting for.
Book writers – no, authors – it’s up to you! 🙂