Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
To Tell If You Are A Literary Snob > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

To Tell If You Are A Literary Snob

"I don't know if I should put 'writer' on my business card," I murmured.

"Then don't," my wife said in her infinite wisdom. "Put 'author' on it."

"But if I put 'author' on, none of those big companies with overflowing coffers will want to hire me as a writer," I said, wondering if George Bush needed a speechwriter or if General Motors wanted someone to write the owner's manual for next year's Oldsmobile.

"Fine. Put 'writer' on your card then, and all those fancy people you give it to will know you can write for them."

"But writer looks so small," I pointed out. "I also want Fortune 500 companies to hire me as a speaker, and nobody important hires a writer to speak. They hire authors."

"OK, why don't you put both?" she offered.

"Ho, right. That'll impress them. A writer who can't even write his own business card with duplicating his redundancies," I said. "I might as well shoot myself with my own sword."

In the end, I put "author", figuring I would get most writing jobs over the Internet, but when I speak live I would have to hand out cards to lots of people. An author's autograph would make those people giddy as strawberry Jell-O on the Amtrak Express. Those same people would search nervously for a graceful retreat from the company of a mere writer.

What is it about being an author.? You can author an article or a report or just about anything. And you can be the author of just about anything (including "your own misfortunes"). But you can't be "an author - period" unless you've published a book.

Big warning: writing a book does not count. I have a friend who wrote a book. That makes him a writer, not an author. When he publishes it, only THEN will he be a real author and only THEN will he be entitled to learn the authors' secret handshake. Don't try sneaking into the clubhouse on the scant pretext that your wrote a book. Anybody can write a book. Even a writer. You have to publish the book to get through these gates of glory.

But if my friend does publish, and he does become an author, and he does learn the secret hand shake, then he'll be ready to cross that threshold of pride when a reader he's never met before tells him, "I just couldn't put your book down."

Well, not quite. In fact, his book is about humorous anecdotes from many years in his particular profession. Hmm. That wouldn't qualify him as an author, even if he publishes. It would put him in that blurry purgatory between "writer" "and" "author" in the company of so many silver medal winners who almost made it and whose names we almost remember .

Why? Because he doesn't qualify for that crucial qualifying praise, "I just couldn't put your book down." That comment is reserved for novels, "serious" non-fiction like biographies and history, and how-to books on topics that require wads of glue. Other lowly books just don't count.

But what if a lowly book could attract an " I just couldn't put your book down?" Would that make the writer an author, or would the author remain just a writer?

My book is a self-help book. Climb your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness. Self-help books are certainly not considered second-class books by the literary elite. They wouldn't even let self-help books into fourth class. In other words, mine is not a title any self-respecting New York Times book reviewer would allow to qualify for "I just couldn't put your book down."

At least, not in theory. But several people have said exactly that. (Too bad they said it to me and not to the New York Times.)

One lady even apologized for not calling me back one morning because she had stayed up into the wee hours of the morning reading my book. Now that's the kind of feedback that makes an author smile. What the heck, that kind of feedback would make even a writer smile.

Call me a writer. Call me an author. I couldn't care less. As long as you tell me "I just couldn't put your book down," I'm happy as a pig in ? uh ? Jell-O.

About The Author

David Leonhardt is the Happy Guy, author ?No, make that writer. No, wait. Yes, he's an author. But he's also a writer. And a book reviewer. And a speaker. This article is an excerpt from the popular ebook Musings, written by a dozen prominent authors. Pick up your free copy at happiness-self-actualization-products.html. Or sign up for your free "Daily Dose of Happiness" at

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

Wall Street Journal

Reading, Writing and Xi Jinping Thought: China's Students Learn Leader's Philosophy
Wall Street Journal
Alongside changes that consolidate power with the president and allow him to rule indefinitely, the curriculum revamp is another step toward installing Mr. Xi as a guiding light in the Communist Party's pantheon. The Chinese government has been pushing ...

The Guardian

'Allow imaginations to lead': igniting the creative spark in young writers
The Guardian
At Bridge Academy in London, a group of year 9 students are writing speeches. Later, they'll deliver them to an audience of MPs and activists at the Houses of Parliament. Students plan to speak about racial profiling, cuts to the NHS and why the ...


NBC's Diverse Late Night Writers Program Names 2018 Class
Each day also consists of writing instruction, insightful feedback, and collaborative assignments that mirror the late-night comedy writing experience. Following the program, NBC continues advocating for the writers including putting them up for open ...

Daily Californian

Get lit(erary): Why writing drunk could save your grade
Daily Californian
One thing I appreciate about being a copy editor is never having to face the dreaded writer's block — all of the content I'm working with is already finished and ready for me to edit when I show up at the Daily Cal office. I may face a momentary pause ...

The Boca Raton Tribune

Importance of Writing an Effective Essays in 2018
The Boca Raton Tribune
Writing an essay is not difficult task until and unless you are provided with correct guidance. It is really very easy to collect the material for an essay but the most difficult is to arrange it in the best manner. It is very difficult to assemble all ...

and more »

Holocaust center hosts art, writing competition for high schoolers
The Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus is hosting the return of the Kappy Family Anne Frank Art & Writing Competition. The theme of the second annual competition is “The Power of Hope.” The competition is open to students in grades 9-12 ...


Organizations Help Veterans Heal Through Writing Their Stories
The St. Louis Public Library in collaboration with the Missouri Humanities Council (MHC), the VA St. Louis Health Care System, Drury University and the Kansas City Public Library offer veteran writing workshops to veterans and their families – teaching ...

and more »

Journal of the San Juan Islands

San Juan Grange open house, art contest and creative writing open mic
Journal of the San Juan Islands
Calling all artists, poets, writers, and makers, of all ages. San Juan Island Grange 966 is hosting an art, craft and photography contest, as well as a creative writing open mic, at the 2018 open house. Join the San Juan Island Grange (152 First St ...

British knight suspended by Order of Malta for writing highly critical book about Pope Francis
A British member of the Order of Malta, the chivalric organisation which dates back to the Crusades, has been suspended after writing a highly critical book about Pope Francis that was condemned as a “vile attack”. Henry Sire, an Oxford-educated ...

and more »

Writing competition at Lockwood-Mathews
NORWALK — Imagine walking through the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, only to serendipitously discover an ancient trunk from the 19th century. Third- to- eighth-graders can win prizes for writing fictional essays rooted in history bringing to life ...

Google News

Making Money from Freelance Writing

Making Money from Freelance WritingIt's the question that every aspiring... Read More

Basic Writing Tips ? Some Controversial, All Correct

As a previous article ("Making Better Word Choices ? 4... Read More

Six Tips for Creating More Lifelike Story Characters

Working on my first humorous novel, I started with a... Read More

Writing Help

Whether you are working for a small business, large corporation,... Read More

Mexican Living: Lets Be Perfectly Clear

Readers often send me interesting and exciting e-mails about the... Read More

Message to Online Writers: Dont Give Up On A Good Idea

The writing community is a strong one, with many new... Read More

Writing Secrets You Must Know

Writing better is critical for students. But it's even more... Read More

Passionate About Writing?

I'm a writing fool! 2 book proposals, 1 user's guide,... Read More

Common Writing Mistakes

Most books aren't rejected because the stories are "bad." They're... Read More

How to Relax Your Writing

Q. My writing sounds stiff and stilted. Help!A. Memories of... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 5 of 6

PASSED, PASTPassed is the past tense of pass. Past means... Read More

10 Tips on How to Cultivate Relationships with Editors

If you are an aspiring writer, or you simply want... Read More

Are Writing Exercises Effective?

It was reported that the great American author Sinclair Lewis... Read More

7 Journaling Tips

Set your journal or diary where you will see it... Read More

Grow Your Ideas Without Letting Words Grow Like Weeds

Q: How do I expand on an idea without getting... Read More

6 Ways to Toot Your Own Writing Horn

You know you've got writing talent. Others enjoy your work... Read More

7 Steps to Successful Publishing

The decision to publish a book is very exciting! It... Read More

The Top Five Mistakes That Companies Make with Regard to Technical Documentation

I've seen it time and again. One of the most... Read More

Plotting By Personality - Work With Your Natural Instincts

What's the best way to plot?Quick answer: the best way... Read More

Writing About Writing

What am I going to write about?Which topic is the... Read More

Top Ten Tips (Part 1)

The following rules are essential if you want people to... Read More

A Writers Tools

William Faulkner, the great Mississippi writer, said, "The tools I... Read More

What Is The Single Worst Writing Mistake?

The following answer sounds simplistic?but think about it. The single... Read More

How to Build A Success Freelance Career (Part 2)

Part 1 of this article discussed the experience you need... Read More

Tips On Writing A Killer Sales Letter

Writing a sales letter doesn't have to be that difficult... Read More