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An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a
book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

book
or play, and is also considered a
writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, books, poetry, plays, screenplays, telepl ...

writer
. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.


Legal significance of authorship

Typically, the first owner of a copyright is the person who created the work, i.e. the author. If more than one person created the work, then a case of
joint authorshipJoint authorship of a copyrightable work is when two or more persons contribute enough to the work to be the author of that work. In the case of joint authorship, the authors share the copyright in the work with each other. International convention ...
can be made provided some criteria are met. In the
copyright law Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyrig ...
s of various jurisdictions, there is a necessity for little flexibility regarding what constitutes authorship. The
United States Copyright Office The United States Copyright Office (sometimes abbreviated USCO), a part of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resou ...
, for example, defines copyright as "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to authors of 'original works of authorship'". Holding the title of "author" over any "literary, dramatic, musical, artistic,
r
r
certain other intellectual works" gives rights to this person, the owner of the copyright, especially the exclusive right to engage in or authorize any production or distribution of their work. Any person or entity wishing to use
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of ...
held under copyright must receive permission from the copyright holder to use this work, and often will be asked to pay for the use of copyrighted material. After a fixed amount of time, the copyright expires on intellectual work and it enters the public domain, where it can be used without limit. Copyright laws in many jurisdictions – mostly following the lead of the United States, in which the entertainment and publishing industries have very strong
lobbying In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of socia ...

lobbying
power – have been amended repeatedly since their inception, to extend the length of this fixed period where the work is exclusively controlled by the copyright holder. However, copyright is merely the legal reassurance that one owns his/her work. Technically, someone owns their work from the time it's created. A notable aspect of authorship emerges with copyright in that, in many jurisdictions, it can be passed down to another upon one's death. The person who inherits the copyright is not the author, but enjoys the same legal benefits. Questions arise as to the application of copyright law. How does it, for example, apply to the complex issue of
fan fiction Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic, fic or ff) is Fiction, fictional writing written in an amateur capacity by Fan (person), fans, unauthorized by, but derivative work, based on an existing work of fiction. Copyright p ...
? If the media agency responsible for the authorized production allows material from fans, what is the limit before legal constraints from actors, music, and other considerations, come into play? Additionally, how does copyright apply to fan-generated stories for books? What powers do the original authors, as well as the publishers, have in regulating or even stopping the fan fiction? This particular sort of case also illustrates how complex intellectual property law can be, since such fiction may also involved
trademark law A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-markThe styling of ''trademark'' as a single word is predominantly used in the United States and Philippines only, while the two-word styling ''trade mark'' is used in many other countries around ...
(e.g. for names of characters in media franchises),
likeness rights The right of publicity, sometimes referred to as personality rights, is the right of an individual to control the commercial use of one's identity, such as name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal identifiers. It is generally considered a proper ...
(such as for actors, or even entirely fictional entities),
fair use Fair use is a doctrine in the law of the United States that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. Fair use is one of the limitations to copyright intended to balance the ...
rights held by the public (including the right to parody or satirize), and many other interacting complications. Authors may portion out different rights they hold to different parties, at different times, and for different purposes or uses, such as the right to adapt a plot into a film, but only with different character names, because the characters have already been optioned by another company for a television series or a video game. An author may also not have rights when working under contract that they would otherwise have, such as when creating a
work for hireIn the copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy and distribute a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musica ...
(e.g., hired to write a city tour guide by a municipal government that totally owns the copyright to the finished work), or when writing material using intellectual property owned by others (such as when writing a novel or screenplay that is a new installment in an already established media franchise).


Philosophical views of the nature of authorship

In literary theory, critics find complications in the term ''author'' beyond what constitutes authorship in a legal setting. In the wake of
postmodern literature Postmodern literature is a form of literature that is characterized by the use of metafiction, unreliable narrator, unreliable narration, self-reflexivity, intertextuality, and which often thematizes both historical and political issues. This sty ...
, critics such as
Roland Barthes Roland Gérard Barthes (; ; 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980) was a French literary theorist Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an a ...

Roland Barthes
and
Michel Foucault Paul-Michel Foucault (, ; ; 15 October 192625 June 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas Intellectual history (also the history of ideas) is the study of the history of human thought and of intellectual An intellectual is a ...

Michel Foucault
have examined the role and relevance of authorship to the meaning or interpretation of a text. Barthes challenges the idea that a text can be attributed to any single author. He writes, in his essay "Death of the Author" (1968), that "it is language which speaks, not the author". The words and language of a text itself determine and expose meaning for Barthes, and not someone possessing legal responsibility for the process of its production. Every line of written text is a mere reflection of references from any of a multitude of traditions, or, as Barthes puts it, "the text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture"; it is never original. With this, the perspective of the author is removed from the text, and the limits formerly imposed by the idea of one authorial voice, one ultimate and universal meaning, are destroyed. The explanation and meaning of a work does not have to be sought in the one who produced it, "as if it were always in the end, through the more or less transparent allegory of the fiction, the voice of a single person, the author 'confiding' in us". The psyche, culture, fanaticism of an author can be disregarded when interpreting a text, because the words are rich enough themselves with all of the traditions of language. To expose meanings in a written work without appealing to the celebrity of an author, their tastes, passions, vices, is, to Barthes, to allow language to speak, rather than author. Michel Foucault argues in his essay "What is an author?" (1969) that all authors are
writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, books, poetry, plays, screenplays, telepl ...

writer
s, but not all writers are authors. He states that "a private letter may have a signatory—it does not have an author". For a reader to assign the title of author upon any written work is to attribute certain standards upon the text which, for Foucault, are working in conjunction with the idea of "the author function". Foucault's author function is the idea that an author exists only as a function of a written work, a part of its structure, but not necessarily part of the interpretive process. The author's name "indicates the status of the discourse within a society and culture", and at one time was used as an anchor for interpreting a text, a practice which Barthes would argue is not a particularly relevant or valid endeavor. Expanding upon Foucault's position,
Alexander Nehamas Alexander Nehamas ( el, Αλέξανδρος Νεχαμάς; born 22 March 1946) is a Greek-born American philosopher. He is a professor of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those ...
writes that Foucault suggests "an author ..is whoever can be understood to have produced a particular text as we interpret it", not necessarily who penned the text. It is this distinction between producing a written work and producing the interpretation or meaning in a written work that both Barthes and Foucault are interested in. Foucault warns of the risks of keeping the author's name in mind during interpretation, because it could affect the value and meaning with which one handles an interpretation. Literary critics Barthes and Foucault suggest that readers should not rely on or look for the notion of one overarching voice when interpreting a written work, because of the complications inherent with a writer's title of "author". They warn of the dangers interpretations could suffer from when associating the subject of inherently meaningful words and language with the personality of one authorial voice. Instead, readers should allow a text to be interpreted in terms of the language as "author".


Relationship with publisher


Self-publishing

Self-publishing, self-publishing, independent publishing, or artisanal publishing is the "publication of any book, album or other media by its author without the involvement of a traditional publisher. It is the modern equivalent to traditional publishing".


Types

Unless a book is to be sold directly from the author to the public, an is required to uniquely identify the title.ISBN is a global standard used for all titles worldwide. Most self-publishing companies either provide their own ISBN to a title or can provide direction; it may be in the best interest of the self-published author to retain ownership of ISBN and copyright instead of using a number owned by a vanity press. A separate ISBN is needed for each edition of the book.


= Electronic (e-book) publishing

= There are a variety of book formats and tools that can be used to create them. Because it is possible to create e-books with no up-front or per-book costs, this is a popular option for self-publishers. E-book publishing platforms include
Pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
,
Smashwords Smashwords, Inc., based in Los Gatos, California Los Gatos (; ) is an List of cities in California, incorporated town in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The population is 30,222 according to the 2019 United States Census Bureau. ...
, Blurb, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, CinnamonTeal Publishing, Papyrus Editor, ebook leap, Bookbaby, Pubit,
Lulu Lulu may refer to: Companies * LuLu, an early automobile manufacturer * Lulu.com, an online e-books and print self-publishing platform, distributor, and retailer * Lulu Hypermarket, a retail chain in Asia * Lululemon Athletica or simply Lulu, a Br ...
,
Llumina PressLlumina Press, a Print on demand, self publishing, and distribution company was founded by Deborah Greenspan in 2000. Llumina was founded on the idea that good books require editing before being submitted to print. Therefore, all potential Llumina a ...
, and
CreateSpace On-Demand Publishing, LLC, doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particul ...
. E-book formats include e-pub, mobi, and PDF, among others.


=Print-on-demand

= Print-on-demand (POD) publishing refers to the ability to print high-quality books as needed! For self-published books, this is often a more economical option than conducting a print run of hundreds or thousands of books. Many companies, such as Createspace (owned by Amazon.com),
Outskirts Press Outskirts Press is a Denver, Colorado-based book publisher which caters to self-publishing authors. History Outskirts Press is based in Parker, Colorado, and focuses on print on demand self-publishing services, wholesale digital distribution to I ...
, Blurb, Lulu,
Llumina PressLlumina Press, a Print on demand, self publishing, and distribution company was founded by Deborah Greenspan in 2000. Llumina was founded on the idea that good books require editing before being submitted to print. Therefore, all potential Llumina a ...
, ReadersMagnet, and iUniverse, allow printing single books at per-book costs not much higher than those paid by publishing companies for large print runs.


Traditional publishing

With commissioned publishing, the publisher makes all the publication arrangements and the author covers all expenses. The more specific phrase published author refers to an author (especially but not necessarily of books) whose work has been independently accepted for publication by a reputable publisher , versus a
self-publishing Self The self is an individual person as the object of its own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily Subjective character of experience, subjective. The sens ...
author or an unpublished one. The author of a work may receive a percentage calculated on a wholesale or a specific price or a fixed amount on each book sold. Publishers, at times, reduced the risk of this type of arrangement, by agreeing only to pay this after a certain number of copies had sold. In Canada, this practice occurred during the 1890s, but was not commonplace until the 1920s. Established and successful authors may receive advance payments, set against future royalties, but this is no longer common practice. Most independent publishers pay royalties as a percentage of net receipts – how net receipts are calculated varies from publisher to publisher. Under this arrangement, the author does not pay anything towards the expense of publication. The costs and financial risk are all carried by the publisher, who will then take the greatest percentage of the receipts. See Compensation for more.


Vanity publishing

This type of publisher normally charges a flat fee for arranging publication, offers a platform for selling, and then takes a percentage of the sale of every copy of a book. The author receives the rest of the money made.


Relationship with editor

The relationship between the author and the
editor Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosoph ...
, often the author's only liaison to the publishing company, is often characterized as the site of tension. For the author to reach their audience, often through publication, the work usually must attract the attention of the editor. The idea of the author as the sole meaning-maker of necessity changes to include the influences of the editor and the publisher in order to engage the audience in writing as a social act. There are three principal areas covered by editors – Proofing (checking the Grammar and spelling, looking for typing errors), Story (potentially an area of deep angst for both author and publisher), and Layout (the setting of the final proof ready for publishing often requires minor text changes so a layout editor is required to ensure that these do not alter the sense of the text).
Pierre Bourdieu Pierre Bourdieu (; 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist and public intellectual An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and Human self-reflection, reflection to advance discussions of ...
's essay "The Field of Cultural Production" depicts the publishing industry as a "space of literary or artistic position-takings", also called the "field of struggles", which is defined by the tension and movement inherent among the various positions in the field. Bourdieu claims that the "field of position-takings ..is not the product of coherence-seeking intention or objective consensus", meaning that an industry characterized by position-takings is not one of harmony and neutrality. In particular for the writer, their authorship in their work makes their work part of their identity, and there is much at stake personally over the negotiation of authority over that identity. However, it is the editor who has "the power to impose the dominant definition of the writer and therefore to delimit the population of those entitled to take part in the struggle to define the writer". As "cultural investors," publishers rely on the editor position to identify a good investment in "cultural capital" which may grow to yield economic capital across all positions. According to the studies of James Curran, the system of shared values among editors in Britain has generated a pressure among authors to write to fit the editors' expectations, removing the focus from the reader-audience and putting a strain on the relationship between authors and editors and on writing as a social act. Even the book review by the editors has more significance than the readership's reception.Curran, James. "Literary Editors, Social Networks and Cultural Tradition." Media Organizations in Society. James Curran, ed. London: Arnold, 2000, 230


Compensation

A standard contract for an author will usually include provision for payment in the form of an advance and royalties. An advance is a lump sum paid in advance of publication. An advance must be earned out before royalties are payable. An advance may be paid in two lump sums: the first payment on contract signing, and the second on delivery of the completed manuscript or on publication. An author's contract may specify, for example, that they will earn 10% of the retail price of each book sold. Some contracts specify a scale of royalties payable (for example, where royalties start at 10% for the first 10,000 sales, but then increase to a higher percentage rate at higher sale thresholds). An author's book must earn the advance before any further royalties are paid. For example, if an author is paid a modest advance of $2000, and their royalty rate is 10% of a book priced at $20 – that is, $2 per book – the book will need to sell 1000 copies before any further payment will be made. Publishers typically withhold payment of a percentage of royalties earned against returns. In some countries, authors also earn income from a government scheme such as the ELR (educational lending right) and PLR (public lending right) schemes in Australia. Under these schemes, authors are paid a fee for the number of copies of their books in educational and/or public libraries. These days, many authors supplement their income from book sales with public speaking engagements, school visits, residencies, grants, and teaching positions.
Ghostwriter A ghostwriter is hired to write literary Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama Drama is the s ...
s, technical writers, and textbooks writers are typically paid in a different way: usually a set fee or a per word rate rather than on a percentage of sales.


See also

*
Academic authorship Academic authorship of journal A journal, from the Old French ''journal'' (meaning "daily"), may refer to: *Bullet journal, a method of personal organizations *Diary, a record of what happened over the course of a day or other period *Daybook, a ...
*
Auteur An auteur (; , 'author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question ...

Auteur
* Authors' editor * Distributive writing * Lead author *
List of novelists Well-known authors of novels, listed by country: ''See also'': Lists of authors, List of poets, List of playwrights, List of short story authors Albania *Dritero Agolli (1931–2017) *Ismail Kadare (born 1936) *Fatos Kongoli (born 1944) *Faik ...
*
Lists of poets This is an alphabetical list of internationally notable poets. A Ab–Ak *Aarudhra (born Bhagavatula Sadasiva Sankara Sastry), (1925–1968), Indian Telugu literature, Telugu poet *Jonathan Aaron (born 1941), American poet *Chris Abani (born 1966 ...
*
Lists of writers The following are lists of writers: Lists by genre Top of page Lists by language (non-English). Top of page Lists by ethnicity or nationality Top of page Lists of women writers and works Main list * Women writers By country Other li ...
*
Novelist A novelist is an author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question ...
*
Professional writingProfessional writing as an activity is writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of c ...


References

{{Authority control Writing occupations Literary criticism