Are you an Author or an Artist?

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October 24, 2017
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December 14, 2017

Are you an Author or an Artist?

Are you an author or an artist?

These words author and artist are not as similar as they sound. Some gifted individuals can be both, but in actuality, most people are one or the other.

In the writing world, these terms are often mutually exclusive of each other. They don’t have to be, but the majority of writer’s fall in one category or another. The rise of independent and self-publishing has widened the gap between the two considerably. Neither is better than the other. It is important for writers to understand in which category they fall, so the ever-changing and always difficult market does not disappoint or devastate them.

So what’s the difference? Here’s a breakdown.

An Artist is a person who crafts a masterpiece.

Is a writer of an elegant masterpiece or two.

Struggles to let go of control of project (book cover, edits, title, etc.)

Spends months, or years, writing the perfect book.

Edits and rewrites multiple times.

Spends countless hours learning “the craft”

Takes years to publish a book.

Aims for perfection.

Desires positive reviews.

Will gain recognition for quality and win awards.

May never make any money.

Wants to see their name on the cover.


An Author is a person who sells books.

Is a writer of many works.

Does not care about control of project.

Spends days, or weeks, writing a product that sells.

Edits once, maybe twice.

Spends countless hours crafting “the sell”.

Takes weeks to publish a book.

Not concerned with perfection.

Desires reviews that lead to sells or boost marketability.

May never gain recognition or win awards.

Will sell books and make money.

Is willing to ghost write, with no recognition.

These are only some of the many differences between authors and artists. What is important to understand that there is a huge difference, and you need to recognize whether you are an author or artist.

The artist spends a lifetime crafting the perfect novel—their masterpiece. They study, attend conferences, rewrite, and edit until the book is worthy of perceived greatness. An artist’s work is high quality and unique. The book contains the blood, sweat, and tears of the artist. It embodies their soul.

The author treats writing as a business. It’s about the almighty dollar. More books published offer more opportunities for sales. The author writes with ludicrous speed and can publish a book in as little as four weeks. An author creates books that harness current market trends of rides the waves of consumerism.

In some instances, a writer may exhibit characteristics of both an author and artist, but this is rare. It is usually the result of years of writing practice and experience in the writing world. Beginning writers will lean one way or the other.

It is important to determine in which category you want to be in, and then make adequate changes to your workflow, production, and mindset to allow you to become the author or artist you want to be.

An artist who wants to have the sales of an artist, will often find themselves frustrated, because they have not invested the time and energy to learn how to sell their book.

An author who wants to be respected and win awards, will often find themselves frustrated, because they have not invested enough time learning how to write high-quality works.

A writer’s life isn’t supposed to be frustrating, it should be filled with wonder, discovery, and passion for putting words and stories on paper. Embracing who you are, or who you want to be, will allow you to find your niche in the writing world and help you enjoy an amazing life as an author or artist.



Cyle Young is a Hartline Agent who is thankful God blessed him with the uniqueness of being an ADD-riddled…SQUIRREL!…binge writer. Not much unlike the classic video game Frogger, Cyle darts back and forth between various writing genres. He crafts princess children’s stories, how-to advice for parents, epic fantasy tales, and easy readers.

Learn more about Cyle on his website Or check him out on or

Cyle Young
Cyle Young
Cyle a binge writer, pastor, and cinnamon roll savant. He spends his day devising how to make the world a better place through the Gospel of Jesus and creating fantastic adventure for his fantasy characters in The Last Waveson novels. He is co-creator of All Out Sports and an avid indoorsman. :) He likes air conditioning more than fleas, ticks, or wasps.


  1. Are artist and perfectionist the same? Hee hee. I pray that I am an artist. Thank you for explaining the difference.

  2. Wow, this is such an interesting article. I believe I am the exception with a foot in both categories. I am an artist by profession with a drive to also be an author in the same right. It is a constant mind battle not to get stuck too long in either category completely. My passion is to create, but my motivation to complete and accomplish a profitable goal keeps me moving forward in creative endeavors. Great post- very though provoking.

  3. Definitely something to think about…

  4. Tim Suddeth says:

    Right now, I’m a artist/student. Everything is scrutinizes as a process of learning the craft AND the business of writing. Then I’ll become more of an author. It does take time to become an author, but it can’t be skipped.

  5. Jann Martin says:

    Thank you for the comparison.

  6. Donna Rhine says:

    Good word …

    In truth, it clarifies some things for me.

    A quote from Rocky Barra, (Pastor of Connection Church in Canton MI) on my first novel, pegged me well. He said: “Donna Rhine is an artist who colors her canvas with words. In “A Decision of the Heart”. She takes the readers back in time with a wonderfully compelling story of life and love. It is impossible not to be drawn into the saga of the trials and struggles of a young couple in a very different and difficult time, sprinkled with the non-changing grace of the Lord. One can only hope there will be many further offerings in the Michigan Chronicles Series.”

    Looking back as I read your description of an artist, his insight rings true. I do fall into the artist category, but I am trying to be more purposeful in marketing my novels.

    Thanks for sharing.
    From my heart to yours,
    Donna Rhine

  7. June Whatley says:

    I pray that I can become an artist author. 🙂

  8. Akilah Picou says:

    I would like to think that I’m a bit of both, but I think that I lean towards artist. You’ve given me something that I need to think about. Thank you!

  9. Janyce Brawn says:

    Very insightful. I think I must be an artist . I love to create and explore ideas. Having been a teacher most of my life, my work seems to be toward children . Now if only I could get over my distaste for marketing, I might get my middle grade urban fantasy novel out there along with my coloring books. I’ve always been torn between the author/artist conundrum but I guess it’s not so bad as long as I recognize what I need to do to move on. Thanks for the clarification.

  10. JPC Allen says:

    Your definitions helped me understand the writers who can write so prolifically. I could not figure out how they write so much , so fast. But now I understand I am an artist and my view on writing is different from theirs.

  11. Love this explanation of author vs. artist! Not exactly sure where I fit, as I definitely have strong connections on either side of that fence! Great content, though, and thoughts I’ll probably process for some time! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Terri Thompson says:

    I relate to a few aspects of the artist, but I hope to become an accomplished author one day with a flair of artist. 😉