So, I went to a hen party over the weekend, and it was a total blast. Between eating far too much, wandering around in picturesque Cambridge, England, and punting (and not falling in!) I had the traditional problem that almost all of us writers have: how do we introduce ourselves?

Now, I know that sounds a little bit strange. After all, we were all taught from the time that we were very small exactly how to say our name, and a little bit about ourselves. But for people who are creative and move within fields such as writing, the lines are a little more blurred.

I used to introduce myself with the title ‘writer’. That was what I did, after all, and it was a nice sort of cover all for all the multitude of things that I wrote. But then my first novel was published.

Then I started calling myself an ‘author’. I was. I was an author. But that seemed a little too vague for me, which is why I then chose ‘novelist’.

Which worked perfectly until I published a novella. And I have a screenplay complete. I’m not a scriptwriter. But was I?

Poet, novelist, author, writer . . . does it really matter? Each of them have their own indiosyncracies, their own methods, and their own status. A writer is too vague, but a novelist can sound pretentious – but never more pretentious than a poet.

That weekend, I had to introduce myself to around ten people, none of whom I had ever met before, and inevitably the question came up: “What do you do?”

I still haven’t worked out the answer to that.

If you are a writer/author/poet, then check out my popular series on royalties, and discover some secrets of the industry about why no one is buying your book. You can also read three of my most popular blog posts: whether an author should disappoint their readers, writing hated characters, and the inconvenient facts that often crop up for historical fiction authors.

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