One author (Latin auctor, author ',' Creator ',' sponsor ',' inducer ') is the author or intellectual author of a linguistic work which be well illustrated and sometimes may contain more pictures than text (such as storybook, Cartoon, Photo Roman). Most authors write in the broadest sense " literary " works that are assigned to the genera epic, drama and poetry, or even the specialist and non-fiction. When authors are also, albeit less frequently and usually with more juridical connotation, the authors of works non-literary nature (such as the music, photography, film, art ) as well as individual branches of science ( see also software authors, laws writers, authors in zoology as a describer of a living etc. ) referred. In addition, the name game designer has for the inventor of author games ( German -style games) established.

  • 4.1 In publishing
  • 4.2 In the self- publishing
  • 5.1 collecting society
  • 5.2 Counting of authors


The understanding of authorship is subject to historical changes. In the Middle Ages the terms author and authority refer to each other with great naturalness. The legal language entstammend called, auctor the author, authors or trustee of a work. This includes the meaning of the word, unlike in modern times, basically the aspect of authority ( auctoritas ) a: author are meant acquired the high reputation and have found wide acclaim.

Especially the media breaks from orality to writing and handwriting to printing promoted the detachment of the person of the author and its authority from its ( reproducible and from corruption to be protected ) plant, initially but rather in genres of theological and scientific literature. Only since the genius aesthetics of Sturm und Drang, a concept of " autonomous, creative, ruling over his work of fiction author " began to emerge. The 19th and 20th centuries are the high phase of this emphatic, idealized concept of author.

Since the 1960s, criticism of the absoluteness of author personality was loud ( Roland Barthes: The Death of the Author, Michel Foucault: What is an Author? ).

In parts of the theory of literature ( narrative theory ), a distinction between author and narrator: The author is the writer of the text and the narrator of the Narrative of the story and is a body set up by the author instance.

The term was Germanized author of Philip of Zesen by the term writer.

Legal Aspects

Authorship includes in the presence of an intellectual property right. For the protection of the work are the copyright (which is not negotiable ) and the right of exploitation.

Connotations of the term

The term author or the author of a generally mostly writing enshrined plant or its concept applies regardless of its publication, or ( so far ) non-publication. However, the author or authorship is in principle different, not least in accordance with their objective of accidental or planned and actually achieved publicity given name and work.

In non-public environment

  • Any and all private and thus unknown to the public consistent document usually has very limited for the scoring in the private sphere of the author group of persons important. Author of diaries intend usually no visibility, while writer, for example, shopping lists are in fact the author to describe them so as authors, but did not correspond to common usage.
  • The authorship of writings that are manufactured, for example, during a regular school education as part of the lesson, after all, is subject to a certain extent copyright protection as a " copying " them, according to school examination regulations may be punished as " embezzlement ". Also, such documents are thoroughly reviewed, evaluated according to criteria and graded. These reviews then find their summary and relevant for the transfer or the completion of a school influence on the certificates. Nevertheless, even here correspond to the use of the term author - unlike the author of the term - for his written essays and test tasks are not actionable students to common usage.

In limited public environment

In the public environment

  • Within Germany applies, inter alia, as a first indicator for the scale to maximum visibility authorship of a documented set of work to make a mandatory copy to the German National Library. This obligation concerns mainly the propagator of a font, usually a publisher, but indirectly it also refers to the author himself, who thus assumes the textual responsibility for the publication of a work. The success of an author can be seen in the sales of his works and the growing reputation of his person - the latter is, for example, by the type and number of reviews and nowadays also by any invitations to talk shows clearly. However, not all authors make a point that a sales success is associated with its own name and therefore use pseudonyms.
  • The greater the visibility of an author and his works, the more find, for example, documents from the private setting as Autographs interest among collectors and sometimes not low esteem. This is also a well-known during his lifetime as author Thomas Mann made ​​the entries in his diaries, partly with a view to their subsequent publication.

Publication possibilities of the authors

Since the introduction of the personal computer, it is relatively easy for authors to create a manuscript as a digital record, which in turn can serve as a master for publishers or self- publishing.

In publishers

An author tries to achieve usually a publication on publishers. The publisher assumes for the author's correction, the production ( layout, printing, ISBN registration, deposit copies, etc.) and distribution. In return, the author enters from the right of exploitation (complete or partial) to the publisher. The author receives for his work by the publisher a fee and / or royalties.

Has a publisher agrees to publication, the author is often asked, along with an editor to revise the work and inspect to make ( peer review ). Once an author has successfully worked for a publishing company, it is the author it much easier, "his" future publishing works already present in the idea phase and to develop together with the lecturer. Particularly successful authors (Best Sellers ) are then invited by the Publisher to create new works. This can be the basis for negotiating a correspondingly better remuneration for the author again.

Create nonfiction writers usually first a concept to their work. This includes a broad overview of topics, references to similar works and a possible finish elaborate table of contents which then can also specify the target page number. As the future publisher has often own notions of ( substantive ) structure and target group- oriented design of a work that can so further changes are taken into account, as in the contract not yet must exist the finished work, but this only then arises as a commissioned work by the author. This procedure will find new as well as at renowned authors its application.

However, with the adoption of manuscripts or ideas yet unknown authors, most publishers behave very hesitant. This behavior is usually the quality justified because the publishers are not infrequently receive hundreds of such texts a week and it only select one per year for publication if they expect from him mercantile success.

In the self- publishing

An author as a self- publisher is taking a business risk which, however, since the introduction of forms of publication Book-on -demand and e-book can be considerably reduced. How can delegate the manufacturing process and sales-related things such as the inclusion in the list of available books now relatively inexpensive, the author thanks the pay publishers occurring as self-publishing platforms. In addition, he must in this type of production no longer manage a given of him in print and pre-paid edition of a title and therefore is not in danger, " to sit " on it. However, an author must be a self- publisher in any case, even to the marketing and promotion of his works look after - or so instruct sometimes strongly against excessive fees someone else.

As before, a publication in this way helps rarely to an increase in reputation and recognition of an author - especially not as a so -called "vanity publisher" or "hobby writer ". Thus authors are included in Germany with only self-published book titles published neither the Association of German writers still in the author database of the Friedrich- Bödecker circle.

Because now, however in general many book titles are taken after one year from the publishing program, out with it and in bookstores are no longer available, also renowned authors to see more and more forced to self- publishing - especially those who earn part of their income through readings and then no longer refer to available copies of their books and they can sell. (See, for example, the label Edition headwind, under which a community of authors brings out their out of print titles themselves. )

Remuneration and bonuses

In January 2005, Fiction Publishers and the Association of German writers agreed that ten percent of the net selling price of each hardcover copy should flow as a fee to the author of a book in the future. For paperbacks are regulated separately, with up to 20,000 copies sold, the authors will receive five percent. However, these rules have a purely advisory role, in practice, lower royalties are common. The proceeds from the exploitation of ancillary rights book also usually goes to 60 percent, the. Ancillary rights from other half to the author Nonfiction writers often act their fee with the publisher as part of the design phase before the start of the write activity. To the twelve percent are common, but by no means binding on success or authors. Often a guarantee fee is agreed, which is paid to the author in the contract or to the submission date or after manuscript submission and that will be charged with possibly later accruing royalties. This gives the author does not rely on the commercial success of the book, but still participates in good sales.

Collecting society

Collecting society for authors of various genres ( journalists, writers, screenwriters ) is the VG word. You recycled - similar to the GEMA in musical pieces - the damage caused by performance, broadcasting, copying and publishing royalties for authors and distributes the amounts incurred annually to the authors.

Count of authors

Especially in scientific publications, it happens more often that a work has multiple authors and coauthors. In order comparable to count the number of publications of a person, there are in bibliometrics different counting methods:

  • Normal counting ( A publication counts regardless of the number of authors for each author )
  • Fractional counting ( Proportionate allocation of authorship, for example, one-third in three authors )
  • Logarithmic Counting ( The percentage decreases after the order mentioned from the authors )
  • Other weighting (for example, only the first two authors )

Collective authorship

In previous time of only minor importance, learns the more authorship with the proliferation of the Internet to grow significantly.