I am working on a website and I want to have a category for people like George RR Martin and Agatha Christie.

I want to choose a name for this category but don't know which one fits the best for a not very formal website? Book Writer, Novelist or Author?

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    If what you're after is someone who penned the book, use "author". If you've done your homework, you'll know the difference between "novelist" and "author", and of course, "book writer" is just a synonym for "author". Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 19:13
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    @KristinaLopez — Please follow the instructions that appear when you hit the comment box. Do not use comments for answering questions. It negates the whole model on which StackExchange is based.
    – David
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 21:47
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    You need to explain what this category is. Agatha Christie wrote detective stories (whodunits). I've never heard of George Martin but he is described as a novelist and short-story writer on a Google search summary. Two is not enough to tell what you are after. If you define this category more clearly (i.e. with more examples and examples of who you will exclude) we can help you — or more likely you will be able to answer your own question.
    – David
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 21:52
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    @David IMO, Kristina Lopez was correct in making her comment a comment. I would have been irritated if someone with her experience had posted it as an answer. And you correctly posted your 2nd contribution (which I upvoted) as a comment. A perfectly good comment would often be half-baked as an answer, but is something on which someone with more leisure can build.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:00
  • @ab2 — You are being subjective ("IMO", "I would have been irritated"). Let us look at the objective facts. Did Kristina Lopez answer the question? Yes, she told the poster what to use if he meant such and such. So suppose he did mean such and such. He would comment "Thank You", go away, and the question would remain unanswered. That is not how StackExchange works, and if Kristina Lopez is so "experienced" she should know. As should you, checking your score. In fact, IMO, you should both set a better example. Please read the instructions.
    – David
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


Which of the terms you choose (book writer, novelist or author) depends on what your website is about. Without context, I can only explain what the words mean:

  • Novelist is the most specific term. It refers to authors of novels, which are a specific literary genre. Novels are typically book-length stories involving fictional characters. Both Agatha Christie and George R. R. Martin have written novels (but not only novels; Agatha Christie also wrote plays, e.g. The Mousetrap, and George R. R. Martin also wrote novellas and short stories.) So if your site is about different types of authors of literary works, terms such as novelist, dramatist, poet, etc. make sense. These terms can also make sense if your website also covers non-fiction.
  • Book writer (I'd prefer "book author") is a more general term than novelist, since books is a broader category than novels. "Books" also covers non-fiction. If your site is not just about people who write books, and the distinction between fiction and non-fiction (let alone different literary genres) is not important, than "book writer" can make sense.
  • Author is the most general term of the three, since it does not only cover people who write books (fiction or non-fiction), but also people who write articles or other types of publications. This term would make sense if the distinction between authors and non-authors is more important than the type of works that people write (books or shorter publications: see "book author"; specific genres, e.g. novels, etc.: see "novelist").

So in the end, it is the types of content on your website that will decide which of these terms will make more sense. Once you have decided on a number of names (or people or artists...) that you want to cover on your website, you can use the user experience technique known as card sorting to help you figure out what the different categories of topics are and how to label them.

  • Not only is author for writing, but copyright law defines author as the creator of any work. It's the generic word.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 23:02
  • @AndrewLeach Good point. Unfortunately, the description of the OP's website is too vague to decide whether this is relevant.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 23:05

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