I don’t write books.

I state that for the record, and I’ll state it again: I don’t write books.

I write novels. When they are printed on page and bound between covers they become books. And someone else takes care of that part of it. Publishers make books. Writers make novels.

The distinction may seem trivial, but for people who are supposed to be careful with words, the misuse among writers of the word “book” astonishes me. I remember reading long ago in an article about how to pitch your novel to an agent that if you refer to it as the “book” you’ve written, the agent will immediately recognize you as a beginner, and that can’t help but taint their perception of your query.

Yet I see writers talking about the “books” they are writing all the time. Some time ago I wrote about what I consider the difference between a “blog” and a “post” to a blog. I know that my dogmatic definition of those two words is not accepted by all, but I am right about the difference between a “book” and a “novel.”

You can tell everyone I said so.

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