For those of you who think that ‘authors and co-authors’ mean one and the same thing, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Both the terms are unique and have subtle variations in the meaning.
An author is a person who is involved in creating written content entirely on their own. Co-authors on the other hand are those who work in tandem with an author to help them write a piece of literary work. Co-authors are generally considered as a kind of author who works with other authors based on the kind of content they might be involved in writing. They can be categorized as a senior author or a first author in a specific work of literature.
The variation, as mentioned is very subtle. Both of them are authors no doubt but the difference is that the author is the one who has developed the idea or concept for a work while the co-author is a person who is helping the author in writing the work with some contribution.
To further simplify the distinction, an author is the core writer who is known to execute his or her original ideas into a written format. Authors are attributed with making written contribution in the domain of literature. The world on the whole has several reputed and renowned authors today. They gain fame on the basis of the literature they create and also for their distinct writing style. They are the ones who offer content and inform their audience about traditions and facts that have evolved during the course of time. In case of fiction writers, the author depends on his imagination and story-telling capabilities to write a book. If it is an academic author or an author of non-fiction books, the author depends on his or her own knowledge which is duly supplemented with research. Authors are those who write books, news articles, stories, blogs or those who write and publish scholarly research articles.
A co-author is also known as a corresponding author. Suggestive of the name, co-authors closely correspond with other authors. Usually, co-authors are known to collaborate with other author in writing any piece of literature. There are scholarly research articles, books even newspaper stories that have been co-authored. Co-authors work with the lead author on a single topic of interest as ideated or formulated by the author. The roles they execute are almost the same as the author but it is done in a different manner since diverse ideas are explored in a specific content. Tasks are segregated between authors and co-authors where they might decide to work on specific section of the research paper, book or news article. In the case of scholarly research work, the author would be the person who conducts the actual research and gathers content pertaining to the research. In this case, the co-author is responsible to organize and structure the information into a written format. Similarly, such kinds of authors are also commonly known as senior authors or lead authors. Many a time, authors are also known to interchange their work based on the type of information and its collection.
In short, it can be summed up that the terms ‘authors and co-authors’ are distinct where each one of them has a distinct role to play.