A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though often novelists also write in other genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Some novelists are professional novelists, thus make a living writing novels and other fiction, while others aspire to support themselves in this way or write as an avocation. Most novelists struggle to get their debut novel published, but once published they often continue to be published, although very few become literary celebrities, thus gaining prestige or a considerable income from their work.
While many novelists compose fiction to satisfy personal desires, novelists and commentators often ascribe a particular social responsibility or role to novel writers. Many authors use such moral imperatives to justify different approaches to novel writing, including activism or different approaches to representing reality "truthfully".
Novelist is a term derivative from the term "novel" describing the "writer of novels". The Oxford English Dictionary recognizes other definitions of novelist, first appearing in the 16th and 17th centuries to refer to either "An innovator (in thought or belief); someone who introduces something new or who favours novelty" or "An inexperienced person; a novice." However, the OED attributes the primary contemporary meaning of "a writer of novels" as first appearing in the 1633 book "East-India Colation" by C. Farewell citing the passage "It beeing a pleasant observation (at a distance) to note the order of their Coaches and Carriages..As if (presented to a Novelist) it had bin the spoyles of a Tryumph leading Captive, or a preparation to some sad Execution" According to the Google Ngrams, the term novelist first appears in the Google Books database in 1521.