karensdifferentcorners

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When Are You a Published Writer?

At my last writer’s group meeting we got onto the subject of, “When are you considered a published writer/author?”

Do you have to be paid for your work to be considered published?

What if you wrote a letter to the editor of your local newspaper? Are you considered published then?

Or if you have a poem in your child’s soccer club newsletter. Are you considered published then?

Indie authors get a lot of flack for self publishing instead of going the traditional way with either an agent or publisher. So does that mean we aren’t published writers?

I have been doing a little research on this and have found many different opinions as to what are the qualifications to be considered a published writer. 

You can read a blog post by Scott Lindsay here for his opinion on being a published writer. http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/16161/writing/you_might_be_a_published_author_if.html

Here on yahoo, George says even if you write a blog post you are considered a published writer. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120613163824AAUSz8D

According to Rob Eagar “Self publishing does not make you a published author.” Read his post here http://www.startawildfire.com/2012/02/monday-morning-marketing-tip-self.html

Here’s the definition for publish on the Merriam- Webster site  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/publish

http://www.writewords.org.uk/forum/46_345848.asp

And last but not least here’s the definition for publish from the MacMillan Dictionary

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/publish

There are many more and each seems to have a different opinion or definition as to what counts as being a published writer. 

I want to know what you think?

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8 Comments

  1. This post made me stop and think. I don’t know where you draw the line on the word published. I’d say that a letter to the editor would be no and self publishing a book would be yes. It’s the everything in-between those two that I’m not sure about.

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    • I guess it just depends on who you ask. 🙂
      I say no to the poem in the soccer newsletter. And I agree with you about the letter to the editor. It’s hard to say. I mean I don’t consider myself a published writer just because I write a blog post like this.

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  2. Your published as soon as it is in print or online. That is certainly the patent & trademarks view of things. I think the real question is when are you a professional writer. I think that comes down to when you make money on it. A lot of self published writers make more than traditionally published authors. Some might argue how much money you make determines if you are a pro writer. Is it any money or is it a living wage. I know a lot of traditionally published authors that have to have a day job because the can’t make a living wage. I also know a lot of self published writers that write full-time and do just fine. I have a full-time job, but I consider myself a published author and a professional author. Why, because my books sell. Who cares if it was a subsidiary of Amazon that published it instead of one of the big 6. In fact I probably made more money in the first month my book was available than I would have made in the first 1-2 years of it being published had a pursued a traditional route. And that isn’t even counting the year or two I would have likely had to spend querying agents and/or publishing houses.

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    • Lynnette Adair

      *You’re 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One more thing, Vanity presses are a dying breed in the wake of Createspace and lightning source. Who cares if someone never makes it through the slush pile at a traditional publishing house, or in my case, never bother submitting. What counts is if people buy your books. The consumer is the real messing stick of success.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One more thing, Vanity presses are a dying breed in the wake of Createspace and lightning source. Who cares if someone never makes it through the slush pile at a traditional publishing house, or in my case, never bothered submitting. What counts is if people buy your books. The consumer is the real measuring stick of success.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the definition often depends on the individual. For me it’s the entry bar. I started my writing career, effectively, writing satire for the newspaper at my university in New Zealand, which I did by walking into the editor’s office and offering to write for him (nice guy, I still keep up with him, 30 years later…). But I didn’t really consider myself ‘published’ until I’d actually sold a piece, freelance, and been paid for it elsewhere. It’s getting over that entry bar. Similarly, self-publish didn’t count – no third party assessing whether to publish it or not. Other people have a different view, of course.

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  6. I think I’m with Corey on the legal definition of publishing–and that the question of profession vs. hobby may be more to the point. I work at my writing about 10 hours/week, which just happens to be the same as I work at my part-time job. I think I’ve been evolving over the last year (since publishing my first novel) into a professional, even if I am not making much money yet (which keeps it at the hobby level). When I make more than pocket change in any given month, I’ll figure I’ve moved from hobbyist to pro.

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