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Shades of Gray : Conversation question • Page 3 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Shades of Gray

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
voxxylady
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby voxxylady » Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:44 am

Legally, yes, they would be considered published, as far as being out in public view. It seems the bigger issue is among writers, some of whom want to keep their noses above others by saying they've been published and meaning they've been paid for work that was published. There is a lot of attitude among traditionally published writers who look down on anyone doing the publishing themselves in any way and saying they're "published." I have writings out there that others published and I have novels out there I indie-published (using a POD for my footwork). All of the works are published, as is anything I put in my blogs. "Published" doesn't imply quality. The method of publishing doesn't imply or deny quality. As someone above said, there are many works traditionally published and paid for that aren't worth the time it takes to read them, much less to buy them. The same is true of any type of publishing.

We're writers: look in the dictionary. To publish means to make public. Yes, blogs are published because they are publicly available. It may make the term "being published" less a status symbol than it used to be, but that is very likely a good thing, as "status" shouldn't be the important part of writing or any type of art.

Jamesaritchie
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby Jamesaritchie » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:40 am


Gooblink
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby Gooblink » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:11 pm


Hanakoalways
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby Hanakoalways » Mon May 14, 2007 4:51 am

No, I think that the internet is a means to an end, but the road should never be confused with the destination. On the internet we write to be heard so that we will succeed at being published with something to have and to hold.

If that makes sense

fernand
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby fernand » Thu May 17, 2007 8:46 am

It boils down to web or print and for what purpose?

We should break this debate into into distinct categories. In the online world, anything that is available from the server of the web host to a global audience is published. In no small way, it becomes a positioning/marketing tool for the author. This is what I mean, numerous articles on personal finance on a blog will enhance the credibility of a writer when pitching a financial story to a print editor. I will therefore conclude that there is a wide line of demarcation between online and print publishing.

I know one or two things about pod publishing and we have a moral responsibility to say one thing right: The one that I know has an editorial review process.When you get their review, you will surely know that they reviewed your manuscript extensively and they even offer you some services (like copy editing) to enable you improve your ms.

For sure, against additional payment and don't forget that after more than 50 corrections, during the book production process you have to pay for additional corrections and that is why you find flaws in pod projects. And all in all, this is the issue: if your project is to enhance your professional status, then you have to find a good sub-editor and I noticed this was part of the editor's note in the June issue of Writer's Digest?

deborah
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby deborah » Fri May 18, 2007 6:47 am

I suppose blogging/journaling could be considered self published? what do you think.

Just as in written hardcopy, not all blogposts are created equal. Some are a pure joy to visit and difficult to pull away from, so intelligent is the discourse. On the other hand some are filled with a lot of emotion or self impressing prose. Who know? Now that I have written this into this forum, am I published? (hee hee)

camper
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby camper » Tue May 22, 2007 5:09 am

I don’t think the weight is being improperly given to the words ‘published’ or ‘writer’, but improper weight is given to what a blog is, what is intended for, and what is actually posted on them.

 

A blog (short for Web Log) is nothing more than a place to post the thoughts and comments of the person writing it.  Essentially it is a diary that anyone can read, but people are trying to use it for more than what it is because they lack the skill or desire to port their essays, short stories, and articles into a more professional looking medium. 

 

I fully agree that any article, essay, or story should be considered published regardless of the medium.  If you organize your facts and combine them into a coherent piece on say internet safety and end up getting it placed on Time Magazine, NY Times online, your company website, or your personal blog then you have published an article.  The fact that you are paid or unpaid does not mean anything other than the quality, as the more respected the source the higher the odds of it being a quality piece.

 

Unfortunately, many people think “Oh, it’s just my blog” and believe that it doesn’t count as being published because it doesn’t look fancy or there isn’t a big name behind it.  It is the content of what you write that matters more than where you put it.  If you write “Internet safety is important so you don’t get ripped off” in your blog, that’s not an article because it’s a statement or comment.   If you write a cohesive piece that talks about the subject, offers tips or techniques to combat the issue, and maybe even make some anecdotal reference that meshes with the subject then you have written an article.

 

Lets put it in reverse.  If you sell your article to Newsweek or Time Magazine and then copy and paste it verbatim to your personal website or blog, do you expect them to be pleased?  You could find yourself in serious trouble, depending on the contract of course.  And I’m sure that if they were to find out that the article they bought has been previously published after they have bought first rights to it, they would want to collect some sort of financial repercussions.  And I seriously doubt they would ever consider anything you write again.

 

It’s common sense, really.  I can’t believe so many people have a hard time seeing that taking something you have posted on your website and trying to sell it to a publishing house is anything other than trying to get them to buy something they can have for free.  If they’re willing to do that, wonderful.  If you don’t tell them that’s what you’re doing then point blank you are being dishonest, and I can’t imagine that you won’t eventually find yourself blacklisted when it catches up to you.

 

dan


JeanneT
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby JeanneT » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:24 pm


shayd
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby shayd » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:14 am

"Published" is a loaded term. I've worked in academia where "being published" is one of the three yardsticks tenure and promotion committes use to rate your net worth as a human being and, believe me, if there's a hair to be split, a T&P committee will find a way to puree it (peer-reviewed, expert-reviewed, invited authors only, compensation paid, etc) . In the eyes of a lot of deans (and probably editors and literary agents as well) "being published" isn't so much about being productive and holding copyrights as it is a rite of passage. "Have you run the gauntlet? Did you play our game by our rules, even if some of them are unfair, and still manage a respectable outcome?"

If that's how you measure publishing, then no, blogs don't count, self-publishing doesn't count, a college student literary magazine that is so desperate for submissions that they'll print anything they can get might not even count. Publishing as an industry is about business, and business comes down to simple transactions and marketshare. "How many people are willing to spend money to read what you've produced?" "If we invest in you, how do we know you'll make us a profit?" Blogs don't address those questions; anyone can read them, anyone can write them and the only money changing hands goes to our ISPs.

That said, all these things _do_ present opportunities that might help along the path to "classical publishing" (if that is even your goal in this electronic age). They create buzz, disseminating your work and your style. A successful (ie. profitable) self-publishing venture shows entrepeneurship as well as serving as a wake-up call to conservative commercial publishers who might be hesitent to gamble on an unknown writer with an audience within an unexplored demographic. A well maintained blog demonstates discipline and devotion to your craft.

Blogs might help one get noticed, but the truth is, anyone can "publish" on the web. It doesn't take talent, discipline, audience appeal, or a unique voice. While there are thousands of bloggers out there who _do_ have all of the above, there are also millions out there who don't. This creates the bloggers equivalent of the slush pile, millions of postings hoping to get noticed by the right audience with no real officiating structure to marry words with eyes and filter out the stuff that isn't ready for public consumption.

Perhaps we need a better lexicon to difference "professionally published with compensation" vs. "peer reviewed for quality" vs. "self-published with audence appeal" vs. "I paid five grand to print my memoire and all six thousand copies are in my garage" vs. "I downloaded a free HTML editor, check out my web page, it's better than Hamlet!"

dgford
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby dgford » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:43 am

Steve,

There is no question that you are more than on to something.  I believe this is the trail we all need to get on to be actively noticed by those around us.  I was invited by two schools within a space of two weeks to teach a Writing for Profit course, (which I quickly changed to The Writing Life, when the students arrived.)  They asked me to teach on the basis of two elements.  I was recently published in several national magazines, and they (the schools) had seen some of my poetry and stories for themselves.  I asked them why they chose me, and they did not hesitate to say that there are loads of English teachers and Professors out there who could teach the class, but that I was the one who was published.  A RIGHT OF PASSAGE IN MY CASE TO BE SURE.

Where eagles fly,

Don (Greywolf)


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