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What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this Age? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this Age?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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LucisPixel
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What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this Age?

Postby LucisPixel » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:02 am

For a long time I struggled with the idea of being published. I have my steady income from my work. I love to write and I know the literary world is a lot more interesting complex strange than its ever been with Kindle Direct Publishing, SmashWords, Kobo, Nook, Self Publishing with Create Space and Lulu, Kindles, Literary Agents, Newspapers, ijournals, online magazines, blogs, open mics and even "cough cough" online forums.

Throughout all of these mediums what constitutes being published. If I just want to be able to say I have been published. What does that mean?

It took me twelve years to come to the most basic conclusion. Being published in this new age is something simple. To me its being read. Do you agree.

If you write something and someone else reads it. That thing that you shared with someone and that they read is now published.

I developed a very simple and peaceful concept for myself to want to feel published. I needed to feel published. Looking back as it turns out I have been published for a long time. All of the papers I submitted and were read and commented on in University were published papers. The poetry I performed at open mics was published. The writing I shared with a friend was published writing.

Before when I was younger and there were actually book stores that I could visit and buy books in my hometown, I thought being published meant I had to get something in one of those buildings that was a product and that could be bought. Not an easy task. I had to get someone from New York City to read my writing, think it was good enough, invest in it, print it, slap a hard cover on it, and ship it back to my hometown into the bookstores so that I could feel published.

Now due to a lack of book stores its all more confusing if I want that same line of reasoning to be applied to myself to feel published. So I wrecked myself trying to mentally wrap my head around this confusing long winded process that led to nothing now that the book stores were gone. Its now impossible for me to become published the way I wanted to twelve years ago.

So I reimagined what published means to me. Its just being read. I can quite simply do this now. I can create a website for myself. Post some writing to it and if someone wants to know if I am published I can say yes I am. Ive been published. You can call it self publishing if you like but to me its just streamlined. How much can I do for myself without involving others so that I get what I want. I want people to feel something based on something I wrote knowing that what I write improves people's lives because of how much of myself I put into my writing. I write with feeling now so I know that my prose is solid. I know my poetry is off the charts amazing. I have received my awards for poetry.

Now I am studying journalism and prose and to pass off my writing to a friend from hand to hand and to know that my book is at least somewhere on someone's book shelf is published to me. I can do this with Create Space and with Lulu. I can guest blog for someone and receive feedback from a number of comments. That's published to me.

In light of the monumental changes to publishing I had to revaluate my conditions with which I allowed myself to feel published. The confusion led to heartache that the traditional route was usurped but now I enlightened myself to the though that its immensely easier to feel published and to say you are published now because there are many more outlets for publishing not least of which is hand to hand transference of writing to people you know.

I shared my writing with my uncle and he gave me feedback on my writing. I improved his life with my writing by giving him insight into his nephew.

What is publishing? I shared my thoughts above ... what does being published mean to you today now that the changes have occurred and they are here to stay.
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby mammamaia » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:13 pm

to me, being a 'published author/writer' still means having work assessed, accepted, and published by a traditional [= they pay you for the privilege of publishing your writings] publisher and/or a publication that pays in cash, or copies, as opposed to being 'self-published' which often involves having to pay the publishing venue somewhere along the way...

and even if it's totally 'free' such as when putting e-books up on amazon's kindle, free-ebooks.com and their ilk, the fact that they'll take anything and everything submitted to them, with no consideration given to quality, sets it miles apart from the 'real' publishing houses...

i've been both, so i can honestly/comfortably refer to myself as a 'published author/writer'... but if i hadn't had a variety of my writings paid for by those who wanted to publish them, over the years, i'd simply call myself a 'self-published author/writer' and not try to gild the lily...
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:12 pm

If you want to publish, you use one of the self-publishing venues. Writers have always self-published. All that's changed is the technology. Self-publishing is still self-publishing, and there are no gatekeepers, no quality control, no talent required.

If you want to be published by a commercial publisher, nothing has really changed there, either, except the technology. There are gatekeepers, and there is quality control. It's a business, just like always. No talent, no getting published.

It really is that simple, and the only other difference I can see is that we used to call self-publishing "vanity publishing". The publishers were actually called vanity published. One of the biggest was called Vanity Press. It still is, for most writers.

"By itself, "published" is a word with zero meaning. You can write a post on this forum, and say you're published. You can make a blog entry, and say you're published. You can make a Facebook post, and say you're published. You can print off a thousand short stories, pass them around your neighborhood, and say you're published. So what?

You're right, finding a publisher who believes in your work enough to risk thousands of dollars is not an easy task. Getting past gatekeepers at all is not an easy task. Doing so requires talent, dedication, patience, and intelligence. The great majority who try it fail.

Just saying you're "published" is easy. Every small child who gets on Facebook is also published. A billion people are"published" every day. Again, so what? It requires no talent, no dedication, no anything except the ability to type. You can't fail.

I'm after more than what almost everyone in world, including children, does on a daily basis.

It's not about what "published" is. "Published" is simply a legal term, and anyone and everyone who writes anything online is "published". The person who tacks flyers up on telephone poles are trees in your neighborhood is published. The question is whether someone else publishes you, whether you have to get past gatekeepers, whether you need talent, whether a business will risk thousands on your writing, or whether you just type something, and "publish" it yourself.

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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby LucisPixel » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:56 pm

James, so for you its about threading a needle? You want someone that reads a lot of writing that might have a more discerning eye to note your work? You have access to the quote unquote easy methods of publishing but you are looking for a more advanced challenge when it comes to publishing? That is interesting because I can see how with advanced challenge comes advanced reward. I do not get much reward for my publishing but I still author I waver back and forth most of the time anymore in regards to why would I want to get paid to write. I enjoy it. The word vanity to me has a negative connotation to it in regards to how I often see it used commercially but I guess I fall back on vanity. What else can I call my style of publishing other than for vanity's sake? I write with an intent to be known for writing and authoring and maybe the gatekeeper concept is something that I am not that interested in in terms of time lines and challenge, at least not yet. But to set that as a goal ... to see how many gatekeepers can approve of writing. It seems like a strange concept to me at this point knowing that I can engage in getting a website sponsored which seems as about a difficult a challenge and I can get paid in hand for promoting a website with my writing on it. It occurred to me not to long ago that the level of difficulty in getting a website sponsored and promoting the website with the writing on it and getting the book published are about the same if not easier on the part of the getting a website sponsored. if the goal is get past gate keepers. I think I would rather deal with local gate keepers which is another problem I have.

I come from Cincinnati, OH so the culture I am surrounded with is totally different from New York City and other cities where the gatekeepers live. What is great writing in Cincinnati, OH might not be great writing in New York City depending on what trend is going on in their literary world. I would be more interested in starting a literary agency in Cincinnati, OH and just decide to become a gate keeper knowing that if I like it, you passed through my gate and I can help people sell books.

This last line of reasoning came from Write Bloody Publishing in the west where some poets just started a publishing house for poetry. Im so inspired by Write Bloody and they are my peers so I think to myself, what if cultural differences would keep me from being published and then I just focus more on web design and computer science knowing that with the right front for a website and the right traffic ... creating a honey pot as its called I think ... if I can create a sweet enough honey pot ... I can interest sponsors to supplement my income for writing and then at the same time I can keep writing and maybe be more original and make greater breakthroughs personally ...

What if trying to get past gatekeepers in another city is a bad idea for me ... its a classic concept ... but in this new age ... classic concepts might not be for me ...
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby DrG2 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:17 pm

I think it depends upon to whom you want to describe yourself as a "published writer".

Why does that label mean so much to you?

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LucisPixel
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby LucisPixel » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:06 am

its what I wanted to be when I was a teenager. I really wanted to share my writing with people and have them like it.
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby atwhatcost » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:42 pm

I've been published for decades. It's easy. Write something and put it online. Viola! "Published." "Published" isn't my goal now. My goal now is "author."

A writer writes. An author got paid for what he/she writes. I want "author." I am writer.
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LucisPixel
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby LucisPixel » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:11 am

Is this last link spam? How often does Writer's Digest accumulate spam? Im liberal on what I consider spam to be but this post right above me seems to be the very definition of it as when you click the link its like a knock off of a knock off of a knock off of a legitimate website.
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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby TerryRodgers » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:39 am

I'm not sure of the post, but best practices are to never click on a link unless you know the person. If you don't recognize the user, don't click any links.

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Re: What does it mean to be quote unquote Publsihed in this

Postby Renni01 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:42 am

Being "published" is extremely easy now. Published literally means to have a piece of text open for the greater public. By this logic even hater comments on YouTube are something that's "published".

What we want as authors is to have a piece of text that's under our name. We basically want ISBN and Copyright. I want this piece of text to have a place in the world library and be acknowledged as mine. Copyright is proof that we created a footprint of ourselves. At least, this is what I want. Whether I get money from my book or not is not the issue. Whether lots of readers like the book or not is not the issue either (although I'd prefer that they do). The point is that I did my job in my lifetime :)

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