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.
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby wandelaar123 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:35 pm

You have to be lucky
to be noticed in this world!

Good for you,

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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby dgford » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:56 pm

So you think if a person hangs out long enough in a certain fish bowl that eventually someone will fish them out?   Not sure that would work for me.  If I depend on my luck or my good looks for that matter, I may as well hang up my spurs now.  Like most folks, I win at very few things, and the numbers of entries in the fishbowl set the odds against me.  It happened for me not by luck, but by a determined effort on my part.  I was not idle over the past five years, but I presented several free pieces to newspapers and then I decided now that they knew who I was and I have supplied them with various copy pieces for their newspaper, I would then approach the area of pitching a story instead of giving it away.  They must have either felt guilty or greatful for the several freebies, enough to decide to pay me.  "Keep it to 300 - 400 words and I will buy it.  And on that day a writer was born into the world.  Look at the five years leading up to this moment as the gestation period before the infant is born. 

It is different with every writer and this is not the only way to bridge this gap - this was my experience.  More work than luck. I would say.

Where eagles fly and I will follow,

Don (Greywolf)

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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby shabam » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:58 am

Writing on a personal website does not, to me, count as being published. Self-Publication barely counts as being published, as anyone can do it. If the self-published work is carried in many book stores, then I would count that as "Independently Published." However, if the book is on LuLu, and not very well read, I would not count that.

As far as blogs and personal websites go. If blogs and personal websites count as publication, then posting on the Writers Digest forum would count as being published. And everyone becomes published as soon as they set up their MySpace account. No. To be published, you need to have an editor look at your work, think it is good, and decide to take a gamble on your work. Or at the very least, you need to self publish and work like crazy to get the book stores to pick it up. If they do, then you can be counted as published. Just because you write something, and post it for everyone to see, does not make you a published writer.


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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby airen » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:13 pm

I would not consider myself to be published if all I could show was my work on the web, in any form; blog, web site, etc. Published should still mean that you write and someone buys your work to print, on paper and sell. Magazines and books to me are published. A web site or "blog space" are not true publishing venues to my mind. Nor are self published, download books or articles. If you didn't have to worry about getting a rejection notice, then to me, you did not get published. Anyone can rent space and put up something written and say they are published on the web. All well and good but who did you have to impress with your prose to get published?

I first got published by chance. A friend's father worked at the local paper and looked over 10 of my single row comic strips, took them to the editor and the paper bought them. They also wanted me to do seven strips a week, which I did for two years before I decided it wasn't fun anymore and stopped the strip.. The name of this first project was "Jimbo" and just a few years ago I ran into some people who knew my strip, this was at an anime convention in atlanta GA. I almost fainted.

In college I started writing poetry. I sent a few to Harpers, for some reason unknown to me, they liked those enough to purchase two for publication in their mag. That was when I thought to my self "WOW! I'm actually a published poet of sorts. It has always amazed me when my work gets purchased. Not to far back, three or four years, some one told me I was a good writer, all I could say was "well I suppose I am good enough to get published", but I have never thought I was much good at all. I flunked english for the most part until I got to college where I was fortunate enough to draw a wonderful professor who managed to get english through my thick skull.

At one point in my life I found a fishing magazine that liked what I wrote on flyfishing and they hired me, I ended up one of the editors till I quit to pursue other interest. Anyone that wants to read those articles can now find them at warning! if your not into flyfishing they are probably not going to excite you.

Now I am working on a novel, which will be polished and sent to my agent after a proper querry letter is composed. IF this project is picked up by a publisher and makes it to the book stores I will have to admit to my self that I just might be able to continue making a living at this writing stuff.

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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby TygerValverde » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:01 pm

I treat my blog as a public column, but I don't consider it 'being published.' Although I polish what I put on the blog just as much as any other story I write, I consider it 'bait' to lure the readers to my other stuff.
My blog posts are typically short, less than 500 words. Flash non-fiction.

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Re: Shades of Gray

Postby MonikaM » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:03 pm

Blogging and journals are definitely self published work, and these kind of online activities have provide people with the opportunity of publishing their own work and for those who are not be able to get a publisher.

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Re: Shades of Gray

Postby LMGilbert » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:15 am

What I like about the traditional or old-school idea of "being published" is that the work has indeed gone through some sort of vetting process or has made it past some seasoned and well-qualified gatekeepers. This prevents us from being embarrassed by our youthful exuberance, or youthful angst, as the case may be. Of course I'm only talking about myself here, as I'm sure none of you have ever made any error in judgement about what you want out there representing your art. ;) (homemade emoticon) Me, I'm always looking over my shoulder to make sure that old web page with the sappy poetry isn't still following me around.

Around the legal issue, as well as the financial one, I would not broadcast anything on the web if I thought I might be able to sell it for money or win a cool prize with it instead. And I would want to act in good faith with any prospective publisher, and definitely NOT try to say "This has not been previously published" when anyone can see it for free.

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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby Cmofield » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:16 am

The short answer is no it's not the same as being published.

The argument would be that because it's free and any idiot with web access can do it regardless of skill level or intelligence, thus insulting and diluting the artists and writers that have truly earned that published badge of honor.

The exception would be any blog that is thought of highly and earns a great deal of praise. Though certainly not the same as being published it could earn a person respect and get them the opportunity to be truly published.

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Re: Shades of Gray

Postby HumorWriter0910 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:35 pm

As far as I see it, regardless of whether blogging technically makes us "published" authors or not isn't really the issue. I think saying that you've been published implicitly suggests, to an agent or anyone else, that you've earned some kind of credential--namely, one that says someone other than you has reviewed your work and found it, for lack of a better term, worthy. I love working on my blog, but the fact that I just created it and then started posting to it isn't a testament to anything other than my ability to use blogger. Saying that constitutes being "published" in a professional sense dilutes the term to a point where it doesn't tell you anything about the writer.

Shabbes Goy
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RE: Shades of Gray

Postby Shabbes Goy » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:13 pm

Is it still allowed to post here? I'm new, don't hit me please :o

My personal answer on this question is: No. That would be like saying "Hey, I'm published because I was just whining on Twitter about that poor new season of Lost!". I mean, where do you draw the line between a blog entry, a tweet, a Facebook status update,...?

To me, being published means having an ISBN to call your own, an entry on Amazon, that kind of thing. Of course, publishing a blog entry is also "publishing", but so is putting your email address in your public profile on a message board.


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