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Monday, July 16, 2012

Are You a Real Author?

A book is a book and an author is an author, right?

Well in the not so distant past an author would write a book or proposal, submit it to one or more publishing houses and wait for weeks or months to hear back. After a decent amount of time, around six months, said aspiring author would send out the manuscript, making copies and mailing the documents of course, to another round of publishers and the waiting process would happen all over again.

Flash-forward to the present.

Now, if someone wants to write a book... anyone, even a child, can. All you have to do is create the file and upload it on one of the many services, such as Amazon's "Create Space," and voila! An author is born. Or is an author really born?

What is the definition of an author?

A. One who writes?
B. One is is published by the traditional means...publisher with a print product.
C. One who is self published with a print product?
D. One who is self published with a print and/or digital product?

Confusing right?

To add to the confusion we can include the caveat the author needs to sell books to be considered a published author. By selling I don't mean to 100 of your best friends or manipulate the system, such as Amazon to spike sales at 3 PM in the morning, or offer the book for free on a slow day to become an Amazon best seller.

This is a hotly contested subject and I know many of my readers are self-published authors or those who aspire to be traditionally published at some point in their writing careers. I turned down a 4-book publishing contract in 1996 after I had successfully self-published said books and was happy not having to make 15% commission when I was making 100%. However, does that still make me a published author if I self-publish? I can't join many of the professional associations because I am self-published however several of my authors, Susan K. Marlow is one, is part of these associations because I publish one of her books!

And so we go round and round and I'm sure you have an opinion, so let's hear it!

1 comment:

  1. Everything is changing around us and the definition of what makes an author and author are changing with it. Writing, publishing and selling one book is easy...kind of. Building a career as a writer and selling each of those books isn't.

    It's that last point, the career, that I think will distinguish the author from the writer in future.