Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Marco, Part 2

Just as, in my opinion, Marco needed to earn the title of perfumier, writers, in my opinion, need to earn the title of published author.

Anyone who can scratch out words on a page can have those words printed and bound and put up for sale on sites like Amazon. To me, that type of publishing is tantamount to bottling perfume from a basement lab and selling it from a briefcase in a bar.

In other words, it’s very likely that the end product will stink.

I was at a writer’s conference one time, outside smoking a cigarette, when a fellow attendee strolled up and asked for a light.

“What kind of stuff do you write?” he asked.

“Hardboiled. I’m working on a private eye novel.”

“Anything published yet?”

“Not yet. I’m still looking for an agent. How ‘bout you?”

“Yeah, I have a book out.”

“Really? Who’s the publisher?”

He named a certain POD outfit. "Here, let me give you one of my cards...”

He handed me a business card and walked away. He avoided me for the duration of the conference, preferring instead to hang around with other “published authors.” I felt like grabbing him by the collar and shouting you’re not published either, you punk, but of course I didn’t. Anyway, I doubt my harsh words would have penetrated his cloud of arrogance.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a published author. You have to earn the title by landing a contract with a legitimate publisher, and that can take years of hard work.

Some folks would rather throw up a lab in the basement and start hawking product right away (throw up and hawk being the key words there).

That’s their choice, I suppose, but I really don’t see the point.

2 Comments:

Blogger spyscribbler said...

There are all sorts of reasons not to self-pub, and it generally doesn't get the author what they want. But I don't at all feel threatened by self-pubbed authors. What I don't understand, is why people care so much? So someone chose to self-pub. That's cool.

If it ever starts working, then even "real" published authors might have a choice not to give away part of their profits to publishing companies. If it never works, then it's no skin off anyone's back, except the person who chose to take the risk, and they chose that path.

I personally don't care what kind of published anyone is. NY, small press, e-press, self-pubbed, not-yet pubbed, never-gonna-be pubbed, we're all a community of writers, and from my experience, all of them buy more books than the average reader (who what, buys two - four books a year, I think the statistics are?). They are all part of what keeps us all in business, all part of what keeps the joy of writing and reading alive. So someone puts out a sucky book. Who cares? I'm grateful they love writing so much to write, and they love books so much they read.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Hi Natasha:

I don't disagree with anything you've said. If that's the route they want to take, more power to them. Best of luck.

But...

Being published by a major house (or a legitimate indie) means several industry professionals have agreed that your work has literary merit or the potential to compete in the crowded marketplace or both. There's a reason the vast majority of manuscripts are rejected: the vast majority of manuscripts don't meet either or both of those criteria.

The gatekeepers do a pretty good job, for the most part, starting with the literary agent.

To me, you have to earn the title of "published author." It's not just a matter of sending your manuscript to the printers and presto change-O now it's a book and you're an author.

I can pick up a football and throw it across the back yard. Does that make me an NFL quarterback?

Only if I'm delusional.

9:33 AM  

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