A short while back, I received an email from a writer at the end of the persistence rope. She'd sold to an ePublisher, but she was hurt that other members of her writing group didn't accord her the same respect and admiration they did for authors published by big NY traditional print publishers. She wanted to know why they didn't.
No hate mail please. I'm not trying to insult anyone. I'm just answering that question in an open forum.
Sometimes, writers just get worn down by the process of submission and rejection. They want so desperately to see their names on a book cover that they lose perspective and start rationalizing. All they want is to be published. So they'll take any kind of publication whether it pays them a dime or not. Then they're published, and they want the same ego strokes that a writer like Nora Roberts gets. When they don't get it, well, it sometimes gets ugly.
I'm here to say to you, writers, amend your dream. Don't just want to get published because you probably can be by some vanity pub or by some ePub without a track record. What you should desire is to be well-published. Trust me, there is a big difference between the two.
In today's world, just about anyone can claim to be published. I see hoards of people who call themselves published. These range from people who plunked down a chunk of cash to a vanity press to those published by online ePublishers to those published by legitimate small presses to those published by the big boys in New York.
Heck, I know someone who had a letter to the editor published in a newspaper, and she added that she was published in a major print periodical to her resume. She called it creative marketing. You probably don't want to know what I call it.
Ah, to be well-published means you got a decent advance, probably negotiated by an agent, a royalty schedule specified in your contract, a publication date, and the knowledge that when your book hits the stores, you'll be proud to shout: I'm published. You won't have to go around defending your publishing credit and attacking anyone who even looks as if they're thinking "that doesn't count."
Viva La Difference
What's the difference between the two? Money. They pay you, not the other way around. Publishing is a business. You're a business because you write with the expectation of making a buck. In business, you keep score with money.
Decent royalties that keep earning. Respect from your peers. Respect from publishing professionals. You get taken seriously by the pros in the business, and that's far more important than impressing your Aunt Matilda or the bunco club or any others you may think of.
Getting published is nice, but if you're a pro then you should want more than ego gratification. Getting well published is everything in the business of writing. That's what we should all strive for - getting well published.
Hard But Rewarding
Sure, it's hard. Yes, it sometimes takes years before you write something good enough to capture an agent who will be on your team. Even then, it may take more time before you find the editor who loves your writing and wants to offer you a contract.
But hold on. Hang tight. If it were easy, everyone would have publishing credits. It's not easy to get well-published with a quality ePublisher or a traditional print publisher, but it's what you should strive for.
Now, I'm sure some of you have written great books and had them self-published so please don't send me nasty emails or ugly comments that I'll have to wear out the delete button on. Save your creativity for your novel. Don't take the easy way out. Hang tough, baby. The wait is worth it. After all, you'll be writing and writing so the time will pass. You'll be improving because practice makes perfect.
Just the accomplishment of writing a book is something to be proud of. If you want an even bigger pride symbol, then scorn being "published" and go for well-published. The payoff is immense.