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  1. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Qualifications for calling oneself "Published Author"

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Komposten, Oct 25, 2013.

    What are the general qualifications for being able to write "Published Author" in your CV?
    Is it enough to have gotten a couple of short stories published, or is something longer (like a novella) required?

    Maybe there are no such qualifications/they vary too much?

    Thanks in advance
    /Komposten
     
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "A couple of short stories published" would do it by my definition, if they were published in something commercial.
     
  3. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    For me, being published in a paying market qualifies you as a published writer (I suppose this applies more to poetry/short stories than novels). While being published in a non-paying and/or non-competitive market technically qualifies as being published, it doesn't carry the same weight IMO, so I certainly wouldn't mention it in a cover letter. (I should note that there are some good non-paying magazines out there, but they're rare.)
     
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  4. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    So it would count with a magazine that pays for your story/work?
     
  5. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Absolutely.
     
  6. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with thirdwind. If a paying market has bought your story and published it, you can call yourself a published writer.

    I once knew a guy who self-published a book that he made available on Amazon, then started hanging around story sites offering writers "advice from a published author." Paying a vanity press to print up some copies of your book doesn't make you published, in my view. You're a published writer if a professional magazine or other outlet has paid you for your writing with the intent of making money from it.
     
  7. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Suggest you check Merriam-Webster:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/publish

    Nothing about being paid, and I saw no qualifiers for self-publishing either. There's the actual meaning of the word, and then there's how people choose to "re-configure" the meaning, for whatever reason.
     
  8. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Even if the word itself does not mean you have been paid for your work, that might not be the same as the general interpretation. For instance, if you say your are a published author people will probably think you've written a novel and had it published by a publishing house. That's why I posed this question, even if the word does not specify anything, how does people (mainly employers in this case) interpret it in a CV?
     
  9. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have it on a resume/CV I would think that if you list it as your employment, you would say "Writer," and below that, you would list what/where you have been published and by whom. If you're mentioning it in a cover letter, or in some sort of blurb or advertising, I think of "published" author as meaning that someone else has published the work (for example, there are some nonpaying, yet respected magazines, that would count in my mind as "published"). But, as has been pointed out, there's no set definition, and plenty of self-pubbed authors do call themselves "published authors."

    The fact is, that anyone for whom this matters won't pay much attention to the proclamation of "published author." They will want to know where, specifically, you have been published, and what you've published. There's a difference between having written a NYT bestselling novel that was nominated for the Man Booker prize and having published How to Train Your Dog in 10 Days.
     
  10. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, yeah, there is a 'set definition' (see above), and that would give self-published authors every right to call themselves published authors, without the quotes.

    Definitely agree with this. Listing a job title, for instance, doesn't mean anything without the details, either. Many job titles sound much more impressive than what the job actually entailed.
     
  11. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i hew to the commonly accepted meaning in the literary/publishing world, which is 'any writer who has paid credits for her/his work'...

    if you call yourself a 'published author' in a resume, job application, or query letter, having no paid credits under your belt, and they check up on you and find you were inflating your status, it can be more than merely embarrassing...
     
  12. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    The factual definition matters rather little since in context and what is the normal perception of the word can be rather varied.

    If I tell anyone I am a published author, I'd expect them to think "Oh, he wrote a book and sold it."
    Most people will think of someone having been paid for their work. I rarely ever heard anyone ask whether it was self-published or not (Which I'd deem rather a snide question)
     
  13. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    And so any author who has had work published in a distinguished but non-paying journal is somehow a liar if they state they are published?

    Oy, sometimes writers can be the most pretentious bunch of people... :rolleyes:
     
  14. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    does that parting shot include me, for the opinion/definition i posted, sw?... if so, i thought you'd know me better by now... :(

    fyi, the 'distinguished' journals you refer to do 'pay'... they 'pay in copies'... which is stated in their submission guidelines and accepted in the industry as acceptable 'pay' for non-profit publications...

    and if writers claim to be 'published authors' because they've had work appear in less-respected copy-paying venues, or total freebies of little or no repute, and their claims are checked up on, it won't do their reputations any good...
     
  15. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not directed at you, mamma - just writers in general. As to "pay in copies", you can get those from vanity presses. But as you stated, here and earlier, it's not what you call yourself - it's what you actually did. One call call oneself a "maintenance engineer" or a "janitor" - who cares? What counts is what you did in the job. Obviously, someone who was published in the New Yorker would be a step (or more) ahead of someone who was published in a regional journal - but they were both still published. And some would view a self-publisher as the very type of person they would want - self-sufficient, low-maintenance, ambitious, etc.

    For me, I would never use the phrase "I am a published author" or anything similar in a CV or resume - I would simply list the work I had published and let whoever's reading it call me whatever they wished.
     
  16. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    A vanity press doesn't pay you in copies - you get copies you pay them for.

    When I hear the phrase "published writer" I think of someone whose work has been paid for by someone else. This is a different thing from a "self-published writer." Sure, there are self-published writers who are successful - they sell the copies of their books they paid for - but the fact remains that they are themselves the only ones who deemed their work worthy of being read.

    To me, a self-published writer calling himself a "published writer" is kind of like a person who went to a trophy shop, bought himself a trophy, and calls himself a champion. It doesn't mean he isn't a great athlete - he very well may be one. But he hasn't really won anything no matter what he displays on his mantelpiece.
     
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  17. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, this is what I meant in my earlier comment. Self-published is still published - and I would note that a lot of nonfiction writers are self-published. It's just way too easy to paint one group as inferior in order to make another look superior - and it's often-times a sloppy paint job.
     
  18. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Let's put it this way: as far as the publishing world is concerned, only paid credits matter.
     
  19. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've got quite a lot of meat here to think about. So thank you all for your opinions on the matter!
    Considering all this I will definitely be careful of how I use that title, if I ever do use it (I'd need to get published before I can, no matter what).
    Maybe it's just better to go with what shadowwalker said, to avoid it and just write a list of the written work instead (unless the list is too long and clutters the CV).
     
  20. thirdwind

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You could have a section for "Publications" at the end of the CV, although I would still recommend going with paid credits if possible. That's going to sound a lot more legit than listing non-paying credits. But since you say you aren't published yet, perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves here.
     
  21. idle

    idle Active Member

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    Just wondering: there's this question "Are you published?" in the profile on this forum. Would you treat it differently than a CV? Do you think self-published authors shouldn't select "Yes" there?
     
  22. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm, my 2 cents' worth here. Technically, I guess you can say you are published if your work appears for public consumption, even on this forum or in blogs—or so we've been led to believe via other threads regarding posting=publication.

    However, I think the traditional use of the term meant 'accepted by a publishing company which pays you an upfront fee for printing and selling your work to the public.'

    This is all changing. It's now possible to upload your novel or any other work onto Amazon, where it is sold as a Kindle edition and/or in paperback form, no questions asked ...and no quality checks made either. Other eBook formats also exist. As long as the piece is formatted correctly that's all you have to do.

    You are not 'paid' for your work ahead of time, but if you play your cards right, and the 'look inside this book' facility proves helpful to you, you can sell a lot of copies and make money. You also have total control over your product, which, depending on the product's quality, can be an asset or a liability. I do know at least one author who is creeping up the Amazon rankings with his first novel, by doing that very thing. Is he published? I'd say his book is certainly out there, and people are asking him for more, but whether 'he' is published? ...dunno.

    So it's all changing. Instead of a single yes/no answer to the are you published? question in this forum's profile, I wish we could have a few more options to choose from. If you are self-published, whether in vanity or eBook formats, you should be able to say so, in the interests of total honesty.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  23. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've also thought about that.
    Some more options, like "self-published", but also maybe where (magazine, ebook-store, publishing house, etc.) or what kind of fiction (short story, novellete, novella, novel, non-fiction, etc.)
     
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  24. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. I agree with this. It would make our profiles a lot more interesting to read, and would help us to get to know each other's fields of expertise. There is a lot of difference between having a novel picked up for publication by some major publishing house, and someone who has had a scholarly article published in a medical journal. Both are traditionally 'published'—and will trigger a 'yes' on the question are you published? but they require different skills to write.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, "published author" would mean that the person had written a book that was published by a traditional publisher.

    "Published writer" would mean that the person had sold some piece of writing to someone who had published it traditionally.

    I don't know why "author" says "book" to me, but it does.
     
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