Wednesday Whatever!

Wednesday

 

 

I was trying to think of something to write today and couldn’t. My mind was blank. Then I saw this blog post come up in my email box (this one)

I like the blog, I subscribed to this blog and I enjoy reading it whenever one of the authors put out a post. You should read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Ok, for those of you too lazy to go read it (ha!) Michael Helms, who by the way is a very good writer, asks, ‘when is an author an Author? Then he goes on to explain that he read an e-book that he felt was terrible. It was short, so it wasn’t even technically a novel, it was also badly (if at all) edited. So does this make the person who published it an author? He says, no. And I agree with him. It doesn’t make a person an author if all they publish is a bad short story. That’s not the reason I’m writing about it.

The reason I’m writing about it and pointing the post out is this……..

Am I an author? Or just a wannabe? Or maybe I’m ‘just a writer’.

You see, I’m not against what Michael says in his post. I’m more challenging some of the comments on the post. It’s the age-old debate…..does self-publishing make you an author or someone who just self-published? And if a writer puts out a book that isn’t professionally edited with a professional book cover does this automatically make it a bad book?

As most of you know my books were NOT professionally edited nor do they have professional book covers. Although I must admit I think the kind friend who did my book cover could be a professional at book covers. Anyway, the point being….does not having ‘professionals’ involved in the process make it a bad book? Automatically?

I think what got to me the most about Michael’s post was it hit a nerve with me. It hit my self-doubt button. That sucker is never far from the surface anyway.

 

Writer-

 

Am I an author? Or just a wannabe? Am I a fake because I self-publish?

In my comment to the post, I admitted that I did not have professionals involved in the process of publishing my books. Not because I didn’t want to. Because I’m a poor person. I just don’t have the money to hire professionals. Which brings me to another question. Are you a ‘professional’ just because you get paid to do something? I imagine you must have experience too. The couple of people who helped me edit my books are not paid to edit. But, one is a writer with many books under her belt and one was a teacher for most of his life. Does not THAT make them ‘professionals’?

Besides, I’ve seen traditionally published books with lots of editing mistakes. Does that discount their professionalism?

I’ve been having lots of problems getting my third book going. I have self-doubts as I mentioned. I am tired most of the time…….I could make dozens of excuses as to why I’m not writing. The bottom line is the doubt. Am I a writer? An author? Or a fake?

I know this feeling will pass. At least I hope it will. It’s not Michael’s fault that his article brought up these feelings. Nor the commentators on his post. It’s all mine. I own it.

Do I have to be traditionally published to be taken seriously as a writer? Some would answer that last question with a resounding yes. Why? Because that’s how it’s always been done? Times change folks. I’m old, but not too old to change with the times. Self-publishing is not a bad thing and yes it’s here to stay. Get used to it.

Now all I have to do is get myself in gear again and start writing, whether I’m an author or not. Because I refuse to let my fears or other’s opinions keep me from my dreams.

 

 

What’s your take on this debate?

 

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45 thoughts on “Wednesday Whatever!

  1. Simple Definition of an author –
    : a person who has written something; especially : a person who has written a book or who writes many books
    : a person who starts or creates something (such as a plan or idea)

    So according to this definition by Merriam – Webster, anyone who writes is considered an author. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting and yes I went back and read the article and the comments. I would like to answer your question and doubts another way. I cannot write a fictional story to save my life. I don’t have the imagination and I have the problem of not being able to stretch the story out for more than a few pages. My son can write, he’s got an amazing imagination. He hates the editing process so once he’s completed the story he sends it to me to edit. (Yes, I know I once sent you the wrong copy to look over, his rough draft). Anyway, my point is we all have our strengths, he can write I can edit. Even writers who have published the traditional way through a publisher find their books need editing before being printed, but they are still considered authors.

    Now on the subject of self-published books I am torn. I love that self-publishing opens up the opportunity for me to find something unique as publishers tend to stick with proven authors or topics that they know will sell, just look at how many rejections J.K Rowling received. But I’ve come across too many self-published books that were crap. It makes me wary about purchasing other self-published titles and I know it hurts those who took the time to edit and run their stories by others before hitting publish. I’m sure you are finding it hard to keep your books separate from the junk as my son has found as well.

    So what I’m trying to say is that I think the article you read while he was justified in complaining about the book he almost bought, you shouldn’t take it to heart. You can write, I love reading your short stories and your novels. When you did the 100 word challenges from a photo I would first look at the photo and see if I could think of a good story to go with it before reading yours. I rarely could but boy I enjoyed your stories.

    You are a writer and an author. Accept it and move on. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lois. You have always been one of my biggest supporters. Yes, I do find it hard and frustrating keeping my book separate from the trash that goes through self-publishing. It’s hard to do. Your son is a good writer, I knew that looking through a rough draft. I like to think I’m a good one, too.
      It’s an interesting debate, though. But then they used to debate letting women get published at all. haha! Times do change and self-publishing just has to work out a few kinks before it’s accepted fully.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do hope they work out the kinks. I think they are trying because the last book I uploaded for my son I saw there is now an edit process the book goes through before it can be accepted.

        You are right, times are changing, funny you would use that phrasing as it’s very close to the title of a post I’m working on. 🙂

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  3. Hi Jackie! I hope by now you’ve read my response to your comments on MMO. We are on the same page, share the same feelings about what a writer or author is. You are a writer/author and no one can take that away from you. What makes a “professional” a professional? Some type of degree? I see AP journalists writing a lot of terrible stuff in the newspapers nearly every day. Does their degree in journalism make them professional? I say the proof is in the writing. Yes, editing is extremely important, but you indicated that your manuscripts are heavily edited by you and your friends. I call it on-the-job training. With that comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes KNOWHOW! That’s how one becomes a “professional,” degree or no degree. It takes putting your nose to the grindstone and gutting it out. I believe you’ve done and continue to do that. Hold your head high. You are a writer and an author! 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have read your response to my comment and have commented in return. I like when a blog post makes me think or face something in myself and yours did that, although, I don’t think you thought it would in the way it did. 😉 We are always learning this craft and that’s a good thing. Thank you again, Michael. I will go out and conquer my self-doubts and be that writer/author! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We are all writers and whether you are published by Schuster or self-published you are still a published author. To be a professional, by definition you need to be paid. But if we quit writing because of semantics are we still writers? I would say “No” and I want to be a writer and so I write.

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  5. To me, I’m not bothered whether I’m considered to be called an author or a writer. When you write books they are just two words meaning the same thing. What is important to me is that my stories are good enough for others to read; that having read them they tell me how much they have enjoyed them. They consider me to be ‘an author’; and that’s good enough for me.
    I agree there is a lot of rubbish out there and it’s not all self-published; I’ve read some very fine self-published books. It’s true that JK Rowling had a hard time getting published but it’s even harder now to get conventionally published. As has been said, the proof is in the reading – people have read my books and enjoyed them, found them hard to put down – and I have read your books, Jackie, and thoroughly enjoyed them so to me you are an author.
    Whatever we call ourselves, we are both pursuing our dreams, so put away those self-doubts, know that your readers enjoy your work and carry on regardless! xx

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    1. Thank you, Jeanette. I do consider you an author. 🙂 You love to write and it shows in your writing. (I really need to finish reading your book!) And yes, we are going after our dreams and we have people that enjoy our writing. That’s pretty much what an author is, right? A writer who writes something other people enjoy reading. xx

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  6. Its a great question Jackie what are we if we write and self publish. I don’t think there is any doubt you are a writer and good one at that, your stories or engaging and excellent pieces of prose. The whole debate around being professionally edited has a lot to do with the editors/publishers engaging in a project that will make them money so from a commercial point of view that is their motivation. In your case and many others it becomes a cost prohibitive venture engaging in forking out large amounts of money when you don’t have it. Even friends who have been through publishers have forgone the $10,000 in publicity fees needed to push their book because that is an expense they cant afford. You are a writer, you write well and you’re brave enough to go down the self publishing road, good for you, believe in yourself.

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  7. It’s still Wednesday, and here I am!! Interesting topic. I’ve thought about that one myself. I am a writer, because I must write. I press publish every few weeks and put my work out there for the world to see and digest. They can like it or not. If they don’t, then they will read no more. Doesn’t make me write any less. I just finished a couple of light mysteries that I bought on my Kindle. They were technically nice stories but didn’t have the meat in them that your stories have. Someone else may have liked them more than I did and someone else may have liked them even less. Your stories meets my criteria. All your words are important to the story. The story moved in proper flow. It held my interest and made me want to keep reading each and every word, not want to skip over them to get to the next movement in the story line. I’m the reader who wants there to be a point to the paragraph, not to have it be padding. You don’t pad your pages. Someone else may not like your style. Tough, you are still a writer, (and a damn good one) and an author! Keep at it. And don’t take everything personally. I finished reading the book “The Forgotten Seamstress” by Liz Trenow. My friend didn’t like it. I thought it was well written and fascinating. It went back and forth in time and she had a problem with it. It’s still a good book and the woman is still an author. KEEP WRITING!!!!! You are a good writer and an author!!!! Now for some spooky stories. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Marlene. I try not to be too hard on myself but it creeps in sometimes, especially when I’m tired. Which seems to be my constant state lately. Anyway, I think there are going to be readers who will always like or not like something. That’s another reason there are so many darn books out there. Readers want, no…demand choices. So we give them to ’em. Or try to.
      I haven’t read any spooky stories in a long time. You mean like ghosts and stuff? Or what I term blood and gore stuff? haha!
      And yes, I will keep writing. I have to, it’s in my blood. Big hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I like ghost stories too, as you know. 🙂 I might have to write some more. After all Abe has been with me a long time. Maybe I should write about this old house I visited one time….a long time ago….huh, I’d forgotten about that until just now. Hmmmm……

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey there Jackie. I believe that if you self-publish a single 2k/3k Short Story that has half a dozen pages on its own then you are being cheeky to be calling yourself an author, you are still just a writer at that point. If you publish a collection of Short Stories (or poems) then I think it is fine to consider yourself a graduating from being a writer to an author once you have an actual book published. You personally are definitely an author, having written two books with many pages in them and working on your third!

    Regarding fiction novels, I don’t believe that you can only be an author if you have been traditionally published because of a huge number of reasons. There just aren’t enough traditional publishers to meet the demands of writers who have stories to put out there and traditional publishers can cherry pick what they decide to publish or only have budgets that cover a certain number of novels they can publish anyway. If you chose to self-publish, you are saving yourself many years of patiently waiting to see if you are lucky enough to win the publishing lottery and secure yourself one of the coveted slots. I am not against traditional publishing at all but I can’t sit by and patiently wait when there is a whole world out there waiting for the material that I write and having to go up against so many others who are in the same position. If your work is rejected (or chosen in favour of other people) then that does not mean your work (or the work of others you are in ‘competition with’) is of poor quality, there are only a limited number of slots available and in my mind there is nothing wrong with creating your own means to build a platform and a career to distribute your work and prove your popularity to traditional publishers, while you wait to be noticed further down the line. Self-publishing achieves this.

    Furthermore, by your own admission, you said that you used people that had experience and your editorial assistance was from both a writer with many books under her belt and a qualified teacher, which in my mind totally makes them professionals at what they do. They have earned their stripes through doing the process themselves over many years to a level that would easily qualify them to own their specific title of Editor, despite them not working for a traditional publisher. The same goes for the person that made your book covers. If you do an excellent job then it becomes irrelevant whether this is their day job, if they can do it well then they are a professional, plain and simple.

    I personally hate the stigma attached to self-publishing vs traditional publishing. If you write well and are creative and diligent, you could in theory edit your own novel and make your own book cover. Doing both of these things by yourself does not mean that you are unworthy of calling yourself an author. If you have done a poor job on both counts if you chose to do it yourself then you have to admit that a better job could have been done if you had got some outside help (just like you did with your experienced friends) or used ‘professionals’. Regardless of the quality of your book, you are still an author if you publish a book and put it up for sale. Incidentally I personally would always advocate the use of experienced peers or professionals to polish your work if you have the cash and if you don’t have the funds then to do what you did and utilise experienced friends/peers to help give your work polish to be able to put it out there confidently.

    So in conclusion, I say that you are an author irregardless of how you are published. Always consider traditional publishing but don’t be afraid to try it yourself with the self-publishing method, in the end it is the quality of your work that will speak for you and how successful an author you will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great comment, David. I agree with you when someone publishes a collection of works that they are an author. I agree that people that want to publish a book should always try to use someone else for editing and polishing. The writer misses more mistakes by being so close to the writing. I know I did. One of the things I like about self-publishing is that a year from now I can go over my books again and if I find more mistakes I can edit and re-publish them. I also think it’s a good idea for Amazon to keep tabs on complaints of poor editing to make those people take the books down and fix them. It helps us all if we have some standards. Thanks again, David. I appreciate you commenting so throughly. 🙂

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  9. Yes, you are an author. I have read terrible books from both self published and pro-published but I have also read amazing books from both camps. I do feel that I am more likely to find better quality among the pro-published but that opinion should not stop people from self-publishing. Typos and grammar mistakes don’t bother me unless they are really really bad. Which from what I read from you here, you don’t have that problem. So, yeah, don’t worry about the pro-editing, just keep doing what you’re doing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. You are right, traditional publishing has the most quality books because they have the nohow and the funds to do it like it should be done. But, I have also read great self-published ones too. It’s hard to sift out the good from the bad sometimes. Plus, every reader is different. Thanks again for your comment. 🙂

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  10. At the end of the day it’s just a label isn’t it. The word “author” in itself doesn’t make any promise of something being good – traditionally published, self-published, professional, amateur, there are good and bad in all. There are good and bad professionals and amateurs in all field. Over-thinking what it all means, and where we sit within it can become crippling and stop us doing what we love. We should all just do what we love and not worry about it! 🙂

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  11. Oh Jackie, I know that self doubt all too well. That’s probably why I haven’t finished editing and published my second book, the memoirs from the time I lived in Africa. I compared the draft to one of my favorite novels, Out of Africa 🙂 I did read the blog post and comments, and I agree there is far too much rubbish among self-published books, but there are also golden nuggets, authors who have “made it” big. And on the other hand, there is rubbish among traditionally published books as well – I have discovered really light weight stories and poor editing in some so called “best sellers” by so called “professionals” . It’s all relative. A good story, reasonably well edited, stands on its own. You are a writer – and an author. No doubt about it, Jackie. Keep writing. Now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it when you get tough with me. 🙂
      I know we writers are all full of self doubt, even some of the famous ones. But…my dear friend, you need to listen to yourself….keep writing! You are an awesome writer and an awesome friend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Tiny is absolutely right. I started all this discourse with my post at MMO. However, I do believe I mentioned how the “Big Guys” were publishing their share of crapola with all their ghost-written “celebrity & “shock us” books (aka, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner). Millions are wasted on that stuff, denying hundreds, if not thousands, of deserving, talented authors who will never see their work published by a “biggie” NY publisher.
      I was lucky enough to have one book (my first, a Vietnam memoir) published by a NY publisher; it continues in print today with another biggie NY publisher. I’ve since written and had published (by small presses) several other works that I feel are superior to my first effort. I’m now on the verge of testing the self-publishing market myself. Heck, I’ve been doing the vast majority of publicity/marketing for those books myself. So, why not?
      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jackie is a talented writer/author. She is NOT among those my recent post/diatribe was referring to. In fact, if and when I decide to self-pub, I might be contacting Jackie for advice. Thank you all for your many comments. I hope you’ll realize I was always on Jackie’s side as a writer/author who was doing things the RIGHT way!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, Michael, I do hope I didn’t give the impression that you weren’t on my side or against self-publishing! Your writings and posts have always been pro writer whether we publish or not or whether we go self or traditional. I knew that and I hope my readers know that. Your post just got me to thinking and wondering and doubting myself, which is easy to do. You did get several conversations going that’s for sure! And isn’t that what a good post does? I’m sorry if anyone got the wrong idea that you were against me or self-publishing. What you are against is bad writing and that’s what we are all against.
        As for advice….oh my….. I got A LOT of help from my friends but I would try and help you as much as I can. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks, Jackie. I did believe we were on the same side of the issue. Not so sure some of your commenters thought so. 🙂
          Heck, I’m not even against bad writing. We were all bad before we put in the hours and sweat to get better. What I AM against is bad writing being published! Even by the “Big Guys.”

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          1. I have very loyal readers. 🙂 I think most of us writers are on the same page about not liking bad writing being published. It’s all good, Michael.

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  12. You have published a book, therefore you are an author. I haven’t so I refer to myself as a writer. That’s kinda how I look at it. I don’t think it matters whether it’s self or traditionally published. (At least that’s my take on it.)

    Keep up that writing lady! You’re a creative soul! & A gifted one at that! ❤

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  13. You are just as much an author as I am an artist! 😉

    I never get hung up on the meanings some people attach to words… particularly when they’re being defined in elitist terms to rank one’s worth at anything. I am the writer and author of this comment, and nobody can tell me otherwise!

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