Friday, July 6, 2012


verb (used with object)
to issue (printed or otherwise reproduced textual or graphic material, computer software, etc.) for sale or distribution to thepublic.
to issue publicly the work of: Random House publishes Faulkner.
to announce formally or officially; proclaim; promulgate.
to make publicly or generally known.
Law . to communicate (a defamatory statement) to some person or persons other than the person defamed.
verb (used without object)
to issue newspapers, books, computer software, etc.; engage in publishing: The new house will start to publish next month.
to have one's work published: She has decided to publish with another house.

I pose a question for you. How do you know that you are published? Is it measured by the number of books you have sold? Or by how you are published?

Let's look at how many books you would have to sell to be considered published. 100? 1000? 10,000? 1? Does it only take the purchase of one book? One article to be considered published?

What about how you are published? Does having a traditional publishing house standing behind you mean that you are published? Or is it the moment you put something out for public consumption? 

I've recently been informed that I am not welcome to speak on a Local Prose stage for Georgia authors. Why? I do live in Georgia, after all. I was told to speak to the people in charge of the self-published stage. That the Local Prose stage was for "published" authors only. I will admit, that was a slap in the face. Am I not published just because I do not have a publishing house? Did I not "publish" myself? According to the definition of publish I have certainly met the qualifications. Do I need to disclose the amount of books I've sold in the last eleven months? If that isn't enough, how many would I have to hit? 

There are self-published authors on the USA Times Best-seller lists, the NYT Best-sellers list, in the top 100 books on (Heck! In the top 20!). They made all of those lists without selling in Walmart, Target, or bookstores. If one of my lovely friends were to show interest in speaking at a local prose stage, would they be turned away because they are self-published? Surely they have proven that self-published authors should not be treated differently. That self-PUBLISHED authors are indeed PUBLISHED. After all, you have to be published to sell books. 

an act or instance of discriminating.
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating  judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
Archaic . something that serves to differentiate.

This mindset has haunted humans from the very beginning. We've dealt with it in many different ways. Fought over its many different shapes. Have we not learned at this point that discrimination in all of its forms are unjust and hurtful? That it does nothing but hinder society from reaching its full potential? Have the history books that we study lied to us all of the years?

 The lines drawn in the sand are slowly eroding away. There is room for all of us. No reader only reads one book and nothing else. We are not competing for finite resource. As a reader, I do not care if an author is traditionally published or self-published. All I’m looking for is a good story. As an author, I do not care if an author is traditionally published or self-published. All I’m looking for is fellowship among people in the same profession.

While I debated whether or not to write this post, my husband was watching ESPN. I heard something that caught my attention and I made him rewind so that I could listen to it again.

John Irving was comparing wrestling with writing. It takes dedication and self confidence to succeed at either. "You must believe that you are a writer or no one else will." 

I can only say this: I believe I am an author. I live, breathe, love being an author. I am a PUBLISHED author and I have more stories to tell. That I will tell. On my terms. 

I leave you with the questions I posed in the beginning. What is your definition of published?


  1. Amen Nichole. The big publishing houses just don't get it. Their ebook cost way to much. Most of the time their format's are crap. You have to wait at least a year to get the next book in a series. They seem to do a hole lot of nothing. Write on girl.

  2. Once upon a time, self-publishing was synonymous with vanity publishing, and the only way to be validated as a writer was to get a contract with a publishing house. Those days are over. Once upon a time, you needed a buggy whip to motivate your horse to pull your carriage down the street, too.

    There are wonderful writers who have gone the traditional route because of their personal values and preferences, and there are wonderful writers who have ventured out into this new frontier of ebooks and self-publishing. There is room for both, and there are certainly readerships for both as evidenced by so many successful, independent authors.

    And dare I say the analysis is beginning to reveal that independent authors have the financial advantage? With 70% royalties, even the moderately successful are able to make a real living as full-time, legitimate authors. We no longer require publishing houses to approve of us; we are no longer tied to marketing formulas or formulaic writing. I have read some amazing, incredibly creative and insightful authors who would have never been accepted by traditional publishing houses because they didn't fit their mold.

    I like breaking the mold. Isn't that what the great American dream has been all about?

  3. Fantastic post! I 100% agree with you.

  4. Awesome post, Nichole!

    Tracey Garvis Graves

  5. I'm pretty sure the moment the written word is available to an audience it's published. On paper, online or any other way.

    But maybe I'm confused.

  6. So... I guess if I was to attend this shindig, I wouldn't be welcome to speak with the "published" authors, despite having a book on the current NY Times bestseller list. Interesting. I wonder what happens to the group making this decision when an author gets a traditional publishing deal (like Tracey Garvis Graves, above)...but it was someone they INSULTED previously? Maybe you should post the definition of "alienate" for them. They may need it soon.

  7. Well said Nichole...would they have said that to J.K. Rowling because all of the ebooks for Harry Potter are self published and not through a publisher. Although they would most likely tell her she had to use the out of state stage.

  8. Such amazing points made here...and the saddest thing is, people who decide that only publishing houses put out excellent reads are cheating themselves. Great books come from all different publishing roots, and differentiating based on how they've been published instead of the content of the publication makes absolutely no sense at all. Rock on, Nichole. Excellent post. Awareness is definitely what we need to help people get past their stereotypes.

  9. Great article as a reader and aspiring Indie author I don't care if you are traditional or self published give me a great cover …great story and make it reasonably priced and I will follow you anywhere......

  10. I agree 100%. I think it all comes down to what is in your heart. You love to write. You are an author.

  11. No one ever denies a painter is a painter just because he has not sold a painting to major gallery.

    Or that a singer isn't a singer because they book themselves in local coffee houses and bars.

    Or that actor is any less so because he performs one man shows.

  12. Bravo, Nicole! And I couldn't have said it any better than Killian, either.

  13. Fantastic post, Nichole. I am so sorry that you experienced this kind of discrimination over something as simple as who hit the publish button.

  14. I would also like to add that Walt Whitman and Jane Austen started out self-pubbed too, which i learned thanks to this GREAT indie-love post:

  15. Nichole,
    Carol (of C.A. Kunz) told me about this when we met last weekend and I wanted to comment so you know how many authors heard about this and are behind you. I'm an author. I'm published. Doesn't matter who hit the "publish" button. My books cost money. People buy them and read them. That's the definition, to the simplest description, of published. That's all our readers need, so why do those people need more? Tammara (above) had a great point. ALIENATE is another definition you may need to post for them. Fear makes people act like bullies. Just know you aren't alone in your corner.

  16. Well said, Nichole! You make me proud to call you my friend and writing comrade!

    Hugs from one "published" author to another.

  17. I am in love with this post, Nichole! Thanks for putting it out there.


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