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 Amazon.com (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?