Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Being a "Real" Writer

There is still a huge stigma about self publishing. I've come across it's venomous attitude myself, rather recently.

You see, I am an indie author. I chose to do so because my project could not be printed the way I'd envisioned it when done through a standard publisher. Years later and a second edition later, I decided that putting the workbook together by hand was more work than I really wanted, so I turned it over to Amazon. I also didn't have the capital to sink into a professional print, so now it is available print-on-demand.  It's still a pretty nifty book, and it sells well enough for me to receive fairly regular, if small, royalty checks.

And yet, a couple of months ago, someone actually said directly to me that I don't need to worry about plagiarism because - paraphrasing here - we small, worthless, indie authors aren't going to be worth plagiarizing.

Really? Talk about a slap-down.

Until very recently, though I have two published works - one indie and one part of an anthology- I was denied membership into a certain, well known, local writing group. Because I wasn't a "real" author I didn't qualify. (I'm sorry to say, but I'll never join now, no matter how successful I get, because I've been excluded too long.)

Well, this "real" author is available at Barnes & Noble. I know some traditionally published authors that can't say that.

What I would like to say next to all these people, I can't say out loud because my mother taught me not to talk that way...

Don't every let anyone get you down. If you feel the need to write, then you write!! If you feel that indie publishing is the way to go, then you do it! It can be done, and is being done, successfully every day, by many people.

I'm one of them!

So to every writer struggling, working hard, and still being told you're not "real" enough to qualify as a writer, I quote this ancient and well-worn saying:

(I can't translate this here due to a G rating requirement. If you don't know what this says, you'll have to google it...)


Karen Jones Gowen said...

Weston, it's difficult to believe this stigma still exists in our brave new world of publishing. Since joining Kindle Unlimited I've read a lot of self published books that are outstanding, well written, thoroughly and professionally edited. I'm grateful for the opportunity to find books and new authors this way that I'd never find browsing the public library shelves or at Barnes and Noble. To say a writer isn't a real author just because they didn't follow a narrowly prescribed view of being published is ridiculous. Even the Authors Guild has found a place for the self published now in its membership roles.

Weston Elliott said...

Happily, the stigma is slowly changing. The more quality literature that is indie published and recognized, the more "mainstream" and accepted it will become.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who are venomous about it. I believe it's a way of putting oneself above another, finding a way to be 'better' than them that a few traditionally published authors still hold on to. And that's sad. We should all be uplifting those who follow the same dream we do, not treating them like the competition.

Thanks for the comment!