|Posted by donnafawcett on March 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM|
I just received a rather distressing bark-o-graph from my friend and neighbour Angela Afghan. (A 'Bark-o-graph' is dog communication--one bark is 'yes'; two barks are 'no'--you get the idea.) It appears that Angela sent her award-winning book into a contest where she could further her promotional prospects only to have it returned stamped Rejected. Not appropriate for contest. See www.IthinkI'mrightbutI'mnot.com. She then went to the website only to find a nice smarmy picture of the contest organizer with a bubble beside his head (does that make him a bubble-head?) stating the following:
If you are a self-published author, you are not an author. An author is a person who goes to the extra work of finding a real publisher. A self-published author is simply a person or dog who is too lazy to do the work needed to become stardard royalty published.
Needless to say, I, Duke the Chihuahua, champion of underdogs, had a minor hissy fit before barking out my reply to Angela. Here is what I told her:
Said contest owner might want to consider going back to grade two where they learn to read the dictionary. This is what he will find (my compliments to Merriam Webster's Deluxe Dictionary by Reader's Digest).
Author \'o-ther\ noun [Middle English auctour, from Old North French, from Latin auctor promoter, originator, author, from augere to increase--more at EKE] (14th century)
1 a : one that originates or creates : SOURCE (software authors) (the author of this crime) b capitalized : GOD 1
2 : the writer of a literary work (as a book)
Allow me to translate my lovely long-haired Angela. First, the definition, I'm certain, is older than the contest manager--so much so that when he is dead and gone dogs who know enough to look through dictionaries will forget his idiotic statement. Second, not once does the definition include the word 'publish'. An author is the creator of a literary work even if it is a cheesy poem scribbled on a napkin. Third, why would you bother gravitating toward such snobbish behaviour in the first place?
My dear Angela, obviously this human Neanderthal has no clue as to the value of self-publishing. When an author (the creator of the work) wants to have an unlimited print run, wants to hold all rights to the created work or wants to keep the bulk of the profits in his or her own pocket, that author will choose to self-publish. Conference speakers do this all the time. It has become such a popular past time that even the big standard royalty publishing houses have begun to create self-publishing imprints. And I dare say, your contest manager wouldn't catch himself telling them they are not legitimate. The key is in knowing why and how you want to publish and making certain you choose an honest self or standard publishing company. (See Chapter 24 in Duke the Chihuahua Writes!)
Dear friend, ignore the old sod. I'm guessing someone along the road has told him he's something special and he actually believed it! I'm here to correct him. We are all special. And those of us who write--whether we publish or not--are authors. The real question is: Are we good authors--now that's a different debate entirely.