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  1. #1
    A Rassios

    Publishing -- The bar goes higher...

    Hi, guys. Coming in from lurker-land.

    Several messages I've read here of late seem to wonder when one is considered published. Even the sensical response of "one is published when the check has been cashed" doesn't quite always make us feel like we're over that first hurdle. The bar just gets higher and higher.

    The joy of getting that first article in print dims when you think that, well, it wasn't actually peer-reviewed was it?
    After a few dozen of those, well, these were just articles, not real publications, right?
    And the newspapers clips and stories and does one print mag a published author make? internal debates.

    And books accepted, awaiting publication. But does a small press count, even though it's conventional and they pay me, not the other way around?

    The more we publish, the more we wonder if we're published yet?

    Being published isn't a single point, but a spectrum.

    I just closed a small deal where a township will publish a booklet (at their expense) in exchange for funding two public-awareness environmental picnics up in the mountains -- they provide transport and food, including several goats for roasting.

    Well, it's not a check in the bank, but I THINK it counts as a publication.

    Pleased to me you all.


  2. #2
    Fred Volz

    Re: Publishing -- The bar goes higher...

    Hi Annie,
    Welcome to our wacky world where cynicism is king,sarcasm is queen and published authors can't spell the most basic words correctly.
    I remember when I was an up and coming rock musician back in the late seventies and eighties. At first all I wanted was to be in a band, so I was. Then I wanted to play a gig, any gig, so I did. Then I wanted to play a gig that payed, and I did. Then I would be fulfilled if I could just play a gig in front of a large audience at a concert hall, and we did. Then, I would be fulfilled if I cut a record, so I did.
    Then I would be fulfilled if I opened for a touring band, and we did (Pat Travers, Night Ranger, etc.) Then I would be fulfilled if our agent could land us that big record deal, he stole our singer and got him signed to a big record deal while the rest of us could take a hike. D'oh!
    The point is, we never felt like we arrived even though we achieved every goal, outside of the big Warner Bros. record deal. The gigs with Pat Travers that we looked forward to with starry eyed innocence turned out to be nothing more than sharing a stage with a burned out drunk. The record we cut with eager anticipation was great at first, but as our ears were more finely tuned, we winced at every play.
    People become jaded, and bitter people will always raise the bar a little higher than what you've accomplished.
    Welcome and thanks for the post.
    Fred L. Volz

  3. #3
    Glen T. Brock

    Re: Publishing -- The bar goes higher...


    'The longest journey begins with the first step.'

    As I'm the guy who said that professional writers should be paid for their services(and I stand behind every word of what I said), let me add that payment is not the only caveat authors consider.

    One of the first things I wrote, that was eventually published, was a pamphlet entitled A LAYMAN'S GUIDE TO COLLECTING COMICS (published by ASFO PRESS in 1968 or 1969). The booklet was designed to explain the comic collecting market, which was then in it's infancy,attempting to establish some standards and practices that did not yet exist. It was a popular little booklet. I was not paid for writing it.

    There are other motivations than payment in writing for public consumption. Thomas Payne wrote COMMON SENSE prior to the Revolutionary war. I doubt if he was paid for his essays. Martin Luther King's I HAVE A DREAM speech probably never paid him a cent in royalties.

    I've been published professionally three times. I cashed the checks and paid some bills. But when Susie Rigsbey, a reviewer I've never met, reviewed TRUTH KILLERS for Amazon. com, I felt like a little boy again, practically unable to restrain my excitement.

    Gary Kessler, who also wrote concerning this issue, pointed out earlier that it is not our self image that counts in this business. It is what other's think about our writing that counts. I can find no fault in his position. Without putting words in his mouth (I would never do that),I think both his opinion and mine are concerning professional writing. I readily acknowledge there are other avenues to being published as well.

    Glen T. Brock

  4. #4
    T.L. Davis

    Re: Publishing -- The bar goes higher...

    One of the most interesting threads I've read, let me add my two cents. Much like Fred Volz, I kept setting the bar higher myself. Having published a short story, I wanted to have a play produced. Having done that, I wanted a novel published. That took longer and I dipped into screenwriting in the meantime. At one point I had more contacts in Hollywood than I did in New York. A few published novels later and a few gigs as a ghostwriter and I felt like I could publish pretty much what I wanted, when I wanted. (oh, a lot of non-fiction articles, too) So, just when I was where I wanted to be, I went after the big fish: the major publishing contract.

    Then, the oddest thing happened, I just quit giving a dang about any of it. Oh, I recently published a short story pretty much to keep the depreciation on my computer for tax-time, but thats it. I haven't even done a booksigning. I guess Berkeley wouldn't appreciate that.

    Burned out? I don't think so. As I look over a long list of credentials, (something I wanted more than anything at one point) I simply shrug.

    What's so great about being a published author? That's what I ask myself. Writing is a solitary, lonely endeavor. Even when you meet a writer who is really into the publicity, the image, the long technical discussions over wine, they are still alone striving for some feeling that they have "made it". If they make a lot of money at it, they are probably a genre writer and feel inferior to the literary crowd. If they are into literature and excellent, nobel-type works, they are envious of the money paid to genre writers.

    I've always been quite introspective, so I know that when I want to try for something again, I will. It's not like writer's block, or burn out. I don't want to go to all the conferences and get into the business enough to get that major contract.

    The best days I have now are when I'm out working on someone's water well, covered with mud, and completely into that world and one of my customers discovers that I'm a writer, that my books are in the library. They have that look like "what happened?" Describing the love for what I do now, and making them understand that it was a choice, not a circumstance, makes it a good day.

    What do you do when you realize most of your goals and find out that the last one, the big contract, is not worth pursuing? That writing for the sheer love of it, without consideration of pay entering into it, not because you can't get it, but because a check is nothing more than a great review. Getting a check takes the passion and turns it into a business.

    It is a comfort, I suppose, that I can get paid for what I decide to write. The question now, is what do I have to say?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you have.

  5. #5
    Bob Kellogg

    Hi, Annie. Thanks for kicking us into action.

    This kind of action, that is. I'm glad you showed up. If you've done any lurking at all, you'll know that there's a wide spectrum of writers hanging out here. They hit every shelf in the store adn hit it with a bang.

    Fred, Glen and T.L., thanks for your views. Maybe some kind of golden finger keeps raising the bar to keep us interested. Doesn't always work, as T.L. told us.

    Bob K.

  6. #6
    A Rassios

    Re: Hi, Annie. Thanks for kicking us into action.

    Seems an interesting group, indeed!

    Bob and I are old pals from way way way way way back.

    Fred, why is it that by the time we hit one goal, it doesn't seem nearly so important or as hard to acheive as the next goal down the line?

    Glen -- you have to admit, it's kinda cool being paid in sacrificial goats. Actually, the barter system goes big with local infrastructure here. It's easy for them to budget things for public relations or development, but difficult to actually do it in cash. So -- one booklet nets me about $1500 towards the cause in fees that I don't have to come up with (vehicle rentals, advertisement, food and music costs, etc., opens a lot of publicity via local TV stations, and gets a booklet into print. Which someone might read, and further the interest in the movement.

    Hey, T.L.! I wanna hear more about the water well! I'm a geoscientist through calling, and the fiction is just another aspect of the geo-experience. I site wells from time to time, but it's my husband who's always fixing the damn things when something goes wrong.

    Pleased ta meet all of you!


  7. #7
    A Rassios

    Re: Oops-Above reply for all of you--

    Still getting used to the ropes of posting here.


  8. #8
    Fred Volz

    Re: Oops-Above reply for all of you--


    I can only speak for myself. The music thing was only one issue. Even after I left the biz, I never found much satisfaction in too many things and would go from hobby to hobby, each time thinking that this was my panacea. I found my Lord and everything changed (Don\'t worry, no sermon this time). I now know that contentment is a choice.

    My problem now is that while I have learned contentment, I still need to be effective, which calls for some ambition. Always searching for that balanced completeness and hopefully I\'m getting closer. What\'s weird is that in some ways the bar still keeps raising, but since I don\'t look for fulfillment by reaching the higher level, the climb is more enjoyable.
    I don\'t remember who said it, but there is a quote that says;

    \"As a child I looked for compliments, but as an adult I look for evidence of my effectiveness.\"

    Have a fun Fourth!

    P.S.- Robert, If they don\'t have the Fourth of July in Australia, then what comes between the third and the fifth?:0)

  9. #9
    T.L. Davis

    Re: Oops-Above reply for all of you--


    Wow, what a coincidence. Just drilling wells here in Colorado and putting in pump systems. In the mountains, you never know if you are going to get water, or enough of it to suit the needs of the customers. It's nice to do something that helps people fulfill their dreams.

    The characters one encounters in small mountain communities are fodder for some future project. As I alluded to in the earlier post, writing is such a solitary endeavor that I sometimes lose touch with other people. This career choice of mine has brought me back into society. I get to meet people with different points of view, beliefs and ideologies.

    I guess everything works its way back to writing. At some point I will be so full of ideas that I'll have to sit down and write about it.

  10. #10
    Robert N Stephenson

    Re: Oops-Above reply for all of you--

    The 4th of July? What's that? We don't even have July down here; that only for heathens - back you blood sucking vampyre of olde (Insert crossed fingers).

    As for being published it is an odd experience. I have had many short stories published and even a book or two under consideration, but I think I made it as a writer when I actually penned my very first piece - a poem written back in the seventies.

    With that one step I went from dreaming to doing and I have been doing ever since. I am a writer, no question, and I am the author of some published pieces, well, I've been lucky. Where is my bar? I don't actually have one. I write because it is what I love and I strive to improve my love with each and everything I create. Each day I believe I get better at it, there is no magical limit to my writing, no high point; there is only writing for me.

    To have people read it is an absolute bonus - to like it, well, I can't lie, it is good for the ego but it doesn'ty drive my writing. Did have a period of about 6 mths where I let it and I didn't complete one single story, so I went back to the love of it - wrote three pieces in a month, sold two.

    I met an author who have five novels in print with a big league publisher in three years and she still didn't think she had made it. How sad. Her self esteme must be very low to be in such a position.

    When you are happy with who you are, despite the thoughts of others (They just don't count), thyen no matter what you do will be a success. By whose measure? you ask, well, by the person who it most matters to, you.

    Robert N Stephenson
    Also happy in the Lord, just not too sure if he'd like my latest horror story - then maybe he might.

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