My advice is to keep reading this thread and everything you can find related thereto. Our own Michael Marcus has a good book on the subject.
Self-publishing can be immensely successful; it's very much an equation of how much you put in vis-a-vis how much you get out of it. You're well ahead of the pack by having a niche market in place and intention to maximize your contacts. If you work with a quality print-on-demand house, such as Lightning Source, you won't get stuck with cartons of inventory in the basement.
As for your opening question -- Does a few published articles make me a "published author"? -- the answer is "Yes."
Thanks for quick respones Linda and Carolyn! I will definitely keep this thread in mind as I travel down the publishing road with my book. I will also look into the sources you provided and look into Marcus' book as well.
And, yipee to being able to call myself an author! One of my first how-to writing books I read years ago, said to be a writer, you have to write, but to be an author you have to publish. I always thought it meant books, not articles and magazine shorts. I often refer back to the comment in that particular book and wonder if it's part of my insecurity in writing. I don't like being naive, but if the shoe fits...
But thanks to this wonderful writing community, I learn more and more every day!
Re: "One of my first how-to writing books I read years ago, said to be a writer, you have to write, but to be an author you have to publish. I always thought it
meant books, not articles and magazine shorts."
Yeah, I read that book, too. The sentence you cite makes the point that there is a difference between anybody writing anything, and writing at a professional level and disseminating one's work out into the world via organized channels. I have no argument with that concept. But there's also a snobbery component, which might be what fuels your insecurity.
When in doubt, consult the dictionary. Mine says: "author: one that originates or creates . . . the writer of a literary work (as a book)."
Whereas "writer: one that writes . . . author."
In the contemporary commercial world, "author" is commonly used to distinguish those people who have gotten their works into print and (usually) received a paycheck for it. You rarely hear of a magazine article author or a newspaper article author or a film-script author. These branches of the writing industry have their own jargon: copywriter, journalist, playwright, screenwriter, etc. They are, nonetheless, authors of such works.
As well, consistent with the fact that one's work is immediately copyrighted from the moment of its creation, I consider somebody an author if they've gone all the way through the process and created a finished work. They are an author while they are going through the process of getting published; they are still an author if nobody wants to publish their work. Just as they're an author if they self-publish or vanity-publish their work.
Other people disagree with this broad definition, but I think it's important to consider when you're structuring your self-image and fueling your confidence.
Responses and advice such as you've provided is one of the reasons this community is such a huge success, Carolyn. Thank you for your knowledge and experience!
Just wanted to tell you I've had a blast this morning reading through your blog! You have a wealth of information there. I intend to follow your blog and experiences. I love the posts about Outskirt(s?) Press, hilarious. Thanks for sharing with us!
Thanks so much. I'm glad you got blasted.
Since writing/publishing is a part-time gig, I do it to elicit smiles. The money is an added benefit.
HOWEVER -- I'm a first-year baby-boomer (born in 1946) like Billy Clinton, Donny Trump, Georgie Bush, Candy Bergen, Dolly Parton and Cher. Under the new system, we're middle-aged until the dirt is shoveled on top of us, and I'm still not ready to be "Mr. Marcus."
"Michael" is just fine.
Michael N. Marcus
-- Create Better Books, with the Silver Sands Publishing Series: http://www.silversandsbooks.com/booksaboutpublishing.html
-- "Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults)," http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661750
Okay, Michael it is! Btw, I've been told I'm named after Candy Bergen (it's Candy, not Cindy...lol!) I'm used to my name being confused with Cindy.
My husband's grandmother (may she r.i.p.) would utter, "Cindy...I mean Sandy, Mandy, Dognappit, I mean, Candy! Come over here and give me some sugar!"
(My parents turn 60 this year, which makes them baby-boomers, although I don't think that makes them first-years? I'm clueless about that part.)
Anyways, thanks for the laughs and I look forward to following your blog!
>>(My parents turn 60 this year, which makes them baby-boomers, although I don't think that makes them first-years? I'm clueless about that part.)
The famous/infamous "Post-World War II Baby Boom" includes babies born in the years 1946 through 1964.
The first cohort of the boom, of which Candy and I are part) are scheduled to become 65 in 2011. I read that 10,000 will hit 65 tomorrow.
When you're 16, the prospect of being 65 is depressing. Now I'm looking forward to Medicare in 2011 and Social Security in 2012.
I don't know if you are still looking for opinions on this, but I shall venture mine for the sake of downloading it from from my brain.
I think it has to do with what you hope to accomplish with your book and your career. For example, it is my ultimate goal to support myself and my family with my fiction writing. I would like to have the choice to step away from my tech writing career at NASA (which I like very much) to do something which I LOVE with all of my heart. In order to do that, I need all of the things a major publisher and an experienced agent and publicist have to offer. In addition, being the sole income earner in my household transitioning from a full-time job to a full-time writing career, I need the income. My dream must go this way or no way...at least at this time. Not to mention that I also do not have time to work, raise a family AND sufficiently market my book.
I don't mean to step on your dream, but . . . the vast majority of authors represented by agents and published by major houses still have to participate in the marketing of their books.
Don't quit your day job until you have a contract with an advance big enough to support you for a while, especially if you're the sole income earner of the household.
You'll need either a blockbuster that's picked up for film, or the ability to write one or more books per year to an avid niche audience in order to make a five- or six-figure income from fiction.
I would agree with this. Although I was published by St Martin's Press, which opened "doors" in the way of radio and TV, that I wouldn't have been able to do by myself, I was still quite shocked at how much of my own PR and marketing I did. I would say I worked harder after finishing the book.
And with publishers and agents, they all take a cut. Many people go the self-publish route because they actually stand a chance of making more money for themselves.