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Monday, October 10, 2011

Being "Published"

I come from an interesting family where we have great dinner table discussions. Because the dh and I are both published authors and the son who lives here is an aspiring novelist with major talent, we often talk about publishing.

Recently we chatted over pasta and salad about the recent increase in print-on-demand publishing, self-publishing via online sources and other ways of getting "published." The fact that technology has opened these avenues of recognition and distribution means that "published" doesn't carry quite the same meaning it once did.

There are plentiful and excellent examples of people whose books didn't fit a publishing niche and hence, weren't accepted by traditional publishers, so the authors followed non-traditional routes to eventually find great acceptance.

One outstanding example is of author James Redfield who self-published THE CELESTINE PROPHECY in 1993. He sold copies from the trunk of his car, hawked them at flea markets, and gained a following. A traditional publisher saw the potential and picked up his book. By May 2005 he had sold more than 20 million copies world-wide and the book is now a movie.

Unfortunately Redfield is the exception and much of what is now available to the reading public isn't worth the trouble. As my husband mockingly joked, "These days you can write with crayon on butcher paper, hang it in your window for the neighbors to see and call yourself published."

That isn't quite the case, but it describes the current phenomenon well. So why all the flap about being "traditionally" published? Is it really just a way for some people to lord their success over others? Do you have to "know people" to make it in the publishing industry?

Stay tuned. I will share some answers tomorrow.

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