Saturday, 26 September 2009

For Unpublished Writers Everywhere

I can understand your frustrations. I can understand your longings to be published. I can even understand you considering calling yourself "prepublished" in an ironic, post-modernist way.

But what ever you do, please don't actually do it. It's embarrassing, and will draw the attention of the Point And Laugh Brigade.

My thanks to Editorial Anonymous for making this clear.

43 comments:

Dan Holloway said...

Oh thank goodness, Jane. How wonderful to find someone not jumoing instantly on the hug a Nathan today bandwagon. I haven't clicked the link but I'm guessing it's a response to Nathan's appalling, "precious moments-esque" piece of bad taste when, during author appreciation week, he invited all those not yet published - all those "prepublished" - to clap themselvs on the back and say well done, you'll get there.

It's one of the few times a blog (and not so much the blog as the sickening "I'm Spartacus"y set of "yeah, I'll get there", "I'm prepublished" responses) actually made me feel ill.

You're NOT prepublished. I'M not prepublished. Because we read these blogs we stand a better chance than most, so by my reckoning that means about 98% rather than 99 will NEVER BE published.

Having a hug and a pat is nice - but yes, it's more likely to bring the attention of point and laughers than publishers.

You know what was even more worrying - when I tried to inject a little realism (very politely I seem to remember), there was a sense of being rounded upon. It was like not being part of the choir in Lord of the Flies.

There, that was quite feisty for me. But it needed saying

DOT said...

I like to refer to myself as 'in advance of an advance' when questioned as to my writing status.

No one understands my reference but it leaves me feeling optimistic.

Tam said...

I did like the pre-dead reference in that blog post.

I was always way too worried about coming across as presumptuous (no pun intended) to title myself pre-published. I am, however, pre-celebrity ahead of appearing on Britain's Got Talent some time before I die.

Tam said...

Actually, that last comment makes it sound like I thought about calling myself pre-published.

I didn't, honest.

Lydia Sharp said...

You either ARE published or you ARE NOT published. Period.

A big thanks to EA from me, too. That pre-my-foot-up-your-a$$ comment is quote-worthy.

DanielB said...

Never heard this term. I like your destruction of it!

I am Sarah Harding's pre-boyfriend, obviously...

--Deb said...

Heaven knows you don't want the attention of the point and laugh brigade!

I'll admit that this is not a term I've heard before. Coming from a writer with no possible publication in the near future, it seems ludicrous. You could probably argue a point for a writer under contract who's simply waiting for the publication date of a book that's in the production stream ... not quite published yet, but almost there.

Marion Gropen said...

That's truly funny.

I'll tell you that use of some term like that is going to make most acquiring editors I know think a second time before signing you!

Let's face it, you all know that there are "problem authors" in the world. You know, the authors that have good books, but make their editors and publicists want to shoot themselves before ever taking on another one of their books?

(NB: no one here ever sounds like one of them! You are all interested in being professional, kind, and following the unwritten rules of the game. But not everyone is like you folks. Trust me on this!)

Well, every acquiring editor tries hard to avoid bringing any more of them in-house. Unless, of course, the AE thinks that the ms will make up for the pain -- and that's going to be a very high hurdle to jump.

A self-description like that? Oh, yes, that level of cluelessness and/or need for self-aggrandizement sounds like trouble.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I would have thought "pre-published" meant someone who had a publishing deal, but their book wasn't released yet. And I can't imagine someone without a deal calling themselves that.

Leslie said...

"Pre-published" sounds like the kind of phrase that could get co-opted by people who sell self-publishing packages; like "indie publishing" as a euphemism for self- or vanity-publishing.

Nicola Slade said...

Aaaarghh, that's even worse than 'pre-owned' books - came across that in The Cat Who... books by Lilian Jackson Braun. My house is full of pre-owned things, including a pre-owned cat. Mind you, when people would ask sympathetically if I 'had writer's block' I did occasionally claim to have 'publisher's block'. But pre-published is on a par with saying Mortician instead of Undertaker. Or rooster instead of cockerel.

catdownunder said...

I am purrplexed....

Anonymous said...

I'm pre-posterous.

Donna Hosie said...

LOL @ these comments. I'm afraid DanielB got there before me as I was about to say screw pre-published; I would settle for pre-married to Paul Bettany.

And I am also pre-one hundred and twenty pounds.

Anonymous said...

There is, however, a hopefulness embedded in the word 'prepublished' that is not there in 'unpublished', and an ambition - that you will ultimately be published... I think I like that.

Let's not take all this too seriously.

D

emma darwin said...

What's wrong with "as yet unpublished"?

Jen Campbell said...

Oh Jane, now you've ruined my fun. Here was me thinking that I was part of this elite 'pre-published' crowd, and I've been sitting around the house waiting for Penguin etc to call me, fighting to offer me a book deal as soon as they heard of my new status. What am I supposed to do now? Do all the work myself and risk failure? This simply won't do....

Anonymous said...

Yes, I like 'as yet unpublished' too...

Both this and prepublished suggest that it will happen. And we unpublished writers have to think positively.

But the 'point and laugh' brigade? I cannot condone such cruelty. The idea that one group of people have the 'right' way and think every other way wrong and club together to mock those not in the club... sorry but something too far.

Preteens are children who are not yet teenagers but who are moving towards that status. Why can't prepublished be something the same?

Anonymous said...

But the very phrase 'preteen' is rather silly; before becoming a teenager you're a child. And there's no comparison with prepublished. A child has no option but to become a teenager. A 'pre-published' writer has no such guarantee, especially one who uses such a pretentious term.

"The idea that one group of people have the 'right' way and think every other way wrong and club together to mock those not in the club... " That's a wilful misreading of the post - you're either published or you're not, nothing to do with a 'right' way except that those who are published have a combination of talent and luck.

And why not point and laugh? It's a natural reaction to such a ridiculous label - if worn in all seriousness.

James Talloires

Anonymous said...

I believe the term 'teenager' also suffered some resistance when it first came into currency. There was adult and there was child. Why the need to differentiate further?

But there was a need, and perhaps with children now there is a need to differentiate even further. The term pre-teen is, I think, a marketing tool, but it also does the job of separating those children who are at the start of primary school and in the middle, from those at the upper end and so closer to being of teenage years. That hardly seems to me to be silly.

I understand that there are no guarantees in this life (that a child will grow up to be a teenager or that an unpublished writer will one day be published) but that is no reason not to prefer the optimism enshrined in a term like pre-published. It certainly is not reason enough to get all superior and public-mockery about it.

I am sorry if I misread the post - but there did seem to me to be a sort of smug laughter aimed at those who had the temerity to refer to themselves as pre-published. 'As yet not published' carries something of the same implication that they will one day be published, and yet we do not laugh at that. Thou shalt only use the terms agreed upon by the group with pointy fingers and big laughs! I don't think so.

And if it is a natural reaction to point at people with disfigurement or differences in skin colour do we not discourage our children from doing so because such pointing is itself wrong out of deference to the sensibilities of the individual being pointed at?

Enough with the pointing and the laughing. Be of more generous spirit, James.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I assumed the original post was meant to be a joke, equally the 'point and laugh' comment. And don't be silly, Anon, it's nothing to do with racism or any other form of discrimination.
James

Jane Smith said...

Of course it was a joke, James, don't worry. And I think Anon must be missing the point, over-reacting, or making fun of us.

Frankly, if a "pre-published" writer can't take a joke like this then they're going to shrivel up and die if their books ever end up getting a hostile review.

On a more serious note, as writers we should celebrate and perpetuate the beauty of language by using it creatively and with care. "Pre-published" does none of that, and is inelegant enough to qualify as plain ugly. We can do better. And we can be more honest, and not rely on foolish euphemisms such as this to bolster our own self-esteems.

Dave Bartlett said...

I have to agree that 'anon' must have misunderstood the post entirely, or is having his/her own little private joke.
If not, can I point out that he/she proclaiming that 'pre-published' emphasizes hopefulness and ambition is not the case, not just because 'the group with pointy fingers' says so, but because everyone from the public to the pubisher will see more arrogance and over-confidence in using a term such as 'pre-published'.
You are either published or unpublished. There is nothing in between, and whether or not you'll be published one day is somebody else's decision, not yours, so 'pre-published' is just an arrogant assumption.
(But then I think that was the point of the post in the first place.)
Dave Bartlett (pre-knighthood, pre-Nobel-peace-prize, pre-discoverer-of-cure-for-all-mankinds-ills)

Anonymous said...

Any more arrogant than sending an agent or publisher an unsolicited manuscript and saying read me?

I'd see in it not a confidence so much as a conviction and a commitment.

But we are playing with semantics here... pre-published is only marginally more arrogant than 'as yet not published'.

But it was the 'point and laugh' reference I did not like. If that was a joke, then I humbly submit an apology for having my small joke in posting my response. The thing about humour in words is that it does not always translate, can sometimes be seen as more serious than it is. (someone said that the use of 'prepublished actually made him feel ill!!)

I did not mean to suggest that this instance of pointing and laughing was on a par with racism... but I think on principle we should be wary of all levels of pointing and labeling and laughing.

We stand a better chance of being published if we have the drive and commitment that is suggested in 'pre-published'. The self-effacing 'as yet not published' does not say the same thing. I simply prefer the former to the latter.

Sorry if that's just silly.

:-)

Dave Bartlett said...

This is where you're confusing ambition with arrogance, anon.

Submitting a manuscript is ambition, in that you're offering your work for assessment and judgement.

Calling yourself 'pre-published' or indeed, 'as-yet-unpublished' is making the assumption that you will be published one day, BEFORE subjecting yourself to that assessment and judgement and is therefore arrogant.

I'm sure that the reference to 'pointing and laughing' was to do with pointing and laughing at the arrogant attitude, not at the people themselves.

Your earlier references DID come across as accusations of prejudice and racism and were totally uncalled for, since though I'm sure we all agree that people should not be singled out for looking or being different or for anything outside of their control, singling them out for their attitudes is quite acceptable.

If someone displays an excess of arrogance, then that is a good reason to single them out. I would never be at all racist, ageist, sexist or show any other kind of prejudice, but I'll certainly be ready to point out the shortcomings of someone who displays arrogance, because that isn't irrational prejudice, it's valid personal criticism.

As I said: there is 'published' and there is 'unpublished'. There is nothing in between.
If you have so little confidence in your own work that you have to bolster your self-esteem by labelling yourself, then maybe you're in the wrong business. And if you feel the need to describe yourself to others with these labels, which are supposedly to encourage SELF-esteem then that can only be described as arrogance.

On a further note. You seem to be the only person who hasn't seen fit to include a name. Not that I don't respect your need or desire to remain anonymous, (after all Jane allows anonymous comments on her blog,) but when one enters into what become drawn out dialogues, it's nice to know which 'anon' one's conversing with.

Anonymous said...

If you do not believe you will one day be published then what is the point of submitting the work to be read by an agent or publisher? Therefore the act of submitting comes out of the belief that you should be published, that you are good enough. It is that belief that makes you submit the work to another agent when the first has rejected it, and then another and another. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities. That is not, I think, arrogance.

Ambition is wanting to be published. Ambition on its own is not enough. It needs action and belief. Belief that you will be published. That is not arrogance.

Pre-published is merely an expression of that belief. It alone won't get you into print. It has, like ambition, to be paired with action - the act of submitting the work. Ambition has more to do with how high you aim in seeking publication... the big names like penguin or the smaller names of the independent publishers. Belief is to do with a faith in what you have written and a faith that it is worth being read.

Pointing and laughing at someone because of their belief in themselves is, in my book, not acceptable. I think we are all capable of achieving at the highest level if we are motivated so to do... and being published is not of itself the highest level! I think we should all live by that creed and have both ambition and belief. Ambition without belief seems an empty vessel to me.

'Unpublished' carries no ambition or belief. 'Pre-published' or 'as yet not published' carries both. In the end they are just labels and not really that offensive when you think about it.

As to who you are debating with I am sometimes called Dangermouse... more mouse than danger, I can assure you.

:-)

emma darwin said...

There is a difference between 'pre-published' and 'as-yet-unpublished': as yet you haven't had measles, say - no saying if you will ever get them, or not. As yet I haven't won the Booker, after all. I'd never call myself a pre-Booker author...

Whereas, as everyone's pointed out (with finger or otherwise) 'pre-published' implied a certainty that it WILL happen: pre-delivery inspection, pre-school playgroup, pre-teen clothes.

The best term I've come up with for the serious but not yet published, and it's not very pretty either, is 'aspiring writer'. As opposed to 'beginner writer' and 'Sunday writer' (by analogy with Sunday painter).

Oh, and 'wannabe writer', for the ones who want to sell like Dan Brown and be An Author, without being willing to put in the hard work it takes to get there...

Nicola Morgan said...

I have also laughed at the use of the word pre-published. (Would not have pointed because a) pointing is rude and b) pointing at words is a bit pointless). But I'm not laughing at writers who haven't (yet or whatever) been published - I'm laughing at the peculiar and unwarranted need of some of them to set themselves apart from other writers who haven't (yet or whatever) become published.

Only time will tell which ones will get published. Meanwhile, they should focus on the writing, as we all should, rather than what minuscule or non-existent distinction there might be between two words to describe their state of unpublishedness, the truth of which can only be told in the future.

Don't be defensive, be good. Same applies to the published.
Me, I'm pre-slim. I'm also post-slim.

Anonymous said...

There we do differ a little, Emma, because I believe that being published is something we can all get... in some form at least.

Indeed, being on this blog is publication of some sort. But I do not think that being print-published is so out of reach of anyone who wants it enough... so, infact, very like measles... we can all get it if we live long enough.

And you are right Nicola Morgan... we should just get back to the writing... but was at a loose end this weekend and not a little bored so thought I'd join in the debate for once.

I'm pre-tending, BTW... and pre-varicating...

Anonymous said...

There we do differ a little, Emma, because I believe that being published is something we can all get... in some form at least.

Indeed, being on this blog is publication of some sort. But I do not think that being print-published is so out of reach of anyone who wants it enough... so, infact, very like measles... we can all get it if we live long enough.

And you are right Nicola Morgan... we should just get back to the writing... but was at a loose end this weekend and not a little bored so thought I'd join in the debate for once.

I'm pre-tending, BTW... and pre-varicating...

Dan Holloway said...

This post was clearly light-humoured but has turned into something more. And it's an important issue. Very important.

Those of you who know my blog will know that I consider positive thinkers several steps down the evolutionary tree from lawyers and bankers. I'd like to give a personal comment with one very important reason why.

I hope, anonymous (who takes issue with Jane) it will help you to see why it's not just wrong to talk of people being pre-published but dangerous, and that the whole "of course you'll do it!" mentality helps no one, especially the person being "enouraged".

I will say up front I am an unpublished writer (or rather self-published, which is probably worse still). OK, I have some newspaper and magazine credits but as a novelist, I am unpublished. And, even if I gave up my self-publishing credentials, the chances are I will remain forever unpublished.

My wife and I fall into that growing list of people unable to have children, but without any discernable medical cause (which, believe me, is every bit as bad as KNOWING why). The first few years of trying were extremely traumatic, and there were many tears shed all round, many sessions with the counsellor. It still hurts like hell when someone we know says they're pregnant, and it's still painful as buggery to read people's proud tweets and blogs about their kids (and yes, I know that's my problem not theirs). And environmentalists who want us to save the planet for THEIR kids are less than a whisker from being punched right on the kisser. BUT, having planned things out to the extent we knew which kids we wanted to put in which bedroom in our dream house and so on, and had our dreams turned upside down, we began to discover things we could do with our lives given children weren't part of them. We traveled. Lots (until security procedures made it a living hell). We go to music gigs, we do al sorts of things to build our lives and new dreams.

But when you tell people, the one thing they'll all tell you is "it might happen", or "we knew someone and they waited 8 years". Well yes, it might, and I'm sure you did, and I KNOW it's said from the best of motives (which ISN'T an excuse for insensitivity, I'm afraid). But do these people not realise how cruel what they're saying is? As long as the thing at the front - or even the back - of our minds is hope, then how can we ever move on? We just live a life of disappointed limbo.

And it's the same with publishing. Tellig someone "I'm sure you'll make it" is just cruel. How are you sure? Why should they be different? Yes, there are people who do succeed after hundreds of rejections. But these aren't role models. They're one offs (black swans in parlance du jour) They're not what you neeed to aspire to. And the longer you do hold onto the vision of them when evidence points to the contrary, the longer you'll live in disappointed limbo when you could be getting on with the business of living.

Nicola Morgan said...

Dan, you expressed that incredibly powerfully. A lot of people should read that. Huge respect. I don't know if I can say "sympathy", as that would be patronising from someone who can't know how you feel - but your way of expressing it has probably improved my understanding. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

DAN, that sounds like a reason for giving up on anything that isn't easy.

I am sorry that in your personal life the road is not smooth, not as smooth as it is for others. That must indeed be hard. I know people in the same boat and I know how desperately all consuming it can be and how fragile it can leave those people. I have cried with those people. But to use that personal unhappiness as an excuse for accepting falling short of all your goals seems a bit extreme.

I am not saying that we can all be the next Dan Brown or JK and be rolling in the money and have fame and a shelf load of books with our names on the jackets. But I do firmly believe that if we want to be published we can be... if we apply ourselves seriously to the task, if we are prepared to learn and to work at it, if we make it our over-riding preoccupation, if we don't give up and if we give the task vast amounts of our time. This is not some airy fairy positive thinking palliative for those who haven't made it yet. In the world we live in where opportunities are many, it is just logical sense... there is room for us all to be published... in the broadest definition of that word published.

I am not saying we can all achieve impossible things. I will never be thought tall or beautiful. I will never make a name for myself in the field of mathematics or win the nobel prize for anything. But as i said before, publishing is not something that is so out of reach, not in today's world.

emma darwin said...

Dan, like Nicola, I can't find a way to express my respect for your post in a way that doesn't sound patronising... But I do respect it hugely.

And yes, you've nailed it: positive thinking is not enough.

Most people who don't get published don't because their work isn't good enough (yet?) in book trade terms. If, long-term, they don't get published, then it's because either they can't make their work good enough in those terms (because all of us, ultimately, are limited by the limits of our talent). or they choose not to put in the work to make it good enough; maybe they decide they have a life to lead.

But which of a set of books, of a similar standard, does get published is also a lot to do with other stuff - the market, which agents sees it, whether they're good at selling it to the right editors, whether the editors can sell it to the rest of the publishing house, etc. etc. etc. The more un-pigeonhole-able your work, it seems to me, the better it needs to be in absolute terms before the book trade will buy into it.

In other words, whether or not you get published is partly in your own control - work hard enough, persevere long enough - and partly not. If your talent is really limited then no amount of work and study can produce something publishable, and if what you write, however good in itself, is just not something the book trade wants, then it won't publish it. Positive thinking can keep you working hard and persevering, but it can't totally transcend the limitations of your talent, and it can't persuade the booktrade to want something it doesn't.

Dan Holloway said...

@Nicola :-)

@anonymous - I think we got our wires crossed. When, at the end, you say published "in the broadest sense", of course that's true (well, sort of - it's true for people lucky enough to have time and space to get to the web and not spend their waking hours fetching clean water). The problem is at the beginning, you talk about people's goals, and I'm afraid that in that sense, what you say isn't true. Most people when they say they want to be published mean "published by a mainstream publishing house".

And in that sense, it will always be the case that 99% of those people will "fail" - and that many of those would actually "succeed" at something else.

JANE - can you dig out and linky-uppy a reference to teh post I did for you on backwards logic, because I think it applies here (thanks n hugs) - the point is THOSE WHO SUCCEED WILL AHVE WORKED THEIR BUTTS OFF but this just doesn't mean THOSE WHO WORK THEIR BUTTS OFF WILL SUCCEDD.

And anon, thank you for taking my post in the spirit it was intended and calling me out when you thought I was wrong. I used the example form my life because actually I think it's a pretty exact parallel. Having taught phiosophy I know how easy it is for people to use an "emotional argument-stopper" (happens all the time in animal rights: one person's son dies of cancer, another person shows a picture of a dissected beagle. They're trying to stop the argument in its tracks - Jane, I feel another #Badscience post coming) and that wasn't my intention. I think you're wrong, but not because I'm emotionally screwed-up (although I DO think your position can screw people's lives up); rather, because the logic's faulty.

@ Emma :-) and that's a very succinct (my weak point) way of putting it: many factors in your control; many others not. In the current climate, people who want to be published would do particularly well to note your point about being unpigeonholeable. Doesn't mean the publishers have it right, but that's the way it IS for now.

catdownunder said...

I am still purrplexed. Dan, Nicola and Emma, thankyou. It all makes sense.
I am an ancient cat. I may never get anything substantial published. I have only one life left in which to do all I want to try and do. A 70-80 hour working week has not left much time for writing but, believe me, I still write. (I just ditched 147 notebooks of illegible paw prints.) I am not pre-published, about-to-be published or anything else 'published'. I will not be any of those things at all if I do not put my paws on the keyboard and - write! What I need is the courage to put some of my paw prints together in a legible form, find someone willing to read it, see whether they purr or growl or do not react at all - and learn from that. That's the hard part.

Terresa said...

Thanks for the heads up. I just call myself a "writer." Plain and simple. (I leave off the "unpublished" or "prepublished" part, too.)

Anonymous said...

Dan - as a philosopher you should know the dangers of extrapolating from one example to another completely unrelated example.

So, when the emotional argument stopper doesn't work you pull rank with your philosophy credentials. Neat :-)

As for faulty logic... i am a determinist by belief but I do not live my life by that philosophy eschewing praise and blame for my actions. There is faulty logic in many things! But here I stand my ground. I am not a believer in glass ceilings to people's ability. I have frequently seen people exceed the expectations of their peers or teachers. I DO believe that if we make something like being published our goal and if we devote the right amount of time and energy to it we can be print published. I have qualified what it means to be published and qualified what it takes to reach that goal. I see no fault in the logic of that.

If we believe that failure is almost certainly the likely result of our endeavours then so many of us would lay down our pens now. But we don't. And I think that is because we think of ourselves as pre-published. And many here have works in print and not just on the web and we celebrate that as success. I never said we could all or any of us be a dan brown or a jk rowling...

If there is faulty logic in there then let me hang onto it and think of myself and others as on the road to publication - pre-published.

Off to the real job now.

Dangermouse

Sally Zigmond said...

It seems to be a bad habit of mine to stumble across a heated debate once it's well underway.

But here's my take on it.

As an UNPUBLISHED novelist (although I am a published short story writer) I have no problem whatsoever with calling myself 'unpublished' even though I have ambitions.

I have a suspicion that this debate is divided along American versus British lines. 'Pre-published' hails from the United States of America--whereas a suspicion of euphemisms and weasel-words is British. (Even though our media-bless 'em love to follow American trends like sheep.)

'Pre-teen' and 'teenager' are also American coinages. At one time it was Child-Adolescent-Adult.

And whilst it is clearly wrong to condone the singling out of people because of their faith, colour or any physical or mental infirmities, I see it as my right to prick the pomposity of anyone whose writing isn't up to scratch and who calls themselves 'pre-published' WITHOUT any trace of irony or self-deprecation.

And 'the point and laugh brigade; is a humorous British expression not meant to be taken seriously. It means people will always laugh at pomposity and arrogance.

It's like those horrible ads for shampoo and hair dye that chirp so irritatingly 'because you're worth it.' Worth pouring a chemical over my head? Not me. I reckon I'm worth more than that.

Dan Holloway said...

Sally, what a wonderful comment.

There's so much nonsense talked about what we "deserve". In my book (no pun intended). We ALL deserve to be treated with respect, honesty, and integrity; not to be bullied or victimised, and to live in a world free of taunt along lines of religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, or disability.

But to say that one "deserves" to be published is, bluntly, poppycock. For two reasons.

1. To be published is a privilege (both in the sense of being an honur, and in the more rudimentary sense of being something that only arises because we are all here, whatever other problems we have, ridiculously lucky to have been born in a time and a place where we have the time to write, and few enough worries about basic survival that writing can take a jump up the priority pecking order). When we've cracked AIDS and clean drinking water and civil war and famine, I might be a little more sympathetic.

2. It devalues real desert. If we really live in a bubble where we think x, y, or z's getting published because they deserve it, how do we quantify a, b, or c's getting their hand on sterile dressings for the shrapnel damage caused by landmines?

I have a real problem with hyperbole. It's like (yes, an analogy - anon, we'll have to disagree on analogies - I was always led to believe that it was perfectly valid to illustrate the same general principle with different specific instances) the voting on Strictly Come Dancing. If you give someone a 10 in week one because you like what they did, where do you go if someone does something really brilliant.

So, where does my - er, rather hyperbolic :p - reasoning leave the unpublished. Who "deserves" "ought" - or whatever other word you use - to be published? Well, given that it's not a moral right, the answer is pretty simple. Anyone whose writing fits the industry's bill.

writtenwyrdd said...

My comment seems to have disappeared.

I have some short stories published, so I'm not exactly unpublished; but I haven't gotten a novel published.

But I have to say, to ego stroke yourself by calling yourself pre-published is pretty darned pretentious.

Devious Medievalist said...

I have to agree that "pre-published" in the way it's being used sounds absolutely self-absorbed. I'm with Josin on this one. "Pre-published" sounds appropriate for describing someone who will definitely (as in, contracts signed, work waiting to go to press) be published, but the book hasn't hit its official release date. That sounds "pre-published" to me.

Jane Smith said...

Lynn Price of Behler Publications has now blogged about this too--here's a link:

http://behlerblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/say-it-aint-so-prepublished/