When Is a Book a Book?

I’ve been seeing some strange things in the worlds of writing and publishing recently. I’ve been seeing more and more people talk about the books they have written — yet many of these people haven’t published a damn thing! Excuse me, but they are aspiring writers and authors, NOT authors!

I have had the good fortune of having had 15 poetry collections published over the years, actually during a 14 year time span. That’s pretty good production. And at least half of these books were solicited by the publishers. But that’s another story. But the way I looked at it — and I guess the way I still look at it — is a book is not a book until it’s been published. A book that someone’s written that has not been published is a manuscript people, not a damn book! Quit trying to take credit when you haven’t done a damn thing. I worked my damn ASS off to get those 15 books published and I really don’t appreciate hearing all of these people out there these days talking about their novel or their book when it’s merely a manuscript, and quite frankly, one that may never be published. Of course, that brings up the notion of self publishing, which has really taken off, but that’s another topic.

Do you folks see my point? Is it fair for those non-published writers to claim to be authors with books when in fact, they do not have books at all — just pieces of paper floating around a desk? I’m starting to get sick and tired of it, and it especially galls me when I see so many of these aspiring, or even failed, writers give writing and publishing advice on their blogs. What the hell is that about? How dare they pass themselves off as experts when they’re anything but experts???

I have taught creative writing classes and I’ve taught classes on how to get published — the right way. I realize things are changing and there are more opportunities for the masses to get their work out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s good work when anyone can publish an e-book and declare themself an author.

Well, I guess I sound old and grouchy. If so, I apologize. I’ve had a long day and face daily aches and pains that I shouldn’t have at this age. So, if anyone reads this blog post, I’d be curious to see what you have to say about this topic. When IS a book a book? When it’s been written, or when it’s been published? I’d really like to know. Thanks.