Tied book stack

Am I “published” or published?

When I mention that I self-publish my novels, my credibility as a writer in the eyes of others seems to take a hit. At least that’s what it feels like sometimes.

Perhaps I’m projecting my own self-doubt, and interpreting things that aren’t there. But when I hear responses like “Oh, you’re ‘self-published’…” or “he’s a ‘published’ author…”, those little quotes say a lot. The emphasis to me means I’m published, but not really published. Well, I beg to differ.

Being self-published doesn’t diminish the quality I set forth with my stories. I write as cleanly as I can. I loath typos with a passion. My manuscripts are professionally edited and my covers are professionally designed by me (I am a professional graphic designer, too).

And coming from a graphic design, layout and typesetting background, I know what a book should look like and have the knowledge to make it a reality. I have an imprint and produce both paperbacks and ebooks. I have a marketing force behind me (although not as big as a publishing house) and a strong social media presence.

If I was an employee of a book publishing company, the tasks I’d perform would be identical. Yet the perception is different. If my paperbacks were on a bookstore shelf next to books from established publishing companies, my books wouldn’t raise any red flags.

But perception is changing, day by day. The saving grace in all this is the reader doesn’t care. Give them a good story and they’ll be back for more.

Am I “published”? No, I’m published, damn it!

And here’s more proof of self-publishing not getting the respect it deserves.

Since 1992, Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, screenwriter and author.

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