Thursday, January 03, 2008

Are You Pre-published or Unpublished?

About a week ago, I joined an online discussion group for mystery writers. So far, I've just been reading the comments and haven't "spoken" up.

The entire week has been taken up with discussion of the term "prepublished." You've probably heard the term; I have. Pre-published (I’ve seen the word hyphenated and not) is basically an euphemism for "unpublished." Writers who use the term aren't pretending to be something other than unpublished, but prepublished has a softer ring to it, a hint of their surety that they'll be published in the future.

Some writers prefer the term. Some writers do not. No one seems to be sure exactly where the term got started. Some said with mystery writers; others thought with romance writers. Most seemed to agree that the term has been in use for at least a decade.

The consensus online is that even if you use it to describe yourself, you should be careful where and around whom you use it. A lot of agents, apparently, hate the term. To them, it screams amateur. It also conflicts with what an agent would view as an author who is prepublished. To them, a prepublished author would be one who has sold their book (they have a contract), but the book is not out in print yet.

When I was Executive Director of the Writers’ League of Texas, I dealt with a lot of agents, either calling and talking to them, inviting them to our annual Agents & Editors Conference, or working with them at the conference. None of them brought up the term prepublished or complained about it to me. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t thinking of it.

This is not to say you don't want to ever use the term, but you might want to be careful around agents.

It is a term that a lot of authors and writers use, though. I did a google search on the phrase "pre-published author." Got back results for 42,300 hits.

If you haven't been published yet, which term do you use: prepublished or unpublished? If you'd like to add to the discussion or give your opinion, post a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...