Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's easier to become a "published author" than a Cub Scout. Let's abolish the meaningless term.



A great many years ago I was a Cub Scout. The lowest rank in Cub Scouting is Bobcat. Every Cub starts as a Bobcat. You can't be a Cub Scout and not be at least a Bobcat. A Bobcat is lower than a Wolf or a Bear. A Bobcat doesn't have to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, build a crystal radio, bandage a wound, walk on snowshoes or help an old lady cross the street.

To be a Bobcat a kid has to:
  • learn and say the Cub Scout motto, the promise and the Law of the Pack -- and tell what they mean
  • Show the Cub Scout sign, the salute and the handshake -- and tell what they mean
  • Show that he understands and believes that it is important to be honest and trustworthy
Since those requirements were so basic, (if I remember correctly) we were not allowed to wear our Bobcat pins on our spiffy new uniforms.

I thought of that recently when I was reading an introduction from a new member of an online group for authors.

The newbie said, "I am a published author."

I wanted to say, "BIG FUCKING DEAL!"


At one time being a published author implied that either:
  • A person wrote something so important or wonderful that a publisher paid to publish the book.
  • A person is so famous (like Levi Johnston, the almost-son-in-law of Sarah Palin) that a publisher paid to publish the book.
  • A person is egotistical and wealthy enough to pay thousands of dollars to a vanity press to publish the book.
Today, it takes almost no skill, time or money to become a published author.
  • If you can click a keyboard and move a mouse, you can be a published author. 
  • If you can't operate a PC, someone can do it for you.
  • The cost can be ZERO.
  • You don't have to impress anyone.
  • You can be a terrible writer and still be a published author.
  • It doesn't matter if nobody reads your book.
  • It's easier to become an author than to become a Bobcat.
  • You don't even have to learn to salute or promise to follow Akela.
Since it is so easy to become a published author, it means nothing to say you are one. It is nothing to brag about.



(By the way, it means almost nothing to say you're a bestselling author -- but I'm one.)





2 comments:

  1. I guess there is no need to remain an unpublished author anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To me, an author is published. Before I was a writer, now I'm an author.

    ReplyDelete