A great many years ago I was a Cub Scout. The lowest rank in Cub Scouting was 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 to cross the street.
To be a Bobcat a kid has to:
- Learn and say the Cub Scout motto, promise and the Law of the Pack—and tell what they mean
- Show the Cub Scout sign, salute and 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!"
- 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.
- If you can click a keyboard and move a mouse, you can be a published author.
- The cost can be ZERO.
- You don't have to impress anyone.
- You can be a terrible writer and still be a published author.
- You can ignore the traditions and rules of the book business.
- You can shun editors and designers.
- You can offend potential readers and reviewers and booksellers.
- 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.
(By the way, it means almost nothing to say you're a bestselling author, but I'm one.)