Have you ever met one of those exhausting people who want to label everything? Who won’t let go unless they can pin someone or something down to a name, definition or explanation? If you’re an academic, of course you’ll do that. Same if you work in healthcare, pure / applied sciences, social sciences, etc. You get my drift. Tradespeople also need to be able to call a spade a spade. But what happens in these cases is that there’s a consensus among those in each and every field of inquiry on how they’re going to refer to the objects or techniques of their study. As much as we may hate their ‘jargon’, for those in these fields, it’s a necessity.
However, when it comes to the fluid field of self-publishing, I can’t understand why some would bother about what we indiefolk decide to call ourselves. I happened to be doing an Internet search one day when I stumbled upon this article: Self-Publishers Should Not Be Called Authors. Michael Kozlowski, the ‘author’ of such a gem, seems to take exception to the use of the word author when talking about us indiefolk. Such self-appointed oracle of right and wrong carries on and on about the topic and has even posted a rather uninteresting video that doesn’t make him a broadcaster, by the way.
Mr Kozlowski almost has a point when he talks about authors as being those who make a living by selling what they write. In any case, so many writers of the past couldn’t make ends meet on their writing in spite of having produced masterpieces. A few days ago, Mary Shelley popped up in a conversation with friends—she of Frankenstein fame, remember? I wonder if Mr Kozlowski would dare say that she wasn’t an author, even though she could barely make ends meet on her magnificent literary work. It would be pointless to start listing the names (and circumstances) in which many of the great authors of the past did not meet the ridiculous criteria that is discussed in Michael Kozlowski’s blog post. I’ll only add that the comments he got clobbered his blog post, and rightly so.
Nothing and nobody can take away the joy of seeing one’s work published, and these days the only opportunity afforded to most aspiring authors is self-publishing.
Are we authors? Are we writers? Are we (fill in the blank with whatever you will) … ? Who knows, and what’s more who cares? The good ones will stay and (probably) make a living doing what they like best—writing. There’s a demanding public out there. They are the ones who decide.
It’s dinner time now. Catcha later, FFJ