Saturday, December 02, 2006

Looks Like We Touched A Sensitive Spot...

In a few posts at Cobwebs Of The Mind - Article Submissions - Worth Your While or A Vast Waste Of Time? and at T3 - Teddy's Techie Tips - "Article Submission As Part Of The Viral Process", I recently discussed article submissions as a process in two different veins. One was the standpoint of being an author and the other from the standpoint of trying to get your name, blog, web-site out into the public eye, e.g. "name recognition".

I was pretty clear about it. To use article submissions as a way to gain more people for your blog and web-site is a great idea. If you think that it will help you with agents, publishers and the normative publishing world - forget it.

Well it seems that over at ezinearticles.com Cobwebs Of The Mind may have just stepped on a few sensitive toes. In a post on the official ezinearticles.com blog entitled: Ted Gross Wonders About Article Submission Validity and quoting my original posts, Chris Knight, owner of ezinearticles.com made it clear that:
"Yeah, that does make Ted’s previous comments more valid in the right context because submitting to EzineArticles or our competitors does not make sense if done for the wrong career reasons. I think the real issue that many have told me that irritates them off about article submission is that you don’t get rich quick. It takes time and effort to build market demand for yourself, no matter who you are.

In closing, the real reason you should submit your quality original articles to EzineArticles.com directly is to generate qualified visitors and traffic back to your website from us directly and if you get a boost from syndication land, call that a bonus.
Mr. Knight made his point clear. Though I tend to doubt that even Mr. Knight would put his job in the same venue as a professional publishing house editor, I can respect the need to present his very popular site as a legitimate outlet to get articles published. And it certainly is a legitimate venue for article publishing on the Internet.

Mr. Knight asks the following:
"Geez, if a person writes an article, if they are not an ‘AUTHOR’, then what exactly are they? :-)?"
They are not authors any more than writing a letter to my parents, or kids or girlfriend makes me an "author". Because it was incredibly clear the context and meaning of authors here in my original piece - Article Submissions - Worth Your While or A Vast Waste Of Time?. It is talking about the "normative" publishing process, and those people who are using the normative agent-editor-publishing route to get their written works into print. Article submission does not make one an author. It may point to a desire to be an author or a writer. And the producers of articles are technically the "authors" of the articles they have written. But anyone reading my original piece understood exactly what was meant by "author".

But obviously there are the article writers themselves. When I discovered the Posts above had been made the subject of a post on Ezinearticles blog, I made a comment on that blog, explaining again exactly what my POV was. This did not seem to sit well with some article authors who have produced a great many articles for article submission sites. And it seems that some people even in the world of publishing as it stands today, still think that writing, editing and publishing their own material, in ebook self-publishing ventures, makes them "legitimate" voices and authors in the world of normative publishing.

For the record I am going to say this again. Self-publishing is just not going to earn anyone credits with an agent or publisher. This is NOT my rule. This is publishing. Call publishing outdated, a dinosaur, or just plain stupid. Call it whatever you want. But that is the way it works.

And thank goodness it does work like this. Imagine if we had to wade through hundreds of thousands of ebooks, all self published, all not edited, all filled with the musings of the "author", without the benefit of professional editors. Imagine if just being able to produce a few thousand words a day made you into an author for the New York Times bestseller lists.

There are few legitimate sites that cater to self-publishing. Lulu.com is one of them. They do not scam. They do not sell dreams. They tell the author of the self published book exactly what the story is. And so does ezinearticles.com. They do not scam. They do not promise dreams. For pete sake just read the quote at the beginning of this post from Chris Knight, the owner of the ezinearticles.com web site.

I am incredibly sorry. But no matter how publishing goes, whether electronic or paper, the fact remains that you do not become an author simply because you were able to put together your very own ebook or series of articles. You do not make it as a bona-fide "author" because you list 1000 ebooks in your CV. You are not literary and you do not become a respected poet simply because you wrote 40 poems and created the "Great Poetry Ebook" or put them in, may the Lord help us, up in poetry.com. Just is not going to happen. And for a damn good reason to boot.

Article submission is great for its original purpose. But no matter how great and successful article submission is - it is not Random House or Doubleday. It does not get listed in Amazon.com. As an article author, you do not automatically get an agent and a book contract - or advances or royalties. Don't turn article submission into what it is not. Because no matter how hard you try, it simply is not, will not, and should not be - ever recognized as real publishing.

Unfair? You bet it is. Thank goodness it is unfair. Thank goodness somewhere along the line there is still some type of straining and weeding process going on, getting rid of the chafe.

I am sorry to all the article submission authors who think of themselves as true, bona-fide writers. I truly am. You could be the next O'Henry for all I know. But until you go through the normative process and work with the professionals, no matter how outdated you think the system is, your masterpiece is going to be just another self published ebook. Which in the literary world means nothing and will only collect negative points for you in the long run.

Peruse agent blogs. Take a look at Miss Snark. Read the people who are in the industry if you do not believe me. I also strongly urge you to read the Post A.C. Crispin - 40 - Giving Your Work Away? - up at the well-respected blog of Crispin & Strauss - Writer Beware Blogs!. Now NO ONE is in any way implying that article submissions are a scam. Indeed I have written that they are a great, legitimate way to go for web-site "name recognition". They are simply not, no matter how much you think it deserves it, considered publication credits for your list to agents or in a query to write an article for the Atlantic Monthly or Cosmopolitan.

Honestly, I never expected someone who writes an article, puts it in a site to be published, never goes through a real editing process, and sees that article appear on the Internet - I truly never expected anyone to really think of themselves as an author on the par with published authors in The New Yorker, for example.

It is frustrating. It is hard. It may be unfair in your eyes. You write and write and still are not listed in Amazon or at B&N. Yep, that is the reality. That is how it shakes down. You think you should be recognized for your 1000 articles? Maybe you are right. Prove it. Get an agent to look at you. Get the publisher to publish you. Don't rant and rave because your articles are all over the net and you still don't have one contract and no one in the literary world will take you seriously or refer to you as an "author".

And for pete sake, don't get upset when no one asks for your autograph!

Posted On: Cobwebs Of The Mind

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4 comments:

Kristen King said...

So would it be possible for me to agree with you more? We're like brain twins separated at birth.

Kristen

Kristen King said...

Uh, btw, good LORD--what did you DO to that Lance guy? Did you strangle his puppy or something? Run over his kitten? Serve his pet turkey for Thanksgiving dinner? My goodness. I'm kind of bummed that the comment thread was closed. I was rather enjoying the entertainment factor over there. Perhaps he'll make his way to you? One can only hope. ;]

kk

Ted W. Gross said...

Hey..one can only hope!

I think, Mr. Lance just felt a bit frustrated cause no one asked his for an autograph.

Seriously, he does have the right to his opinion, but since I have my "New York Nose" in the air and live in 2001, what can one do?

(Hey that is better than hearing one of my kids say "Man, you live in the 1920's!)

I was thinking though. Do you think we could get Lance to query Miss Snark? That should be fun to watch!

MaryJaene said...

I use reprint articles for my blog though not from Ezinearticles. I've never thought about submitting any, however, to these sites and I'm still trying to decide if it would be worth my time. It doesn't look like you can specify how and where your work can be used. It just seems like it would be too easy for your work to end up on a spam blog or a site that was not appropriate like an adult site.

Thanks for the read. I really appreciate the perspective.