Saturday, June 27, 2009

So, what are you?

I'm hearing from query letter writers who describe themselves as "pre-published."
I'm not sure where that term or even that concept came from, but I'm post-annoyed by it.

"Pre-published" is meaningless. Is that like saying you're pre-dead? (thanks Harry Hunsicker for that great phrase). And if you've been published and are now out of print, does that make you post-published? Abandon this thinking post-haste.


Quit dreaming up new and motivational self-help ways of describing yourself, and focus that energy on your work. I know what you are: you're a writer.

31 comments:

Mira said...

Lol. This is funny. Pre-published. And you've seen it from more than one person, so it's spread to the culture? So funny how buzz words do that. Pretty soon, it will be an acronym. 'I'm a PP author.' But I think people are selling themselves short. They should be titling themselves pre-best-selling. Or pre-pulitzer-prized. Why stop with just being published? Thanks for the chuckle, Janet.

jrbald said...

Hey, baby, I'm in pre-love with you. Wanna see my etchings?

Whirlochre said...

Technically, an irritating child is pre-slapped. Maybe this is similar.

Douglas H. said...

What if you've got a short story under contract but it hasn't been published yet?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Pre-published is like being pre-human. You ain't there yet.

Pre-published: v. [archaic] He was pre-published by Aristophanes following the Athens’s earthquake.-Tantania, 1225.

1. receiving many rejections. (used of pouting writers)
2. a manuscript set to hot type, but not ready for press. (1850's, first used by a counterfeiter from Boston, name withheld by request of his family)
3. a phrase specially designed to irritate agents.


The goat says to say "hi", and to tell you that he is tired of being pre-published.

Visit me: http://wardancingpixie.blogspot.com/

Patience-please said...

My book is pre-finished.

I explained to the credit card companies that I am pre-rich-and-famous, resulting in my payments being pre-paid, which sounds like a good thing.

Apparently, it's not.

Dang.

Amethyst Greye Alexander said...

"I know what you are; you're a writer."

I very much like that.

--Amethyst

Blee Bonn said...

I'm a writer. Never heard the term pre-published until your post. Isn't there some sort of saying that says a "blank" is just a "blank" or something like that? I can't remember what that saying is but I know there is one.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Now it's going to drive me crazy until I figure it out.

(This is the first time I ever got to be first on a post - wahoo!)

BB

Peg McGuire said...

I don't even know what "pre-published" means? Will someone enlighten me?

Blee Bonn said...

Ah, nevermind about my "Wahoo!" in my last comment. I might not be the first :(

I forgot the comments need approval...

Katlin said...

It just cracks me up when people try to make themselves sound smart. It usually has the opposite effect. But seriously, what in the world is 'pre-published'?

dylan said...

I'm pre-posterous.

Does that help?

graywave said...

If only 'pre-published' really were like 'pre-dead'. I can absolutely guarantee that one day I'll be dead.

jackholbrook said...

Actually, it's more like 'pre-loved'. It implies you're a bit careworn and battered, with very little hope that love will be there in your future.

~Jamie said...

I actually consider myself pre-NYTimes Best Selling author with at least five books on the list at one time. :)

Skeptic said...

You just made me snort beer out my nose. Ouch. ;)

Steve Stubbs said...

Maybe what they really mean is, they are pre-rejected.

Rebecca Knight said...

Just... wow.

Can you also be pre-rejected? :D

laughingwolf said...

i'm rapidly approaching pre-senility!

Liana Brooks said...

Wait... if you have something out are you just Published or are you Post-Published?

I'm confused!

Let's stick with an awesome query and ignore the fine details I lack, like three rows of novels on the B&N shelf.

MissyM said...

It's an RWA term. Annoyed me for years.

Loretta Ross said...

Blee Bonn are you thinking, "a rose is a rose is a rose"?

Since my cats will be climbing on me later, I suppose I'm pre-furred?

Candy said...

Pre-Pubbed comes from RWA terminology.

You're either published or not. Interesting to know that it's making its way out into the book world. And not in a good way. I would never have dared to use the term pre-pubbed. Personally, it sounds presumptuous to me.

BJ said...

Blee Bonn - Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar? Attributed to Freud.

Hmm. If I say I'm pre-thin, does that guarantee that will happen, too?

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Pre-published sounds optimistic. Pre-owned is just a used car.

BuffySquirrel said...

I've seen "pre-published" around and it always makes me laugh. Maybe I should refer to slush as "pre-bought".

Marjorie said...

LOLing @ pre-published and post-annoyed...

Always open queries wearing a shield of Gardol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpJ6P1kA4z0

Chiron said...

The dictionary must now be expanded to include 'pre-query' as well. Agent Jessica Faust explains: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/06/definition-of-query.html

Assignment:
Use the words pre-published and pre-query in a sentence.

Thinking a pre-query leads to being pre-published is a precursor to being slapped.

Matt said...

I've been pre-rejected before, but not pre-published. Hmmm.

JS said...

I don't even know what "pre-published" means? Will someone enlighten me?

It generally means "unpublished".

Sometimes it means "with a manuscript currently under consideration at a publisher," but that generally means "not yet rejected," which is the same as "unpublished."

What if you've got a short story under contract but it hasn't been published yet?

If you know the approximate pub date: "One of my short stories will appear in The New Yorker in the fall of 2010."

If you don't know the approximate pub date: "One of my short stories has been accepted by The New Yorker."

Ben said...

Semantics can be a powerful tool. Unfortunately, most people are Tim Taylor from Home Improvement.