End The Publishing Terminology or Be Damned

This post, from Mick Rooney, originally appeared on his POD, Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing blog on 12/3/09.

I read some wonderful things today. I also read a lot of crap. In my travails of the morning, afternoon and evening, I came across the words of writers I hold and respect dearly. There were also other words written by writers I know less about. I still discovered the occasional gem, and a few real stinkers. I browsed those words and felt various thoughts and feelings of bemusement, frustration, enlightenment, elation and inspiration. For all of us who love reading words – you know the path may yield beauty and charm, as well as its share of cruelty and ugliness.

No. I wasn’t on a carefree day off work sauntering through a bright book emporium with some spare cash thrust into my pocket eagerly before I left the house; hoping all the time, I might stumble upon a few literary gems tucked away on a shelf. I wasn’t inside a bookshop today. Here’s where I was.
 
AbsoluteWrite, here and here.
 
Rachelle Gardner, here and here.
 

I could add another ten, but I think this is enough to be going on with. all of the sites are excellent and highly reputable sources of information on publishing, digitization, author advice and writing in general. What is it that binds all the provided links together?
 
The self-publishing and vanity publishing debate was always there – the impetus to the most recent vociferous debates stem directly from this publishing news story from Thomas Nelson, and another from Harlequin over the past few weeks. The self and vanity publishing definition links are wikipedia’s. I will broadly go with their consensus. My take on it is that self-publishing is a process of book publication where all actions and rights are owned, controlled and directly implemented by the author. Vanity publishing is the process of a third-party company, for a fee, printing and publishing an author’s book often without the controls of professional literary merit and evaluation, editorial direction, structured and effective marketing, sales distribution, and physical store presence – and may also include the author committing to an agreed purchase of book stock.
 
What the hell. Sure you’re all at it now. So let’s throw in another label and definition into the pot. It’s a very simple one. A definition that has been around pretty much since the first printing press was rolled out of the yard.
 
It’s called PUBLISHING.
 
Here’s the definition.
 

Read the rest of the post on Mick Rooney’s POD, Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing blog.

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