I’ve been working on getting caught up on my massive query pile, and in one I read today, I came across the term “pre-published.” Now, this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this particular phrase, but it needled my craw today. For one thing, the querying writer used this to describe themselves, as if the term “aspiring author” or heaven forbid, “unpublished writer” was too negative. As I said on Twitter in polling my fellow agents about this particular phrase, it strikes me as a little too close to every kid on the team getting a trophy just for showing up.
Looks, guys, I get it: you’re certain you’re going to make it big one day. You’re gonna be a star, baby, a STAR! And maybe that’s true.
But calling yourself fancy names as if to hide the fact that you haven’t made it yet just feels disingenuous.
If we must permit the phrase “pre-published” to be used, save it for the author whose debut novel has been acquired, but is yet to be released.
Thoughts? Comments? Counter-arguments?