I’m trying to figure out exactly what people mean when they say they are “published.” Is an article published on the web with no pay a valuable clip? What about a newsletter?
When can a beginner writer be considered as being published?
That’s great question! Until the web, being published more or less meant having an article or story printed in a magazine or newspaper. Or getting a book sold to a trade publisher. Getting an article you wrote published in a newsletter counted too.
Enter the world wide web, which among other things, is just another publishing medium. As I’m sure you know, there are tons of websites out there where the writing is just awful. But there are sites, both well-known and not so well known where the writing is excellent.
The reason editors ask for clips or tear sheets, however, hasn’t changed. Before they give you an assignment, even on spec, they want some assurance that you are likely to be able to complete it in a well-written and timely fashion.
On the whole, clips are clips wherever they are, including the web and they count. Sure, if you’ve got something published in Atlantic Monthly or the New York Times you’ll get a bit more attention. But even those pieces published on the web with no pay can demonstrate you are worthy of hire.
That’s also why you should have your own website – there you can put up or link to samples of your writing as well as list your credits, making it easy for an editor to evaluate your work.
In terms of your view of yourself? You get to decide.
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