"Are you published?" So marks the dreaded question of any writer who is, in fact, not published but would like to be. Rest assured, if I was published, you would already know. I would have shouted it from the nearest mountain top. I would have hired a biplane to fly a banner over the next baseball game. I would have hounded you to post the book title on your Facebook wall and Twitter all your friends to buy my brilliant tome. Yes, you would have definitely heard by now.
I waited several years before openly admitting that I write mystery novels. A select few were aware of my craft, including a coworker, who prompted me to stop talking about writing fiction and actually start writing it, and my husband, who wanted to know why I was always secretly typing in our home office.
To everyone else, I was merely a technical writer by day and avid TV watcher by night. I didn't keep it a secret out of embarrassment. But once I told people, they wanted to run to the nearest Borders and buy a copy of my book. When I explained that I'm not yet published, they'd offer up a hundred and one possibilities for seeing my name in print and start sending me links to self-publishing companies and articles about publishing. I certainly appreciate their enthusiasm and assistance, but it's not the method I envision.
I prefer the old-fashioned route. Write a book, painstakingly format the first three chapters after consulting fifteen different web pages on the preferred font and margin size, write a killer query letter, rewrite the killer query, then send it all off to the first five agencies listed in Writer's Market. Then receive five rejection letters before the glow of accomplishment has even faded (who knew mail could travel that fast?). And start the process all over again -- Send off five more query letters, which are promptly rejected, take up drinking, burn the manuscript in a spectacular display of self pity, and vow to never write another word because these big-time New York agents wouldn't know a best-seller if it bit them on the butt.
So, please, don't ask me if I'm published. I'll let you know.