OK, what I wanted to say was that one of the most depressing things about self-publishing POD is that a lot of people (who aren't connected to publishing or bookselling) don't know the difference between those books and the books published by Random House. Not too long ago I was at a party and my friend introduced me as a published author. (not Random House, but a mid-sized royalty-paying publisher.) The response was, "Oh, my cousin is saving up so he can be published, too."
That scream of anguish you hear? That's every writer who read that comment.
It reminds me of a story: I was out in the hinterlands at some sort of festive event. I was wearing a VERY expensive, one of a kind top that I was just pleased as punch to have scored in a sample sale for pennies on the dollar (and I still had to swear off gin for a month to foot the bill).
Anyway, there I was seated next to some neighbors of the guest of honor, or childhood friends or something like that. We chatted. The wife said "oh I just love your top". I said "thank you, I'm so excited to have a place to wear it". She said "I have one like that..I got mine at Kmart. Is that where you got yours?".
Well, my face must have reflected what I felt: the desire to show her the receipt and tell her to get her eyes examined, and the need to maintain decorum at this fancy shindig.
Fortunately her husband saw my face and jumped in with "honey, I don't think that's where she got that." and gracefully changed the subject.
I was DEVASTATED.
Only some months later did I realize that she'd said that on purpose to make me feel bad. It was clear I didn't live in where ever we were, and pretty clear I didn't shop for my clothes at Kmart. (I have other things from Kmart so don't go getting all huffy about me being a snob).
So, if someone says "yes my cousin is saving up to be published too" the only answer is "that's just great." cause they're either totally clue free and thus do not intend to hurt your feelings, or mean as a snake in which case graciousness is the best revenge.
I never wore the top again.