Last Friday I had lunch with a conference attendee who'd just been told he wasn't a real writer because his "publisher" was one of those book printing mills.
Make no mistake about this: if you have written and finished a novel you ARE a writer.
Don't let anyone, particularly some snotty so-called publishing professional, demean this achievement. You've written a novel = you're a writer.
It doesn't EVER have to be published, and you're still a writer.
You can publish it online, on your website, or with any of those book printing mills, and yes, you are still a writer.
It doesn't have to be any good at all, and you're still a writer.
It can be fanfic, derivative, or a reincarnation of Harry Potter as an android, but if you've written and finished a novel you are a writer.
Do not let anyone tell you any different. If they do, you know exactly how much weight to attach to their opinion: <0
Well said, Janet, and well done you!
Janet is one of the bright spots of the reader/writer/agent/publisher continuum on Twitter. If you're not following her, you should be.