When I first read about self-publishing, I certainly didn’t think it was for me. I was busy trying to break into the market, working on my skills, celebrating a few acceptances here and there, and collecting a ton of rejections. It was what I had been told to expect, so everything seemed to be moving along just fine. At that time, with my limited understanding of what it meant, self-publishing would have been an admission of defeat, and was being self-published even really being published?
But the idea took hold and germinated in the recesses of my mind. I continued to read up on it, perusing blogs such as J.A. Konrath’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s and lurking on forums like the Kindle Boards Writer’s Café — even as I kept submitting to markets. I didn’t have consistent access to the Internet at that time, so my opportunities to keep informed were limited and infrequent. But over time, one thing became clear: there were people actually making a go of it, getting read, and a few outliers were actually making a living.
Which led me to ask what it was that I wanted to accomplish with my writing in the first place. Make a ton of cash, pay off the mortgage and retire, you bet. But that wasn’t really the reason, because if it was, I wouldn’t be writing. There are far more profitable ways to spend that time. No, I write because I take pleasure in it; I like the idea that something I’ve done might entertain someone for a while; that a stranger might read it and enjoy it. Yes, it’s all ego! I want to be read.
Well, that and make a million dollars.
A quick glance on the old hard drive showed over a hundred stories just sitting there, doing nothing. Some had already been published, but the rights had reverted to me. Others had been accepted by publishers that had, for whatever reason, folded before putting the story in print. Still others had been rejected by their intended markets, but I liked them anyway. And lastly, there were those that sat there because they deserved to. They weren’t all that good. So I selected a tentative table of contents for a collection and started researching the nuts and bolts of publishing in earnest.