No, I wasn’t published through one of the Big Boys of publishing. I’m good enough. I won’t say I’m a great writer, but good enough, at least, especially considering some books I’ve read that have been published by the Big Boys. So why didn’t I go through one of them? Because I tried. They can say they want new talent, but what they’re saying is they want the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Unknowns are a big gamble.
And most of the Big Boys won’t accept unsolicited queries or submissions. You must go through an agent. I nearly had an agent twice. I had the contract, but then, each time, they changed their minds. I even nearly had a publisher, but they changed their minds too.
This went on for close to fifteen years. But then two things helped me decide to go indie.
One was when my husband got cancer. It showed me that you just never know (which is part of number two, actually). He wanted to see me publish my books. Sure, I had one published already – Deuces Wild: Beginners’ Luck, but through no fault of the owner, that company had problems and closed. I pulled back the rights and published it myself.
But did I want to do that with “my” book? The one I’d been sitting on and writing and world-building and doing the history for since the mid-80s? I wanted that one to be published by one of the Big Boys. I really did. But I wanted my husband to see Sword’s Edge published, because he loved—no, he adored me, and he wanted to see my dream fulfilled.
Two was related to number one. I’m not young. I’m an experienced writer and editor. I wanted to be able to share my stories before I died, and who knows when that might be? I could get hit by a truck tomorrow. And I remember some lines of a Pink Floyd song:
You run and you run
To catch up with the sun,
But it’s sinking,
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way
But you’re older,
Shorter of breath,
and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter,
Never seem to find the time,
Plans that either come to naught,
Or half a page of scribbled lines.
I. Did. Not. Want. That. To. Be. Me.
So I went indie. I’m not Rich and Famous™, or on the NYTimes Bestseller list. But my stories are getting out there. People can read them. They like them. I get emails and messages saying they love this character or that one, and whyyyy did that have to happen, and when is the next book coming out?
I don’t think if I had a choice I’d change a thing.