I’m a reader. From the time my mom taught five-year-old me to discern between the “snake” words venomous and nonvenomous I’ve had a lust for reading. Reading is power, and I wanted it. Bwahaha!
In the first few days of first grade I told my teacher I could already read—because I knew the snake words. In truth, those were the only two I had in my repertoire. I remember feeling humiliated when she asked me to read a book to the class. Neither of my words were in that book, so I just made up a story to go with each picture. My secret was out.
But Mrs. Stewart was a great teacher and soon I was reading as well as the kids who truly did already know how to read. I practiced my new skill constantly. If I didn’t have a book, I’d read cereal boxes and coffee cans, billboards and newspapers. Anything with words.
Nothing has changed in the intervening years. I still love words. Reading remains my favorite pastime. And I’m an equal opportunity reader. On my shelves there are classics and poetry, biographies and histories, romances and humor, sci-fi and fantasy. I read traditionally published authors and those, like me, who’ve self-published.
On one Facebook authors’ site I read posts from authors who look at self-publishing as something only losers do—and many of these folks would rather submit their manuscripts to publishers a hundred, nay, a thousand times and receive a thousand rejection letters than self-publish. I find that sad.
I honestly believe my first novel Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort had a decent chance of being traditionally published, but I’m 64 years old. The thought of dealing with submissions and rejection letters was depressing as hell. And I had a story to tell. Lots of stories to tell. And while my stories may never make the best seller’s list, they are worthwhile or fun or goofy or sobering. I have something to offer.
So, if you’re a writer wrestling with the thought of self-publishing weigh your options. Maybe you’re young and time is on your side. Maybe you’re older, like me, and just have an overwhelming need to see your stories in print. There are beautiful options these days, unlike the times when self-publishing cost an arm and a leg. To borrow a phrase from Nike—Just do it.