Stephen King is quoted as saying his first published work went into a fanzine (my experiences with fanzines were in the Star Trek universe). The publisher gave it a title, In a Half-World of Terror, but Mr. King preferred the title he gave it; I Was a Teen-Age Graverobber. To quote the author, Super duper! Pow!
Fanzine publishing was an early version of self-publishing and mostly for short stories. I did have a roommate who made some money with her Beauty and the Beast TV show fanfic. She wrote it as a serial and had fans and everything. Mostly you had a lot of input and control over these small publications. But rarely did you get money or recognition.
As a mature writer, I expected to submit my single work a bazillion times and have it rejected until I reach that tipping point where it appeals to someone, finally! Instead, I got married, took in kids, started raising birds with special needs, and in general put writing on the back burner. At this time, self-publishing was mostly expensive vanity presses. Not just the wrong path, but looked down on by other traditionally published authors. Especially in Romance genres.
Scroll forward 20 years and the kids are on their own, the birds are in a routine, and I am looking at retirement. Time to start writing again. I brought the story that was in my mind all these years to a mentoring session and pretty much learned the story was trash. I had ideas on how to rework it, but then I started my Trilogy (the third book will be published any day now) (no, really!) and at the same time learned that self-publishing is a good thing!
Or is it? To my horror, many writers believe they can write a book and self-publish it without having an editor ever look at their words. They might have an original, amazing story to tell, but for want of a good editor they put out less than their best. And so Romance novels that are self-published, again in this day and age, are given a side-eye by readers.
I did use only my husband as an editor for my Regency Banquet books. I used an exceptional editor for the Bowman’s Inn anthologies. I expect to continue with Rush Editing for all future self-pub ventures. I am approaching the midpoint where my contemporary novel, Crazy for Trying, will be up for submission again to editors and agents. I may even participate in a Twitter Pitch Madness event with it. If that’s successful, I will do the dance of joy all over my computer. And if no one bites, I’ll just publish it myself. Fully edited, expensive cover, and all.
I believe over the decades that many great stories were lost in the publication morass. It’s rather depressing to an author to wait 6 months minimum to hear back from an editor or agent. Whatever you do as an author, don’t sit still and wait to hear. Keep writing. Keep thinking of new stories. Keep the light shining so you can find your way and not get lost.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.