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I’ve told this story before, but I like to do it again periodically for new readers.

My first publishing credits came from small magazines and literary journals. But after that I ran up against the wall of agents and publishers, and I eventually self-published. My goal wasn’t money or fame. I just wanted my work to be out there for people to read.

We’re told as writers that what we should want—that “winning” as an author—is an agent and big publisher. And if that doesn’t happen, as we teeter on the brink of depression and despair, a small publisher will do. Because the important thing, or so we’re taught, is that someone thinks we’re good enough to publish.

When I made the jump from self-published to being published by a couple small publishers, I thought I’d finally “won.” If not the jackpot (i.e., an agent and big publisher), then at least a scratch-off lotto ticket.

But here’s the thing, “winning” as an author is NOT about finding an agent or publisher. As it turns out, my initial instincts were right all along. The jackpot is having your book out there and finding readers. Readers are the jackpot. Not agents, not publishers.

This is nothing against my publishers. I’m so grateful to them for taking a chance on me, and nothing beats experience. I’m only saying that it doesn’t matter as much as we’re prompted to believe it does. What matters is whether readers will pick up your book and, well, read it.

Does having a publisher maximize this possibility? Maybe, maybe not. It might depend on the publisher. It definitely depends on the book.

All I’m really saying is that self-publish does not equal failure. You haven’t “lost” if you self-publish. How you get there matters less than actually getting there.

By the way, thank you SO MUCH for helping me reach my destination! Brynnde is now my most successful book since my Sherlock Holmes stories! If you haven’t read it already, I hope you’ll give it a try. You can read it for FREE via Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.



Comments (2) for post ““Winning””

  • Hello! Pepper was my mother’s nickname because of her many freckles. Is your story similar? I enjoyed your comments on self-publishing and your ultimate goal as a writer. I’m facing that decision, and have set myself a goal: If the manuscript I’m working on now doesn’t get a nibble from an agent or publisher within six months of completion, I’ll self-publish it.
    Your cover for Brynnde is lovely. What’s the story of that name? (I suppose I should read it and find out, right?)

    • Pepper isn’t a nickname for me! The fact that I love Dr Pepper is coincidental.

      And yes, Brynnde’s name (pronounced BRIN-dee) is explained at the very end of the book! It’s kind of a silly story. Honestly, when I came up with her name, I just made it up and then thought there’d better be a reason for such an unusual name.

      I do love the cover, too. I’ve had wonderful luck with designers on 99 Designs.

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