I wanted to publish whatever the hell I wanted.
My first novella, The Single Staircase, was plotted over years but written in just a couple months. It's 18,000 words of gritty, depressing, determined cop talk, mashed up with an Agatha Christie-style locked room puzzle. No publisher in the world would have touched it. But why would I have needed them to? It was exactly the story I wanted to tell.
So I got on to CreateSpace and KDP and figured out the process. And today the Owl and Raccoon series has fans all over the world.
Sin Walks Into The Desert? That book, I could've found a publisher for. Desert noir isn't really a thing, but sexy tattooed loner kids with guns and grudges are pretty fucking marketable. But by the time I finished writing it, I was rolling. I loved my book. I wanted to make it real. Even more, I wanted ultimate responsibility for its success or failure.
Sin went on to sell thousands of copies, get picked up by the Thrilling 13 anthology, and win Shelf Unbound's award for Best Independent Novel of 2015.
At this point, any sane publisher would have been hounding me for more Sin books. But I wanted to jump genres. Sever is a melancholy memoir about college in the '90's, but with four rampaging ax murderers running around. Should it be marketed as YA horror or Gen X time capsule? I don't know. It's not my problem.
The most important thing is this. Every day I get to look myself in the mirror and say, "I did this. Maybe it sucks and maybe it's brilliant. Maybe it'll find an audience and maybe it won't. But I did this. And no one can take that away from me."
All because one day I decided to jump. To upload the file. To hit the publish button. To be #poweredbyindie.
[Ed. - This post is part of Amazon's #poweredbyindie month. I hear a lot of griping about how Amazon is a giant juggernaut that uses authors. But if Amazon didn't provide free publishing tools and a free sales platform, I might not be an author to begin with. The Single Staircase would still be a 122-page Word doc in a folder somewhere. So thanks, Amazon.]