Where Did THAT Come From: The Self-Publishing Gig

This was a result of me reading a book about self-publishing by Dean Wesley Smith* and then reading Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series in about a week on Kindle.

Literally, I was addicted: I’d stay up late finding out what happened, and immediately press “buy” on the sequel, and start all over again the next day. It taught me a lot about how Kindle worked, and why there was a market for ebooks.

I was not quite as fond of R. M. Meluch’s Tour of the Merrimack series, but it had a similar effect on me, and rediscovering Dean Koontz on Kindle showed me the power of a gigantic backlist. It is ironic that two traditionally published “superstars” and one traditionally published “midlister” helped convince me that I ought to self-publish.

I experimented with publishing some short stories (per advice in Smith’s book), using the Tia Baden pen name, just to get a feel for the process, and then eventually took them down. Then I focused on what would become the Jaiya Series. I had two other completed short-ish novels in SF&F genres, and a couple more I could have finished if I had found the motivation, but I just didn’t love them enough to inflict them on the world. I did love Marrying a Monster and Loving a Deathseer that much, so I built a saga big enough to tie them together, and started publishing in earnest.

Since then, it’s been a long, slow road, because I’m not a particularly fast writer. I published my next book, Shadow Captain, exclusively in Kindle Unlimited, because I believed that was where I could find readers for that kind of book, and to save myself some added labor. I started a prequel to Shadow Captain as a serial in Vella, then unpublished it because I didn’t like where it was going. As I write this, I’m in the midst of an ongoing battle with the sequel to Shadow Captain, fifteen months and counting, made more complicated by my decision that it would be the last book in that setting.

*whom I was aware of through the Strange New Worlds writing competition, which he oversaw for many years.


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