I Don’t Get No Respect — The Drawback of Self Publishing (Part I — I Was Wrong)

(I started out aiming to write a blog about self-publishing on Kindle.  This was like that Sterne fellow attempting to write a short-story about the night his main character was conceived.  I got a bit lost and realized it would take me a few years to get to the point.  So, I’m going to publish this as a series of blog posts.  This is the first.  I’ll be back.)

Many years ago, I attended an  MFA program at  one of those fancy schools.  Fat lot of good it did me, though it was great fun at the time — actually getting to meet and talk literature with famous writers, though the fact that even they needed the teaching gigs should have told me something.

Still it wasn’t till a couple of years after graduating that I got my first legitimate publication and it had nothing to do with any connections through the program.  The story happened to get picked from a slush pile for The Quarterly, a literary magazine edited by the notorious Gordon Lish.   It did lead to an agent’s contacting me to suggest I submit a novel, if I had one.  I didn’t.  Nor did I have anything else to interest Mr. Lish.

In any case, a couple of years later, deciding I needed an actual profession, I pretty much stopped trying to write fiction and went to social work school — a decision greeted with some suspicion by my family.

“Are you doing this to help people or to gather material?”  My father asked.

“Yes,” I said.

But I never gave up on the idea of writing.  I was just waiting for something, and eventually it came.

I always thought, based on no evidence, that I was supposed to be a novelist, not a short story writer.  I wasn’t great at concision.  I needed that broader canvas.  (Or as some may suspect — I am pompous and long-winded).   I was certain that if I wrote it, publication would come.

I was wrong.