I think I was in ninth grade when a social studies teacher marked up a report I handed in. He wrote on the top, in that red ink you could only get with a teacher’s credential, this little note:
“Have you ever thought of becoming a writer?”
Yeah. More than 45 years later I still entertain the prospect.
Actually I did make a career out of writing. In the 1980s and 1990s I wrote for a handful of newspapers in five states, won one Arizona Associated Press award for in-depth coverage, maybe helped escort a couple of crooked and/or incompetent elected officials out of office (and watched as their replacements turned out to be even worse), and had a lot of fun.
This was when journalism was still about something, when you could still smoke in the newsroom, when you could still write your copy on a hooch-stained cocktail napkin. Before a gang of politically-correct weenies took over the business and destroyed its last shreds of credibility.
Let’s move forward a couple of decades. In 2010 I started freelance writing online. By 2014 I stopped all freelance work and devoted my writing to fiction and the occasional nonfiction. My first, B.I.C. Cartel, came out that year and introduced me to the world of indie publishing. Since then I published Damage Control, Desert Vendetta, and The Beta Testers.
I work as a caregiver to a couple of elderly people. I’m also an accomplished musician, a veteran of the Charleston SC music circuit. That’s the subject of a nonfiction book (Playing Harmonica Like a Real Musician).
Because it’s fun.
Because I have full control over the contents of my books. I have some input on what the book cover is going to look like. I have some say in what the book’s title shall be.
Because I can name my own price.
Because my per-copy royalty is anywhere between 50 percent for a print copy, to 95 percent for an ebook. An author might get 10 percent of the cover price when he publishes via a legacy bookseller, and he has to buck 15 percent of that over to the agent who got him the contract.
Because the legacy publishing industry is dying and authors everywhere are getting ready to dance on its grave.
But mostly because it’s fun. I can even put up a website with a cool name and hey, I’m a publisher.