That's a good question, isn't it? Why, when there are so many publishing companies and agents out there, would one want to self-publish? Surely one of those entities would be able to help a potential writer get published in the first place. It's happened before.
Indeed it has, but not to me and neither to my fellows at Starving Writers Guild. For years we have attempted to find a willing agent to at least consider our work, but to no avail. I have sent out hundreds of query letters, hoping to at least hear some feedback from someone about the story, if nothing else. But in the totality of all I sent out, I can count on one hand the amount of times that someone responded with a personal email, rather than an automated response.
iMaddening as this would be on its own, John has informed me of the time in which an agent sent back an automated response to him, but had intended for the recipient to be someone else. Then, when he pressured the agent to give him his own personal account of John's work, the agent sent a corrected automated response instead.
Agents are people, just like us, and there are only so many hours in a day, so I will not sit here and pretend like they have the time to personally answer every single request sent their way. But for 99% of the responses received to be fully automated is a slap in the face.
I must confess that the first time I attempted to get published, I rightfully deserved to be snubbed. The book at the time was written when I was younger, and my grasp on writing was nowhere near as polished as it was now. But now that I have spent time honing my craft and learning where I am good and where I need more work, I can honestly say that I know books like Lost Time deserved to be published.
But worse still is the simple fact that if you don't know anyone in the publishing business, you have next to impossible odds of being published yourself, especially in today's market. I understand why agents and publishers do this. It's easier to deal with people you know and total unknowns like myself are untested and therefore you can't plan around that as well. But that dilutes writing.
I'm not a short story writer, nor am I given to writing for newspapers or magazines. No two writers are alike. I can competently write poetry, but it's not my focus, nor is it what I want to be known for. I could sell out and write complete trash just to make a paycheck, but that's not who I am. Giving up on a potential writer just because they aren't established is a cowardly tactic, one that I understand, but abhor.
Which brings us back to why I'm self-publishing. Here, with the aid of others, I can finally get my work out there. I can branch out into the publishing world and establish my presence there without the help of an agent or publisher. I can show people who I am by what I write and show them the projects that I am proud to make for their reading pleasure.
I love writing. It's what I want to do with my life. With the aid of this website and your generous support, I can continue doing so.
M. C. Ashley
Born in Charlotte, NC in 1990. He obtained his Creative Writing degree with a minor in English in 2013. He first started writing in high school after developing an appreciation for Stephen King's The Stand. Four of fan-fiction works, as well as other original works, have been featured on TV Tropes where he is credited as the user "NKSCF." He currently lives in Denver, NC.