A Level Playing Field

Back in the summer of 1996 I was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my girlfriend and her family.  That girlfriend (who would later become my wife) and I happened to be in little mall area by the ocean one day.  There we ran across a bookstore.  Sitting at a table full of books was a writer, probably in his forties, meeting and greeting.  I was a twenty-two year old unpublished writer with dreams of breaking into the business one day, so I stopped to chat.  He seemed like a nice guy, so I bought a copy of his book.

As much as I hate to say it, the book was pretty terrible.  The grammar and spelling seemed okay, but the story itself seemed contrived and a bit silly.  I also thought it was boring.  It just seemed to lack a solid hook to keep me interested.

Turned out that he’d self-published the book.  Back in 1996 self-publishing meant a substantial cash investment followed by a campaign around bookstores trying to offload your inventory.

In other words a losing proposition. Continue reading

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