early self publishing
When I was young, before I was ten, my older brother had a magazine delivery route. Left over issues were his to dispose of, and so every week I was the recipient of an amazing treasure trove. I could cut out the same picture three or four times, and paste it onto new pages, painstakingly hand writing out my own text, and thus creating issues of my own publication.
beginning to be an author
Beatrix Potter was my first favorite writer. My family was big on reading, and books were my first love. My Aunt Lola gave me a volume of fairy tales for Christmas one year, which may have been the first book that I owned personally. So I wanted to be a writer. There were no self help books, nor did it even occur to me to seek help from a teacher. So when I tried to write my first novel in the ninth grade I failed spectacularly.
another foray into self publishing
In high school my friend Susan and I were science fiction fans who particularly liked Star Trek. This was back in the days when it wasn’t necessary to qualify it with “original series.” We got together and self published a couple of issues of our own fanzine CANEKTION. This was also back in the days before home computers, and at the time most fanzines were mimeographed, but Susan’s father conveniently owned a printery, so our effort looked decidedly slick. I mailed a copy to my hero, Isaac Asimov, who replied with a postcard which said it was “very impressive looking.” Wow. One of these days I’ll scan both issues and put it online. Two issues was it; distribution was near impossible for independents at that time, so I moved on.
getting there sideways
Because I loved movies and television almost as much as I loved books, I studied media arts in college, then went on to work in various capacities in the Canadian film and television industry, before finding my way back to writing. As well as selling scripts, my most important learning experience was the extraordinary opportunity I had working on what turned out to be a fairly dreadful television series. But I was lucky to learn a lot, particularly about editing, from some very generous writers, Bob Carney and Stuart Rosenberg. That was when I first learned that good writing could become bad writing if the people in charge didn’t get it. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these writers.
And really, that is why I’ve decided on self publishing. As much as anything, I want the opportunity to put my own work out there, without having to ravage it to appease the producer’s girlfriend.