Remember when Lars Ulrich of Metallica went "crazy train" over Napster? Now most musicians purposefully give away mp3s of their music. Funny how times change.
I don't mind giving away some of my stories. (Flash Fiction Fridays, duh.)
But I won't self-publish a novel. Not yet. And I'm glad I didn't start handing out short stories on my blog when I started writing.
When you self publish (be it POD or traditional or what-ever), you eliminate competition. Yes, competition sucks sometimes. Yes, the system has inherent "unfairness". Yes, there is a bit of nepotism out there. And name? Man, once you have one, you can write your ticket. Have you ever read an anthology and felt the strongest stories came from "unknowns" while the best-sellers punted? It happens. Too much, in my opinion.
But competition breeds a better story. It makes writing better. It's made me work harder; I know that much. And yes, competition brings rejection (or losses, however you want to frame it). Yesterday, it brought three to me: one from a long-time short list, another from a pro market, and a third from a market that just decided to close, bang. I hated "writing" for a couple of hours yesterday, but I'll keep writing. It's what I do. And "unfairness" is just another excuse.
I've learned to cherish the challenge that writing brings. I don't love competition, but I love what it's done to me. I love chiseling away at a story because I know it isn't good enough, not yet. I want them all to be that story, the one readers want to share. Wouldn't have happened without competition. It wouldn't have happened if I gave up. There would be no thrill, no joy if I self-published from "go".
So I won't self-publish a novel. Not yet. But I don't mind sharing bits and pieces; I know I need to in today's writing world (remember the Metallica lesson?) Flash fiction = free mp3s, right?