Author Topic: What motivated you to publish your first story?  (Read 1164 times)  

Offline Lorri Moulton

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What motivated you to publish your first story?
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:58:48 AM »
The first book I published was for my dad, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.  I wanted to get his stories down on paper since he had such wonderful memories of spending time with his grandfather.  When my dad was six years old, he spent most of the summer with his paternal grandfather.

My dad would tell me about those memories on the phone (he lives across the country) and I started taking notes.  Sometimes, he'd have a sentence or two...other times a complete short story.

To surprise him on Father's Day, I took the notes and turned them into a collection of short stories.  Some are pretty close to the truth, while others are mostly fiction.  Those were the ones that were a sentence of two.

The point was to capture the nostalgia and sentiment behind his experiences.  So, I spent all Father's Day trying to figure out how to publish a book on Amazon! LOL  When I finally got it done (it was about 7pm) I called my dad and told him.  He was very happy and said it was a great Father's Day gift. 

My dad is still fighting the good fight, but the hospital sent him home with Hospice care a few months ago.  He's stuck in bed, but calls me about once a week just to give me a new story idea.  The rest of the time we talk about everything else, but he sometimes calls about a dream he had or another memory of his grandfather.  The last call was an idea for a children's book.  I think I might have to give that one a try. :)

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Online Sam Rivers

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 10:14:08 AM »
Older people were great story tellers and told stories about their childhood and other things. Now that art has gone away since nobody wants to listen. They prefer TV and video games over story telling.
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Offline scott.marmorstein

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 10:19:55 AM »
I had a story bouncing around in my head for years. It wouldn't leave me alone. At this point, I'd already published another book that was nonfiction (back in 2006). It cost a lot to do it. So fiction, at that time, was just out of the question. One day years later, while this story idea was still bouncing around in my head, someone on facebook told me to check out KDP. I did, and then I found CreateSpace. By then I was ready to write that story down.

It became PURSUIT. I'm currently working on the 3rd installment, trying to get it ready for publication. It's taken me 1.5 years to write the final volume, and over a year to get my editor (my very critical wife) to slog through it and make me rip what's left of my hair out. She's probably the best editor I have because she tells me straight up when she doesn't believe a character, doesn't like them, doesn't like a chapter I wrote ("because it doesn't further the plot" etc.).

Anyway, PURSUIT was the one story idea I had for years and years before it ever became an actual book. I'm glad its out there. I think I just needed to write it because, finally, I could actually get it out there.
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Offline Skip Knox

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 10:38:28 AM »
That question could only be asked in the present age of self-publishing!  Before, it would be what motivated you to *write* your first story. Publishing was a whole other animal.

So, writing stories is something I've done for most of my life. I even sent a short story off to Galaxy Magazine back in the early '70s. Got a rejection letter, hand-written, from H.L. Gold himself. The decades rolled on and I continued to write notes, ideas, poems, unfinished stories -- the usual. Then, one day in 2005, that letter showed up again. My wife had found it in a box of papers that had followed us all around our various moves. She put it on my desk. It was the usual sort of rejection letter: thanks but no thanks, keep trying. And somehow, that last, probably offhand, encouragement resonated. Keep trying. In 2014 I got a short story published. In 2015 I self-published a novelette, published another in 2016, and in 2017 self-published a full novel.

So, you could say that what motivated me was that failure, forty years before, and a few chance words, plus a wife who put a piece of paper on a desk at just the right time.

Offline C. Gold

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 10:39:55 AM »
Not a what but a who. I was helping a friend with his story when I made the realization that I could do that, too. Until that point, I'd thought from time to time, "Oh, I could write a book," but never took it seriously because of all the hassles of trad pub. I jotted ideas down but never did anything with them. Discovering self pub as an option made it a viable one. Once I started writing my story, I wanted to finish before my mom got too old to appreciate it. She loves reading, though mostly stuff I don't read.

Offline wilsonharp

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 10:48:35 AM »
I started working on what became my first finished novel when I couldn't find what I wanted to read. I wanted a non-sardonic, non-sarcastic hero to root for. I wanted a military sci-fi story where the military men fought hard to protect Earth and humanity without lapsing into the anti-hero model. I couldn't really find a story like that, at least not a recent story, so I started writing down the ideas of what I would want to read.

Then, when I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my long-time job, I started looking around at ways to make enough money to survive. Read about KDP, finished up my story, and put it up for sale.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is the drunken uncle of publishing.
     

Offline LovingLife139

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 10:57:14 AM »
Interesting question and responses so far!  ;)

I first published in 2010 with the expectation of selling nothing, and all because so many people in my friends and family were wanting to read and/or have copies of my books and I didn't have enough to go around. I checked CreateSpace out and saw that it was cheaper to publish actual paperbacks than to continue relying on computer paper and printer ink, so I published a few of my stories and bought a few copies to spread around. I also published on KDP just because it was an easy process. I'd been writing books for many years at that point, but other than submitting to a publisher once I never wanted to be published because I believe in having total creative control. I don't tend to write conventionally and I like it that way. I knew I'd butt heads with anyone who wanted to change things (even covers!). Self-publishing always had a bad rap growing up so I never considered it.

Lo and behold, my books started selling themselves. I went online to check my accounts one day and noticed I'd sold a number of copies and had a detailed 5-star review on one of them. I was shocked that strangers were reading and liking my stories because you always have a feeling that family over-exaggerates your skill.  :P I decided then that I'd take it seriously. I eventually retired all of the books I'd written in genres I didn't want to be known for and focused on writing in the genres I do now. I write a dozen or so books per year but I only publish the ones in these three genres. Maybe someday I'll create a pen name for the other books.

TL;DR What motivated me? Mooching family members and expensive printer ink. What keeps me going? The fact that strangers like the stuff my imagination spews out on paper.

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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 11:01:33 AM »
Older people were great story tellers and told stories about their childhood and other things. Now that art has gone away since nobody wants to listen. They prefer TV and video games over story telling.

I have always loved stories and used to listen to my grandmother on my mom's side talk about all the family history.  She made those people (long dead by the time I heard about them) come to life.  Her grandmother was my second story and her great-grandmother was my first novel.  Granted, there's a lot of fiction added to fill in the gaps, but the ideas came from my grandmother.  She was a remarkable woman and a gifted storyteller. 


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Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 11:13:12 AM »
Interesting question and responses so far!  ;)

I first published in 2010 with the expectation of selling nothing, and all because so many people in my friends and family were wanting to read and/or have copies of my books and I didn't have enough to go around. I checked CreateSpace out and saw that it was cheaper to publish actual paperbacks than to continue relying on computer paper and printer ink, so I published a few of my stories and bought a few copies to spread around. I also published on KDP just because it was an easy process. I'd been writing books for many years at that point, but other than submitting to a publisher once I never wanted to be published because I believe in having total creative control. I don't tend to write conventionally and I like it that way. I knew I'd butt heads with anyone who wanted to change things (even covers!). Self-publishing always had a bad rap growing up so I never considered it.

Lo and behold, my books started selling themselves. I went online to check my accounts one day and noticed I'd sold a number of copies and had a detailed 5-star review on one of them. I was shocked that strangers were reading and liking my stories because you always have a feeling that family over-exaggerates your skill.  :P I decided then that I'd take it seriously. I eventually retired all of the books I'd written in genres I didn't want to be known for and focused on writing in the genres I do now. I write a dozen or so books per year but I only publish the ones in these three genres. Maybe someday I'll create a pen name for the other books.

TL;DR What motivated me? Mooching family members and expensive printer ink. What keeps me going? The fact that strangers like the stuff my imagination spews out on pap

Your books have VERY COOL covers  8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 11:23:02 AM »
Without getting into the actual content of the story of my book, the other motivations for actually sitting down and writing were several:

1) It was possible. The changes in the publishing world, the advent of Createspace, KDP and Ingramspark had changed the publishing world forever, as had Amazon. I knew if I couldn't find a publisher I could actually publish this book myself, maintain quality control and do it myself, as well as bring in other elements from my other job to help assist the process.

2) A window in which to write. A film project I had been working on for what seemed like forever got delayed and I had a big window doing nothing, so my partner, best friend and supporter said to me 'Maybe you should write that book you've been talking about while you have some time.' So, I did.

3) Potential to be sold as a TV series. I work in this realm anyway and knew everyone was crying out for new content, so I thought I should write something that had that potential and set myself about the task accordingly. When they come a calling, I will even have the scripts ready for them to read.

4) I always wanted to. Since my childhood, I always was going to write a book (And did, back then, in old exercise books with barely legible handwriting, full of fantasy maps of strange worlds, you get the idea)

5) I am not getting any younger. Never underestimate the value of time. It is your most precious commodity. If I was going to do this I needed to get off my ass and make it happen.

6) Dedicating the work to a friend of mine who is no longer here. My book has a dedication both in the front and in the forward. They passed away towards the end of 2016, at just 42. I have lost other friends at a young age before and suddenly there was another one. She and I shared an eight-hour phone call once, a really long time ago, where she talked me out of doing something really stupid. To write something dedicated to her, was the biggest motivator of all.

Offline thevoiceofone

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 11:24:49 AM »
A desire to tell a story that i wanted to read that wasn't out there.

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2018, 11:33:36 AM »
A desire to tell a story that i wanted to read that wasn't out there.

Ah yes, and that!!!!!!

Offline ruecole

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 11:39:14 AM »
I think this is still two questions. Not everything we write needs to be published. I've got a whole suitcase of writing that will never see the light of day. Lol

Why did I publish my first book? $$$ of course. Lol

Why did I write that book? Because there weren't enough children's books with realistic rabbits in them. Write what you want to read, right?

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Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 12:00:59 PM »
Thank you for all the responses!

I can see why it may seem like two questions, but I'm interested in what motivated people to publish their first book.  I had written non-fiction, but didn't publish anything until my short stories.  That's when the desire to publish was stronger than the scary unknown of trying to figure out Amazon. 

I'm not very tech savvy, so it took me hours of watching YouTube videos. :o


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Offline joyceharmon

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 12:06:30 PM »
I published my first story because I read an on-line article about self-publishing e-books and thought, say, don't I have a mystery gathering dust in the filing cabinet? I'd written the mystery back in the 90s. But it was too short to meet the guidelines of the publishers I'd found in Writer's Market. The other problem was that I wrote it to be all 'high-tech' and what was high-tech kept changing. I kept telling myself 'I need to expand it and bring it up to date', but the tech changed and changed again, and it was reaching the point where the characters were just going to be too old (there was a Vietnam War backstory that kinda pinned them to a particular era), so the mystery sort of got pushed off the back burner to behind the stove where it moldered for almost twenty years.

After I read the thing about e-books, I got out the mystery and reread it, and enough time had passed that the stuff that was getting outdated when I was thinking revision now seemed Quaint and Period. So I wrote a present-day prologue and epilogue and published it. That was Died On The Vine, based on my work as a winery tour guide. Then I wrote a sequel, Bidding On Death, informed by the heady early days of eBay. But what I discovered was that writing a setting in the recent past is fairly difficult, having to keep stopping to check if a particular thing had been invented yet. So I switched to Regency, where I knew I wouldn't accidentally have characters googling before the dawn of Google, and here we are today...

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2018, 12:08:59 PM »
I had a couple serialized stories online (my own website ... things like Wattpad and Smashwords didn't even exist) and I wanted to publish it, but no publisher would touch it - they all said because it appeared online, first publication rights were gone.

Then I discovered Lulu and realized I could publish them myself, and it turned out I had enough material for multiple books. So I published - paperback only, because Kindles didn't exist at the time.

I was a slow ebook adopter - I didn't go digital until 2011.

Online Carol Davis

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2018, 12:28:37 PM »
I started publishing my stories as fanzines back in 1987. I'd seen zines at the Star Trek conventions, saw that people were willing to pay for them, and thought, "Huh. I can do that." The price I needed to charge in order to cover the printing costs was kind of high, and that worried me, but I managed to sell the whole 100-copy print run. That was enough of a success to keep me generating zines until around 2004.

Then the Internet really kicked in, and I "published" fanfic online for 10 years.

When KDP started up, it caught my eye, but the initial information kept saying, "Your book..." And I thought, well, I don't have any books [novels]," so I walked away. Then Kindle Worlds appeared, and... well, fanfic. Making some actual money from fanfic. That was my tutorial in the world of indy publishing, and later in 2014 I moved on to KDP and some non-fanfic books. This year, I'll be publishing my 50th title!

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Offline rdperry57

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 12:52:59 PM »
When my son told me about NaNoWriMo in 2016, I was fascinated by the concept of writing an entire novel in 30 days. It turned out really well, IMHO, so I was anxious to share the book and see if anyone else agreed. I guess I was motivated originally by the challenge and then published as a way of completing the process.

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Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2018, 01:02:02 PM »
Two things collided. One was that an agent I had reported she couldn't sell my sf novel, Zollocco, even though the editors liked it. This was the late 80's when sf was still largely written and purchased by men. The other was that I bought my friend's Capro computer. I posted a few of my novels online and offered them for sale. Paypal did not exist then. Some other company did which I used for taking payments. Then my friend's husband told me there was a new company, Peanut Press, and they were taking books. So I contacted them, and they took all my books! Yay! But then Peanut Press was sold to another company that was not much interested in e-books. The prejudice against e-books at the time was terrible! The guys who had started Peanut Press eventually started Fictionwise, so I took my books there. Before that, though, another new e-publisher, Bookbooters took my books. Bookbooters sadly went belly up after a few years.

As a woman writing environmental sf, I could not crack the sf world of the time. So I thought maybe I better write romance, and so I researched the requirements that publishers of romance novels required. It was incredibly constricting. One view point. No subplots. No this. No that. I wrote a Regency Romance  under a pen name to differentiate it from my speculative fiction, but did not bother send it anywhere because it did not follow required specs. (An Affection for an Unmarried Lady).

Eventually I wrote an important academic book on literary and drama theory and spent a year trying to get it published. Though editors liked it (of very respected academic houses) again marketing said no. So I self published it. (Vector Theory and the Plot Structures of Literature and Drama). I thought this book would help me get a job in a university teaching, but nope. Hiring freezes. However, conventions are always glad to have me, and that's lots of fun.

My inlaws moved in and made my life a total misery; therefore, I decided I would write a fantasy saga a la Game of Thrones, but one where the characters are not always being killed off and more of the sort of thing women would like (naked men, children, chocolate) and thereby have a wonderful world to exist in despite the in-laws. The first book was too long. Waaaayyyy too long, so no agent picked it up. So I chopped it in half and send the first half to an on-line publisher who accepted the first half, first book I mean. This was a pretty big publisher, but within a year of my book being accepted and it being in the middle of its publishing process, the publisher went under. So I selfpubbed it.

Searching for agents and publishers took so much time that I thought I better just stick with the internet. I used Booksurge  and Lulu for POD's and then Booksurge was eaten by Createspace which is owned by Amazon even though they are now making "their own" POD's. While I was at it, I published my father's two books, one a historical novella, The Joshua Machine, the other a book on theater theory, The Theatrical Image, and my father's-in-law utopian novel Mundillia, a Spanish language novel that I have never read because I don't speak Spanish. (It was my husband's brother and his family, not my father-in-law making my life miserable.)


That's my saga! Thanks for asking! I am enjoying everyone's stories. I've also finally been able to wring out of my mother her life stories, and they are pretty fascinating. Roosevelt patted her on the head and spoke with her when she was a tiny child. He was making a political stop by way of train.








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Offline eddarrow

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 01:03:13 PM »
All these posts are so inspiring. I just published for the first time (it came out today).

What made me want to? I have these totally screwball ideas in my head...stories that hammer on the walls of my mind nonstop until I write them down. I don't think I'll be making any money anytime soon from what I got out there now (a short story), but for me, it's just about the fact that I can publish something, I can tell a story, and I can share it with the world.
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Offline BookMagic

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2018, 01:40:30 PM »
I wrote for years before I ever even told anybody about it. As a kid, other kids tended to look down at me for even reading, let alone writing. It wasn't until I got married and drove my husband crazy by writing, writing, writing all day long, as soon as I came back from my day job, that I even considered publishing, and I only did so because he insisted I showed the world "what I did all day, every day instead of hanging out with him", lol. If it wasn't for him, I would have never published anything.

Offline Lisa Manifold

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2018, 01:46:09 PM »
Years of fan fic, loads of query rejections, and a really bad first novel in serialized format for someone else's publishing company.

I was not an enthusiastic convert to self pub. I was trad all the way. But I read a talk from one of the big indies, and it resonated with me. I spent another year researching how to do it. LOL, and did most of it wrong.




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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2018, 01:57:15 PM »
I'd been reading tons of urban fantasy, and I thought, "How hard could it be to write one of these things?"

Um, yeah. It's hard. ;)

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2018, 02:13:49 PM »
Worm, the awesome web serial by Wildbow.  8) It was extremely inspiring because it was also his first attempt at writing and publishing anything longer than a short story online.

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Re: What motivated you to publish your first story?
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2018, 03:53:47 PM »
A publisher accepted and paid me for it. ;)