To quote a really overused phrase: The Times They Are A Changin. A few years ago, when I began sending queries to agents, well meaning people told me "Don't give up. Just keep sending out those letters and writing samples. And whatever you do, don't consider self publishing. It's the kiss of death for a serious writer. No agent or publisher will take you seriously if you self publish." Well, guess what? No one was taking me seriously anyway.
I've always written because I don't really have a choice. I'm a writer whether anyone reads my work or not. Fortunately, there were enough people around who were interested enough to read what I wrote and to encourage me to keep at it. Of course, it's one thing when friends tell you they like your books and something else entirely when you hand the same books over to strangers who can be completely honest. When someone told me about Authonomy, I took the plunge and posted my first book Susan and Tecate. It was an amazing experience to receive positive reviews from other writers.
I decided that I was getting to old to spend the next few years hoping that some agent somewhere would connect with my work. I had looked at a few of the well known Print On Demand publishers, but since I really didn't expect to make a lot of money, I couldn't justify the expense. The most reasonable of them charged in the neighborhood of $1500. Then I read an article in Time Magazine and discovered Amazon's Create Space and Kindle Publishing. While they offer very reasonably priced expert assistance, anyone with some skill can prepare their own Print and Kindle editions and publish and distribute on Amazon.com.
I did it. The books are beautiful. I couldn't be happier. When I made my first few dollars, I jokingly told my friends I wouldn't be available for awhile as I would be shopping for some horse property in the California Delta, the setting for my mysteries. My friends wrote back - "We knew you were just in it for the money."
Bottom line - even Stephen King is doing it. Of course, he'll sell more books than I will. His reputation is made. I'm an unknown. But the truth is, I'm really not in it for the money. And seeing my books in print and on Amazon is a lot more rewarding than having a pile of manuscripts gathering dust on my shelves.