I believe that your path in life will find you no matter what the obstacles. Following the advice of guidance counselors, teachers and family, I abandoned my desire to do something artistic like writing or playing the cello and got a real job programming computers. Early success in that growing field convinced me that everyone was right and I poured all my energy and creativity into technology.
Over time, the idea that I had stories to tell could not be denied. Everywhere I looked there were plots unfolding. People I met created the germs of characters. The books I read taunted me: what had I written? I eventually gave in to the need to put words on paper by writing books on technology. A neat trick designed to distract my muse.
My muse would not be fooled for long. I noticed that a folder appeared on my computer called, "Fiction." It started as a place to keep notes on plots, characters, interesting situations, the stuff a writer might need someday. The muse kept pestering me until I noticed that a few short stories had sneaked into the folder. Over a vacation, one of the short stories became a novella, then kept growing until it was a complete novel. Maybe, I thought, someone is trying to tell me something.
I soon found that there is a huge gap between having a manuscript and publishing a book. Agents, publishers, editors all ignored my work. I had no idea if they thought my worked sucked or if they were just too busy to read it. Was there something I could do to make my book better? I begged. Nothing but silence and form letters came back. I wrote another book. It was better, but I had lost interest in being ignored by the publishing world. A third book was better still. I won an award, but I was still not interested in slogging through the system. Better to remain unknown than go through that, I thought.
When I spoke of my dilemma with some folks during NaNoWriMo, I found that I was not alone. I read their books, they were as good as many of the books that do get published. The situation began to bother me as much as an avid reader as a frustrated writer. I was missing out on good stories! My local bookstore, literary magazines, even the internet was not the whole picture. There had to be a way for readers like me to reach writers like the folks I was talking to. That was when Jason and Nathan mentioned the idea of The Long Tale Press. This is just what we need, I said. A place where writers can put their work directly in front of readers who are hungry for good stories.
In this place the usual rules don't apply. There is no publishing expert tossing a manuscript because the writer eschewed the traditional form of a quest story, or the main character is too ambiguous for the good guy/bad guy mold. We don't force stories into narrow genres defined by the marketing department. Here, the only requirement for a book to be called good is for our readers to tell us it's good. That's right, readers, not experts. People like you who invest your time in the story get to call the shots.
From the minute I heard the concept, I was in. New stories popped into my head. I stopped worrying about what was happening at work. A sense of satisfaction settled over me. My path in life was right there were I left it back in high school.