I was afraid to submit Book One of The Black Ring to a traditional publisher. If it were accepted, and the editor later decided that he didn’t want the rest — as had happened to me twice before — I would be stuck, unable to find a market for the remaining Books. The Black Ring was too important to me, and I couldn’t let that happen.
I knew a senior editor at a major publisher, who worked with a lot of science fiction. He overheard me talking about The Black Ring with someone at an SF convention, and asked me about it. I told him. He was interested, so I sent him Book One. If he thought his company would publish it, we could talk about a contract for the other five Books.
He had it for three years before he told me that nobody in the office knew what to do with it. I was in my sixties now, and I couldn’t wait three years for another rejection. And maybe another. (An agent at one time had submitted Stroad’s Cross to two publishers, who each took two years to return it.) I had to do something myself.
So, as an experiment, I took a collection of five speeches, which I had given at my Toastmaster’s club some years before, and revised them slightly to be essays. Then I published them digitally as Cat Tales (not a very clever title, I know), just to see if I could do it. And I could. I had demonstrated that I could publish my own work, and not through a vanity press, which I would not have done in any case.
But Cat Tales is a small book, just forty pages. It is still available on Amazon, as both a Kindle book, and as a printed book published by Ogden House. I sometimes give printed copies away.
I needed to prove myself again. I had a lot to learn before I could even think about doing The Black Ring.