Doesn't mean we should. Self-publish, I mean.
(Yes, I know I leap from one topic to another. I'm back in the self-publishing camp today.) One way or another Over the Hill and Far Away will be a book. Which has led me to play around on a self-publishing site or ten, and drown in blogs, and to read a couple of how-to books which explain the awkward bits. Maybe it's not so daunting?
This looks almost easy, I thought. Print on Demand - what could be more straightfoward? Typeset, sort a cover - and presto, a book! And putting books onto Kindle, onto Smashwords - yes, it looks fiddly in places, but it costs so little! Anyone can do it! Maybe I should put some of my short stories there -
STOP RIGHT THERE! Yes, it might be not-so-hard. But that doesn't mean my short stories are good enough. Oh, there are one or two that aren't bad; even a couple that might be reasonable if I could only - well - make them more interesting. Make the plot a bit more, sort of plottish. Find characters that I don't want to smack at the end of 2000 words. There is a reason they are sitting in the 'not really good enough' folder on the computer.
In her book Write to be Published Nicola Morgan (find her fab blog here) describes much self-published material as 'eel vomit.' No, it isn't very nice, is it? But, being honest with myself for just a minute, most of those short stories are eel vomit. They have taught me things about plot, and characterisation, and making settings work (or not). So they have a value for me. But when it comes to literary merit, well, they are rubbish.
In contrast - I am proud of Over the Hill. It is, now, almost the very best book I can make it. (Almost - yes, there is still work to do.) But I must resist the temptation to play with making other books, just because I can. Better to have one book to be proud of than piles of eel vomit.
And you - tell me I'm not the only one with eel vomit hidden in a bottom drawer?