It all began with Choose Your Own Death. I was offered a short story commission from a magazine editor that specialised in macabre fairytales and fantastical stories for young readers. I started writing one Saturday morning thinking I’d knock it over by Sunday evening.

By late Saturday, the story had taken on its own life. Characters refused to die. My carefully plotted index cards were scattered across the room. I submitted the story anyway – 5000 words over the word limit. I never did hear back from the publisher.

I was disheartened but not defeated. I’ve never killed any of my stories. Instead, they skulk in the virtual bottom drawer of my hard drive and every so often, usually on a Friday or Saturday night when I’m home alone with a glass of wine, I’ll find the file and plug away at it. That was how Choose Your Own Death was completed, eighteen months after the initial ‘commission’.

What now? I’d read too many blogs from writers about the difficulties in finding an agent, much less a publisher. I couldn’t keep working on this story indefinitely. I had a day job where I taught film students the business of animation— a business where emerging filmmakers spend thousands of dollars marketing and self-distributing their short films to film festivals and online.

Film producers also engaged with distributors and commissioning editors but the reality is, the online platform provided the most opportunities for emerging filmmakers. Emerging visual artists were also self promoters. As an art college graduate, I’d never questioned parting with money to pay for a gallery space as part of a group exhibition.

The decision to self-publish my macabre little story was easy. I had a lot of transferrable skills from working in screen production. And after learning Maya as part of my animation degree, I wasn’t afraid to learn any other software to get the job done.

There’s a lot to learn about self-publishing, and I don’t know where it’s going to take me or what I’m going to do with my writing. For now though, I’m content to take it one story at a time, and distribute my own work, like every other artist.