Because I'm old.
Okay, I'm not exactly being followed around by some jerk in a long black robe waving a scythe, or not more than any of us are. But I'm not young. I read a woman's obituary in a local paper a few years ago. I can't remember many details but one thing stuck with me: she'd written 13 books, all of them unpublished. I don't want to be that woman.
Everything came together after my layoff. At that time I had completed one book and had another about halfway finished. I had submitting manuscripts to agents and publishers and had collected many rejections. I understood this was the way of the aspiring writer. I accepted that. But another comment on some writer's blog also stuck with me: it takes 20 years to break into print.
I didn't think I had 20 years. I still don't. And posthumous recognition doesn't have anything to recommend it. If I'm doing all this work I want to be around to collect the rewards, dodge the abuse, have the experience. So I self-published my first book, learned a great deal, finished and published the second. I learned more from that experience and, even better, had a really good time doing it. After years of corporate life where consensus had to be mimicked to get anything done it was liberating to do everything myself. I loved it. I still love it.
I've submitted a story to a commercial anthology. I hope it gets accepted. But if it doesn't I can publish it on Amazon or submit it somewhere else. I can put it on this blog and let people download it for free. I can do exactly the same with The Dog of Pel when it is ready to go. Being an indie author is all about choices.
So would I like being published by a commerical publisher? Of course. It would be interesting, exciting, and validating. It would be a new experience and I hope I have that experience while I'm still competent to enjoy it. But if it never happens at least the work is out there. That's what my obituary will say.