Barry Eisler wrote a piece for the London Guardian a couple of days ago about the benefits of Amazon as compared to the Big 6 publishers. This and the comments that followed (well worth a read) continued the debate about exactly how powerful a force self-publishing is going to be.

Lawrence Block also wrote a compelling piece on his blog about the same topic, provoking lots of interesting stories from writers.

So where do we stand? Are we abandoning commercial publishing entirely? Is self-publishing where we're heading?

I realise this discussion has been rehashed several times on here, but I'm now seriously beginning to consider whether I should try to get agents and publishers interested (twenty-five years and still trying), or should just write the best book I can and put it on CreateSpace and Kindle.

Oh, and then take a course on Marketing Yourself for Fun and Profit ...

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Something else occurred to me on this topic today -- I think that established writers switching over to self-publishing probably have a completely different experience than new writers. People like Lawrence Block (and maybe Barry Eisler, too) must have a loyal readership that makes the switch a no-brainer, and their experience with self-publishing is surely very different from that of someone without a "name" in the business already. Thus, to them, it may look very much like traditional publishing is on the way out, but I think that they're forgetting that most mature contemporary writers, being of a Certain Age, are coming to the self-publishing biz with a traditional-publishing-produced reputation already in place. I think it will be some years yet before anybody can say with certainty that the new system will produce the same quality of work.

This, too, is a fair estimate of the current state of publishing.  Yes, the previously published authors have fans in place.  The same isn't true of new authors.  New authors are trying to get pople to sample their books by offering them free or for 99 cents.  Apparently, the reading public is getting a bit tired of the mass of such offerings.  They are making negative comments about cheap books.  Sometimes, they translate "cheap" or "free" automatically into "crap."

But the fact that previously pubbed authors are taking their successful books the self-publishing route does mean that the same quality remains available on KDP and Pubit.


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