One thing I've noticed on the writing forums I frequent - people get upset about this topic - Independent Publishing, we're going to call it, since self-publishing is apparently to degrading a term. They get downright mad about it. There's a tremendous amount of back and forth over claims that your way will ruin your writing career and my way is the traditional way. Gotta love Tevya but...
Tradition ain't all it's cracked up to be.
To the folks who fear this brave new world I say - don't do it then. Your choice, but please stop bashing the people who read about Amanda Hocking and think well why the heck not?
She's not the only one either. The success stories are starting to pile up - particularly with midlist writers who already have a following. The sales are real.
I wouldn't believe a lot of this stuff about agents diving into publishing their clients if I hadn't seen it myself, and from huge agencies. How they can't see it as a conflict of interest is beyond me, but it surely is. An agent with a publishing business isn't an agent anymore seeking to further the careers of her client list. She's not trying to make the best deal for the author when it's possible for her to make more off the author for herself than submit the author's work to publishers. This is crazy stuff, people.
I'm not 100% certain I'm going to take the plunge myself, especially since I don't have a built in following as a new author. It'll take a massive amount of work and probably more money than I have to publish and then deal with marketing myself. But I'm certainly willing to look into the possibility that doing the on my own, my way, and maintain control over my work just might be the best thing that ever happened.
The industry is changing and writers now have more choices on how they wish to have their work put before the reading public. It's a crazy new world. Take the bull by the horn, or get off on a side street to a safer spot.
Not everyone is going to make it. You surely won't if you don't even try.