In a column in Salon titled "When anyone can be a published author, how do you find something good to read in a brave new self-published world?," Laura Miller wrote, "What happens once the self-publishing revolution really gets going, when all of those previously rejected manuscripts hit the marketplace, en masse, in print and e-book form, swelling the ranks of 99-cent Kindle and iBook offerings by the millions? Is the public prepared to meet the slush pile?
Laura is very wrong to assume that all or most or many self-pubbed books were previously rejected by traditional publishers. Many self-pubbers -- including yours truly -- PREFER to self-publish, but Miller and her teammates and cheerleaders just don't get it.
I've had books published by traditional publishers (including Doubleday) but I'm much happier with the quality, control and income I get when I publish my own work.
It's also FUN.
I enjoy playing with various cover concepts and title variations. I like to choose editors, designers and photographs. I'm weird enough to think it's fun to format the pages inside my books. I realize that this is not fun for everyone, but I do it out of choice, not desperation.
And as for the implied impeccable taste of the gatekeepers who work for the giants in the book business, their fallibility is demonstrated every day. Look no farther than the mountains of formerly-loved non-hits on the buck-a-book tables, or bestseller lists displaying titles allegedly written by (gasp) Sarah Palin or the latest 15-year-old anorexic, abused and soon-to-be detoxed media darling.
Try not to puke when you read this: Simon and Schuster apparently paid $2 million for the autobiography of Lindsay Lohan in 2008 (still not published), and offered a multi-book deal to Hillary Duff. Tell the Pullitzer people to get ready.
I confess that I probably would be willing to read the life story of Amy Winehouse -- but I doubt that she could sit still and concentrate long enough to write more than a few paragraphs.