|What would they think of self-publishing?|
I think this new openness is a good thing because it means authors (and the agents/editors who help them) have more options than ever before.
It's also a bad thing. Why do I say that? Because as a still developing writer, the temptation to put my work out there is pretty constant... and I'm not ready. And even if/when I do feel my work is ready for wide readership, there are still plenty of market considerations (complexities) that I don't fully grasp.
Most agents come to agenting through an internship or apprenticeship model, learning the ins and outs of contracts and marketing from more experienced agents. While this does perpetuate a sameness in the traditional publishing world that may block out innovative ideas, it's also probably the best possible way for the reins to pass hands in the publishing industry.
Like it or not, literary agents still know a lot more than the average author about publishing rights, international publishing, and even marketing (though authors are taking on more marketing responsibilities through social networking). And if you ever want to go from self-publishing into traditional publishing (which I think most of the authors I know still do), an agent is still a really handy team member to have.
These factors considered, I'm not against self-publishing at all. I know authors can study up on these complexities and become experts in their own rite. And amazon makes it so freaking easy to just upload your novel and start selling it for less than a dollar. It seems like you don't even need all that stuffy publishing industry knowledge.
In fact, I've considered createspace.com as a way to make a quick buck. But I didn't consider it for very long. See, after looking at the steps involved, I realized I'm still not ready.
I'm not ready to fork out the money for a professional editor and a professional cover artist. I'm not ready to take on all the responsibility for selling my own work. I've tried selling a product in the past and I sucked at it. If the future is me having to stand on a corner and say, "Read my book, you'll love it," I'm pretty much screwed. Yeah, there's blogging, and that's a little different from the street corner approach. :) But still, self-marketing is much easier for me to imagine if I'm backed by a traditional publisher and a supportive agent who all want me to succeed, too.
So that's how I feel about me self-publishing. As far as you self-publishing, I say YOU GO, GIRL! or GUY! I've read two (yeah, that's it so far) incredible, polished, riveting self-published novels. They were put out by experienced authors, who both have agents, and are both still working toward traditional publishing success as well. They're happy with their choice. Meanwhile, their books are doing great! Because they're great books. They took their time. They did it right. And that rocks.
Are your feelings on this topic as convoluted as mine?
Check out others on the blog chain: Kate before me, and Michelle H. up next. Previously, we heard from Sandra and Matt on this super fun topic!
p.s. It's also my day to blog at Operation Awesome and I'm taking some funny/embarrassing stuff from my WriteOnCon forums experience to talk about world-building: No Really. Literally.