In the old days if you wanted to publish your book you had very limited choices. You could self-publish, which was expensive and without a distribution network had very little potential of making any real money, and was a real option for only a very few. The second option was to be published with a traditional publisher. I remember sending query letters and sample chapters to publisher after publisher in hopes of getting my work read. Rejection letter after rejection letter followed. Many with the same message, get an agent and we will consider your work. I sent dozens of letters to agents, only to be told to get a few things published and they would consider representing you. Occasionally a new writer would weave their way through this obstacle course, but a great many very good writers were left with no avenue by which to present their work.
Then came the digital age, the age of the eBook. Now anyone can publish their book as an eBook and have it available at major retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Several have gone on to sell over a million books. This new ability threw open the doors to the publishing world and at least in the area of eBooks, the guards, aka editors, were cast aside. Without the controls and experience of these editors, would chaos reign? Have the inmates overtake the asylum?
Has this new freedom allowed sub-standard books to be published? Certainly. Has this new avenue allowed otherwise ignored quality writers to find an audience? Absolutely. Has this new freedom resulted in the overall quality of books in the marketplace being degraded? This is debatable and many feel the jury remains out.
What must be remembered is even before this new freedom came about, a great many bad books were published. There is no justification in blaming the indie-author/publisher for bad books being in the marketplace. The people who are truly to blame are the lazy writers, editors and others who are not willing to do what it takes to produce a quality book. An indie-author has the resources and tools available to produce a quality book either on their own, or with the help of other professionals. It is in fact, a great injustice to group all indie-authors together as inferior, just as it is improper to raise all writers published in a more traditional manner as being more talented or deserving of an audience.
Some would have retailers group all indie-authors together, separate from the ‘real’ writers. In this way they could avoid mistakenly purchasing an inferior book. Should this separation take place many quality writers could miss the opportunity to have the audience they deserve. It could also deny the reader the opportunity to discover a new favorite author. New, young or independent should never be considered synonymous with inferior.
Indie-writers must be certain to not only write a great story, but to package that story in a professional manner. Properly edited, proof-read, with a quality cover and honest information and reviews. For the indie-authors who are willing to do this, an audience awaits. For those who want to rush their book to market, or wish to take the easy and cheap road, the trail leads only to failure and frustration. This has been, and always will be the case regardless of which avenue of publishing you pursue. A quality book will find a home, and eventually an audience. Be certain to be professional and diligent in its preparation and presentation. Do this, show patience, and everything will eventually fall into place. Becoming a good writer, a best selling writer is not an event, it is a process you must be willing to work at each and every day.