I was at a writer’s conference last weekend in Mesa Arizona and one of the visiting agents on a panel said that self-published books were the new slush pile. She further went on to make us feel hopeless by telling us the editors commonly reject ninety eight percent of what is submittedJ
Let me start by saying that there are excellent indie books and fantastic traditionally published books. Likewise, there are traditionally published books that I’ve read that I wondered how in the world they got past the gatekeeper with such shoddy work and of course there is unedited and poorly written self-published books.
Keeping all of this in mind, if the agent at the conference was correct, then we, the readers of indie books are the filters and really, the traditional publishers are set up. Someone spends their time and money to publish a book and if they are smart, market the heck out it and all the traditional publishers have to do is sit back and wait for people’s reaction.
The problem I see with this ideology is that learning about the dynamic publishing world is a long faltering process. I do believe you can put out a top notch self-published work, but you have to pay for high quality editing, covers and of course have a litany of truly useful beta readers at your disposal. Once it is published, you must somehow transform into a marketing guru…oh and write your next book on the side.
In the end, I think big publishers are going to grab onto talent wherever they find it. After all, they are in business to make money. Guess that means no matter what route we take to publish, we better be pretty darn amazing storytellers. For those of you out there working on your first great novel, I hope the best of luck for you!