Look, there is room for everyone. If you have this desire to self-publish then go for it! No one is stopping you!
I think what a lot of these authors are missing in their argument is that not everyone wants to take this approach. Not everyone has the knowledge of the business. Not everyone has an already built in following from their careers in traditional publishing. And yes, when we talk money, not everyone has the cash to pay for: an outside editor, a cover artist, a marketing manager... and so forth.
When I talked to my author about this, it was interesting to hear a few facts that might have been missed by those in the audience:
- The speaker WAS previously published and already had a following.
- The author was spending a lot of her own money to take care of things normally covered by a publisher.
- The author was spending close to 100 hours a week on the career just to keep it afloat.
For myself, I have always thought of this like those people who decide to sell their home on their own vs. those who want to use a real estate company. If you have the time and the resources, and you understand property law and finances, then go for it. Sell your own house. But you know, there are still people out there who would prefer to leave the selling of their home to those in the business.
Now, does this mean if you sell your home one way or the other you make more money? Absolutely not! Everything is on a case by case basis. Sometimes a person selling a home on their own can indeed make a bigger profit. Sometimes they won't. The issue here is that it all depends on a lot of different variables.
I don't want anyone to think that right now, I am doing everything I can to "save my job as an agent." Nope, that is far from the case. My authors are doing really well!
What I am saying is that if you are a person who wants an agent. If you are a person who wants to take the traditional publishing approach, please don't let those other authors discourage you from taking the approach that works for you. Just remember to really listen to the variables the author is using when they talk of their successes taking that self-pub approach:
- Are they selling their back lists from traditional publishers?
- Are the using this as a supplement to an already existing writing career?
- Are they still bringing in royalties from those traditional publishers?
- How many outside resources are they having to pay (editors, cover artists, etc.) are they having to pay.
...There is room for everyone. You have the permission to take whatever route you want to take with publishing. And just because someone isn't taking YOUR approach, it doesn't make them wrong!
P.S. And Romance Writers of American and other larger publishing groups - Please remember to continue to support those who don't just want to self-pub!