It wasn’t long ago that the only way an author could succeed was by going the route of traditional publishing (aka legacy publishing). For the past few years, self-publishing (aka indie publishing) has provided another avenue for author success. Barry Eisler suggests that the only thing legacy publishers offer that authors can’t do themselves or outsource is print distribution. An author can hire an editor, a book designer, a cover artist, and anything else needed to produce a book, but there’s no way an individual author can equal the print distribution system of a traditional publisher. However, with the advent of digital publishing, writers don’t need print distribution to be successful.
It isn’t an either/or proposition. Many authors, “hybrid authors,” do both—they have some books with a traditional publisher and self-publish other titles.
Apparently when Barry spoke at a conference and stated what seems self-evident to many of us, he was hit with a lot of unprofessional backlash from people in traditional publishing, especially literary agents. He wrote a post about his experience on Joe Konrath’s blog, and the article has generated an intensive discussion.
I encourage you to read the article and the comments, even though some of the commenters aren’t as polite as my readers are. There are several links to other articles in comments, and I think you will find those interesting, as well. Leave a comment here to let us know how you feel about traditional publishing compared to self-publishing.