Over on Terrible Minds not long ago, Chuck Wendig and Joe Konrath (of A Newbie's Guide to Publishing fame) got into a fine old punch-up over whether or not writers should be pursuing traditional publishing contracts. Chuck likes 'em (even says he likes doing work-for-hire) Joe doesn't. And Chuck didn't care for Joe's attitude. Yeah, Joe's famous for his attitude. To tell the truth, I kind of admire it. He can be blunt, but that's Joe, and I take it into account. I actually thought that for Joe he was on his best behavior over at Chuck's place, but he came out swinging, as he does, and many took exception to it.
I think both these guys are brilliant in their own ways, but I come down on Joe's side about the doom that came to legacy publishing. The publishing industry will continue, but I believe smart writers will avoid it until it removes its head from the exit orifice of its digestive system, and that goes triple for agents.
In fact, Joe Konrath is not a wild-eyed, foam-spitting propagandist for self-publishing, but rather for doing what works to get readers and make a living from one's craft. He and Barry Eisler have had some very clear-headed things to say about authors making choices that work for them. It's just that when you run the numbers, traditional publishing doesn't come out on top in the works for me department. Not for Joe and Barry, and not for a whole lot of other writers, from best sellers to has-been midlist nobodies like me.
But Why Would You...
Dean Wesley Smith, one of the leading proponents of author-centered publishing and the strongest voice I know calling out for staying away from agents until the pub industry dust (and ash) settles, is writing a new blog series asking "But why would you..." In the latest as of this post, he asks "But why would you not spend the time to learn indie publishing?" If you're on the fence, read it. I burdened some poor guy with a reply longer than the original post about not putting his eggs in the trad pub basket, but I won't repeat it here, cos...long. If you don't mind long, feel free to go find it.
As for me, I'm hiking the learning curve to formatting books for e-book and paperback, and plan to offer a free short story here and on the 'net next week. Watch this space for "The Bard Effect," originally published in Amazing Stories, back in the 90s when that publication existed.