V.P. Spoken Books Publishing, Dave Giorgio, January 10, 2011:
Book publishing has long been an industry controlled primarily by book publishers. These publishers have mostly taken books from agents they trust, evaluated them, and made a decision whether or not to go forward with that book.
That particular system was not flawless, but it had merits based on a degree of selectiveness applied to each book. After all, in that model, the publisher would be putting a lot of money behind the book and expect no less than a fair degree of sales in order to recoup its investment.
But things changed a decade or so ago. The Internet, digital publishing, and a bevy of new publishers came onto the scene allowing an author to publish a book without any of the traditional process.
Whether this is good or bad depends on your perspective. If you believe that there should be a gate-keeping process in place for books and authors, then you might find this to be a negative. If you value the freedom the new technology offers, then you'll see it as a positive.
But one thing remains clear: If you self publish your book, no one else will stop you from being either great or terrible. It is truly on the author to be as demanding of his or herself as necessary to create the best possible book. No one else is going to step in and tell you that your plot needs work, or the editing is flawed, or that your book is too long. These are all things you must decide for yourself.
It is for this reason that publishers in the "self publishing" industry have begun to offer editing services to authors. In fact, the company that I work for, Infinity Publishing, now has editing offerings that cover grammar and punctuation, as well as advanced editing processes that dig deep into the writing on a conceptual and structural level.
It's a wonderful time to be a writer, as the door has been opened for any author with a book in hand. In the movie “Spider Man”, the lead character, Peter Parker, is told by his dying uncle that ‘with great power comes great responsibility.” I think that's also marvelous advice for any of us pursing writing on a commercial level.