Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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Just a few remarks. First off, I just want to make clear that I'm excited about what's going on in self-publishing and I hope that it emerges as a force that undermines mainstream publishers.

With that said, though, I still think the editor performs an essential function. Not the editors we have now, mind you--they're overworked and forced to focus more on money than quality. I'm talking about an editor who will be able to wrok with a few authors to get the best book available. This is something that's been going on for decades, and I hope it continues.

Also, I think that once self-publishing really takes off, there will be anarchy. 185,000 books published per year? Self-publishing will make that figure tiny. We'll need some way to figure out the good from the bad. I think bloggers and sales figures could emerge as two ways of separating the good from the bad. As to whether that's better than what we have right now (sales figures and acquisitions editors at publishing houses), I can't say.

Also, I think that once some self-publishers began to emerge with several prominent authors who sold lots of books, they would immediately garner more prestige. I don't think it's too far off to think that eventually these self-publishers would turn into something resembling current publishers.

Lastly, for all we demean them, mainstream publishers do a lot. First off, I haven't yet seen a self-published book that looked nearly as professional as something done by a traditional publisher (mainstream or indie). Also, there's questions of warehousing, distribution, marketing, copyediting, and proofreading. Some of these could eventually be compensated for with a certain amount of technology, but I think a lot would be lost.

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