I know some very happily self-published authors. No agent, editor or publisher telling them what they can or can't do, what needs to be cut, what needs to be changed or how many pages they can or can't have for acknowledgments. All the money from sales is theirs to have and the success or failure of a book rests squarely upon their shoulders (and, more importantly, defining what they would call a success or failure).
With the rise in self-pubbed works, the future of publishing is changing and where it will land is anyone's guess.
But what I really want to know is: what possesses an author to self-publish?
Oh, I know there are plenty of valid reasons to do so. There are those that have queried and queried with nary a bite and there those that never got past partials and fulls and I know of some that were published, dropped and decided to self-publish said dropped book. There are those that are just happy to write and hope others might enjoy reading unknown authors enough to buy it and like it, too. But what about the (I hate to say it because we all start somewhere) bad writer? I suppose if you knew you were a bad writer you wouldn't self-publish but it's amazing how many still manage to do it, presumably because they simply don't know they are bad.
And please don't confuse the issue, I'm not saying that all self-pubbed books are badly written. Not by a long shot. I'm only saying that with the rise in self-publishing, anyone is able to do it. Like the guy/gal who decided that their New Year's resolution should be to start, finish and publish a book in one year. Sure, some succeed beautifully, but the majority don't. That same guy/gal poured lots of love, time and energy into getting it done. Love, time and energy, I might add, that may have been better served learning how to write. Yanno, like basic grammar and punctuation, never mind the craft as an art form.
I've perused the self-published titles and while some of them look like they are well written, a large portion could have used the benefit of research on how to write, a critique or two or twenty, and an editor. Do they simply not know? How can they not know?
There are many fine authors that go undiscovered and rejected yearly. I suppose knowing if you are one of those fine authors isn't easy, what with all the rejections. But wouldn't you know if you weren't at least passable if you were going to self-publish?
I certainly don't think that anyone should be denied the right to self-publish, but I definitely reserve the right to not read it and I can't help feeling bad for the author every time I see one of these books floating around. Readers are just as harsh critics as agents and editors. If they think ridicule in an agency is bad, ridicule from the entire known web-verse isn't likely to be any better. Is it bravery to put yourself out there like that or is it just (as Miss Snark used to say) nitwittery?