It seems to me that self-publishing has an awful reputation in the literary community. I think the view is that if you’re not good enough to get picked up by a major magazine or publishing house, then you’re just not worth reading.
However, we see more and more in other arts that self-publishing and promoting can break the industry barrier. And, in my opinion, the independently funded and promoted works in many ways exceed the quality of the mainstream channels.
Independent film making has taken off quite well in the past few years. Decades, probably, but I honestly don’t track the film industry. We also see more and more in the music industry that new bands break into the scene not by being ‘discovered’, but by making their art available and letting the public decide. They create the demand, and then the industry comes in later to pick them up and give them the deals they probably should have been able to get from the first.
Blogging seems to be an equivilent in the writing industry. I think we see now where more and more publishing houses are picking up popular bloggers and either publishing compilations of their blogs or offering them book deals. However, I don’t see many bloggers spitting out works of fiction or poetry.
I think it’s time for the fiction and poetry writers of the world to take those chances. There are printers who are more than happy to print anything you can afford. There are also now more and more ways of creating electronic versions of works.
So - my goal for now is to distribute as much of my work as possible. I want it out in the public eye. And if it really is worth reading, then it’ll get around. If it’s not, then I’ll keep producing and trying to make things that are worth reading.