There was some discussion in one of the peacegirl threads about self-publishing via the Internet. I really don't know anything about it, partly because I am constitutionally allergic to anything having to do with "business models," "capitalism," and the like. My eyes tend to glaze over at discussions of business.
I have, however, written two novels, and I'm currently working on a third. I've also published nine short stories in small magazines. I'm also going to write another novel, a jape about a crackpot thinker entitled "Atlas's Meatballs," with thanks to naturalist.atheist for the title.
Can anyone give me a short tutorial on how all this e-publishing stuff works? What does it mean to put your work on Kindle? How does it differ from traditional publishing, aside from the obvious technological differences? Is there really no longer any reason to approach a traditional publishing house with your work, if you can Kindle it? How does one profit from this medium? What about PR?
If e-publishing is the way to go, why do traditional publishing houses exist at all? Is it because they have the resources to promote your work far beyond what can be done on the Internet, where one can only hope that one's work goes viral?
The traditional, major publishing houses are as unapproachable as God, requiring an agent (parasite) to hawk your work to them before they will even consider it; and ever greater numbers of agents will only accept potential manuscripts from people who have been referred to them. So the novice novelist is twice shut out, first from directly approaching major publishers who require your work to be agented, and then by the agents, who will not consider your work unless someone they know refers it to them.
There are also small, independent publishing houses that are much more approachable, requiring no agent (parasite) to forward your work to them. But "small" also means far fewer resources, and with the advent of Kindle et al, is it really necessary to deal with either major publishers or indy publishers? What are the upsides/downsides to e-publishing, if anyone knows? How does all this new stuff work, exactly? Does anyone have any experience with it?
Thanks in advance for any insight.