There is a lot of rhetoric in the publishing world these days. There probably always is, but it's easy to focus on the now and the fact that the current industry has more drama than a middle school girl's locker room.
If you are new to publishing (and possibly if you've been around forever) it can be confusing to wade through these trouble waters and get an idea of what is best for you and your career. So I have two pieces of advice today for writers at all stages of their career to help understand all that's going on.
Rule #1: Everyone has an agenda
Every single person has an agenda and remembering that can make it easier to put opinions into perspective. The author decrying the devaluation of books by self-publishers has an agenda. The Indie press claiming that publishers are only good for taking advantage of writers has an agenda.
Shoot, even I have an agenda! The more informed authors are about the industry the more realistic expectations they have when they get to me and the better queries they will write. This makes my job easier. Also, the bigger my platform, the more writers know about me and the more talented writers I have to pick from in finding more clients.
Everyone has an agenda. That doesn't mean you should automatically dismiss everything you read. But it does mean you shouldn't blindly believe it all either.
Rule #2: Success does not depend on failure
Just like an author can succeed without shoving down and stepping on other authors, so can all the publishing businesses. That's why I always get antsy when professionals start throwing dirt at each other. For example, a small indie publisher should be able to draw talented writers to their press without the need to trash traditional publishing. On the same lines, a traditional publisher should be able to push their authors' books without belittle the efforts of self-publishers.
When a "professional" talks more about how they are different and better than the other guys than what they can do for you as an author, run! Run quickly in the other direction and don't look back.
There is room in this industry for everyone and there is no One True Path to book success. Everyone will do something a little different and your mileage may vary. Don't let anyone else tell you that the road you're walking is going in the wrong direction. Stay your course and all those other road/travel/destination cliches.
There is a ton of information out there and I truly believe the online writing community is an amazing blessing to authors working toward joining the world of professional publishing. But, like everything else, the plethora of info can be dangerous if not tempered with a little common sense. Take it all with a grain of salt and you'll be doing fine.
My monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow and I'll be asking you guys to weigh in on something kinda cool coming up. So if you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for? Plus, you'll get a free copy of my DIY Blog Tour guidebook. I call that a win-win.