In Part 2: Building Your Career on Kindle, the Published Jessica Faust makes valid points, both pro and con, that every author should include in the decision whether or not to take the E-Publish route.
I think the point should be made about the supply side of the market. Imagine a million books hit the E-book market tommorrow. How will the consumer shop that new market?
In a sea of unknown names, they will default to names known from those they have purchased in print. Jessica's point that e-book sales will become a barometer by which print publishers may choose titles from the e-book ranks, is not just a prediction, it will be fact. Who could blame them?
What I believe may happen is that there will be a huge rush to e-publish by unpublished authors (more than now) when upload issues to e-publishing venues are sorted out. Those that have the money to fund private marketing for their work will succeed, hiding potentially great books forever behind e-sales numbers that don't match their wealthier bretheren.
There is a VERY real possibility that e-publishing will strip away the fairness that the pre-published author actually has at the moment. An author, now, can be penniless and have a shot at being discovered.
New authors may rush to this new e-world bookshelf without thought of what may happen down the road. I don't believe, at this point, authors are looking far enough down that road. What's worse, I know authors are not participating in the debate nearly enough.
I don't blame Amazon, or any company, for finding and exploring the e-book marketplace. They saw dollar signs in the opportunity and pursued it. Fair enough. Yet they need to pay greater heed to the importance of their business to the world of literature and the damage possible. I honestly don't think they look at books with the same loving eye as an author, or even avid reader. This has to change. If they want the mantle as publisher to the world, buy a few of the great publishing houses, and place them in charge of getting things right.
Are we, as authors, going to let this incredibly important moment in the history of literature pass by without giving input? If so, we will be responsible for, and be labeled as, the generation that damaged the written word.