Well, it's raged on all week. Nothing seems to polarise the writing community like self-publishing. But here's a poser:
This is a fictional scenario but it could describe many wannabes (including me!).
Supposing Jill has been writing for twenty years. She has done a couple of writing courses, read loads of books on the subject, had a few articles and short stories published over the years. But for the last five years she's devoted all her spare time and energy to getting her novel published.
She's tried everything. Writers' groups, peer review sites, endless redrafts and editing. She has sought advice from any and all published authors she encounters. And she has sent her sample chapters to every publisher and agent in the WAYB, and even the dodgy ones (well, you get desperate eventually). But all she has to show for it is a heap of rejection letters.
One morning she wakes up and looks in the mirror and thinks "I can't go on with this any more." She promised herself many years ago that one day she would see her name on the cover of a paperback and she's damn well going to make it happen. She picks up the flier that fell out of her latest writers' journal and dials the number of a self-publishing company.
The question is, can you blame her?
I've heard a lot of argument for and against self publishing this week, and I've found it very helpful in showing me the lie of this alien publishing land. But faced with the desperation of someone who just can't get a publishing deal, how can anyone condemn it?