The digital download of my unabridged audiobook, Ghost Notes, just came out at Amazon! Take a gander. Read eloquently by voice actor James Lorenz, this is the audio version of my second novel, the same one that just won PODBRAM's Best Contemporary Fiction Award of 2009. You can sample the audio tracks here.
From my poll last week, it looks like most agree that there's nothing inherently vain about any of the paths chosen by our three writers--or they're all vain in the way all writers are vain. One can only imagine what the results might've been if the same poll had been conducted a decade ago, but I'm guessing Subsidy Sam--or "Vanity Vince," as he might have been dubbed--would've fared much worse.
For me, the word "vanity" is greatly overused to describe various kinds of writing and publishing in 2010. Yes, there are vanity presses that have earned that moniker, but I think the professional writer has to ignore the term and focus on the business of what she's doing. Publishing is a business, and if you want to be a pro, concentrate on making pro decisions (better product, fewer dollars, more audience). Do that, and whether you're vain or not will take care of itself.
I've pursued each of the avenues of Novelist Nick, Lit Mag Lucy and Subsidy Sam, and I'm thankful there are so many possibilities in the 21st Century for a writer to get a foothold. Frankly, we need all the avenues we can get.
I used to hope that print-on-demand technology and ebooks would make self-publishing a kind of minor leagues of writing: semi-pros working diligently in the field and hoping one day for the big "call-up." I think they're slowly becoming that. The problem for the professional writer is that these avenues to print are not only becoming the minor leagues of publishing but also the high school leagues, the beer leagues, the pony leagues, Little League, and the pick-up game at the local park. Self-publishing is available to anyone who can string enough words together and has a credit card in his pocket. And guess what? Each of those books gets an Amazon page, just like yours.
Still, the way to distinguish your work from others' isn't to disparage those who are giving publishing a try at some tier other than yours. Do the Yankees disparage the local Little League? Of course not. Why? Because the Yankees know that the local Little League is where people learn the rules--and the beauty--of baseball.
Not only that, but they'd be disparaging their market.
The more people who know and understand good publishing, the bigger the market for quality work, no matter how it's published.
See you at the ball game.
Yours in laying down the law,
Try Ghost Notes, the award-winning novel, for just $5.