Here we are in 2011 and there are still traditionally published authors and literary agents squawking about self-publishing, some even claiming--or suggesting--that self-pubbed authors are arrogant because they choose to bypass the traditional publishing "system" and go straight to print. The "pay-to-publish" concept drives those individuals crazy. Why? Mostly because they believe self-pubbed authors (and their books) are actually devaluing literature and threatening the publishing industry by bypassing the system in place. Don't get me wrong, many traditionally published authors (and even agents!) understand that self-publishing is a viable option and it is hard work. Barry Eisler, for instance, recently walked away from a $500,000 deal in order to self-publish. No joke! But the complainers out there, lots of them are self-appointed "quality police," judging self-pubbed work and making insane and unfair generalizations about self-publishing. Ironically...or hypocritically...the Quality Police come off as arrogant (the very thing they accuse self-pubbed authors of being) by basically implying that no one is "really published" unless they've gone the traditional route.
Some authors feel the desire to be validated by a literary agent and/or traditional publishing house, and that's fine. However, many authors in the world don't have that desire. They don't care what agents and traditional publishing houses think. They believe their work is good and publishable, therefore they publish it and allow the readers to do the validating. This does not mean that these authors are arrogant.
The fearful Quality Police keep trying to stigmatize self-publishing. They act like schoolyard bullies by constantly telling the world that indie authors (i.e. self-published authors) aren't cool or talented. That, my friends, is not cool! The Quality Police should really lighten up and trust that the consumers will decide what's good and bad. Bad books exist in both the self-publishing and traditional publishing business models (as do good books). Self-publishing doesn't devalue literature; bad literature does!
So what do you think about all of this? Feel free to let me know...