Some additional context:
-I had an agent for a year and a half, had my book shopped around to publishers, but no editor “fell in love with it.” Too bad for me, right?
-Those two years where no book readers had access to my work (mid-2009-mid-2011) didn’t have to be my fate forever. The gatekeeping process has crumbled, and that’s where Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader outlets comes in. The book I wrote this year, “The Book of Awful” is available at all those outlets; it’s a chance for me to let readers decide, and so far it’s been worth it. I’d say about 20% of the book was featured on the blog at some point or another; it was a great testing ground which eventually led to the inspiration for writing the full book.
-I’ve also now re-written a lot of blog posts from 2009, packaged them up as two sets of small memoirs, and am waiting for them to go free on Amazon (at 99 cents now, but I’m not advertising that price as I want it to go free). You can however make things free immediately on Smashwords, which distributes books to all other e-book retailers. Hopefully my memoirs will go free on Amazon soon (via price match with iBooks), as authors can enjoy thousands of downloads a week when their stuff goes free there. The free stuff is a great way for people to find your writing, like what they see, then maybe consider buying some of your other work that’s for sale.
-In terms of pricing on Amazon; I have no issues switching the price between $2.99, $.99 and $1.99, and it gets executed within 24 hours. The key is that I never put my work on sale at Smashwords, which would then discount to other e-retailers (i.e. Barnes & Noble); if I always leave it at $2.99 there, I can easily fiddle with the price on Amazon, with no worry of price-match issues.
-In terms of the snobs (oh the snobs!), I think it comes down to people who are set in their ways and who fear change. I’m sure I’d be upset too, if I had to jump through a million hoops to get published the traditional way, only to find that now anyone can publish within 24 hours. I’m also sure that 95% of the 700,000+ books on Kindle will never achieve mainstream success (but how many big publishers rely on their small list of “bestsellers” for the majority of their profits, whereas the rest of their authors achieve limited success?). And yes, without gatekeepers, a lot of what get’s published is crap; but hey, even WITH gatekeepers, a lot of what gets published is crap. According to who you’re asking. All art is subjective, after all. What you’ll find is that readers are pretty good gatekeepers themselves; they can sample any book on their Kindle for free before deciding to buy it, and if they still buy it and hate it, that’s what reviews are for. And of course being on your own means you have to self-promote (blog tours, review requests etc), but is that much different from the traditional way? I mean after the initial book launch and first six weeks, how much is the publisher doing to advertise your one book? You have to work hard in both scenarios.
And as some final additional context, re: snobs, this blog of a successful e-published author often talks about the changing world of publishing; it’s really interesting stuff: http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/
I’d also recommend lurking around in the Kindle Writer’s Cafe for a while, where self-published authors discuss their successes, questions, fears, challenges, results, etc! http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html ; this thread in particular calls out authors who sold over 1,000 ebooks in just one month: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,77952.0.html
As for me, I have two more books coming out before the end of the year, and it’s a very exciting feeling; even if my audience is small at least I can reach them, and that may have never been possible in the old world. In terms of blogging, I’ve blogged since 2007, so my blogs are now more of an archival playground for ideas I may want to develop in the future---and the future for me is making my work available on Amazon and beyond! :-)
If you have any other questions and you’re on twitter feel free to contact me there: http://twitter.com/romimoondi
Wishing you all success, whether in blog, ebook or print format! :-)