Has everyone seen this: http://gu.com/p/35n8m/tw ? It's Anthony Horowitz on publishers - do we need them or not. It's really funny, but serious, too. When it starts, you feel he's turned against traditional publishers, but as it goes on you realise he hasn't, and he points out the value of said trad publishers. He also quotes from a "bestselling" self pubbed ebook, changing the names of the characters - and the gender of one. And I recognised it. After having this title thrust under my nose everywhere (not by the author, who follows me on Twitter) but amazon and general buzz, I decided I'd try a sample. I'm glad I didn't buy it.
The piece he quotes isn't actually bad, but he points out what an editor would do with it and it's a lesson to us all.Not that I'm saying anything against those of us who self pub - Susan Alison does an excellent job, and so, I'm sure, do many others, and the backlists everyone puts up have already had a thorough going over - but it does raise a point.
Also, despite authors having to be fairly hands-on with marketing and promotion these days, publishers do take a lot of the responsibility and, in the case of print books, do all that complicated stuff of distribution.
As someone who hates editing (mainly because I hate reading my own stuff) I'm glad someone else does it for me and points out all the crap mistakes (although some still get through). On the other hand, increased percentages are tempting, as is control over pricing. And for someone who has missed out on a traditional deal because they don't fit the preconceived ideas for their genre, it's an excellent way to prove that sometimes, the industry isn't always right.
Meanwhile, back at the coalface, Murder by Magic is treacling on. Poor Libby, Fran and Ben are being forced into even more ridiculous scenarios, which will hopefully be resolved in time for you to buy it June!