So blame this on Cheryl Smithem. She posted a link to an article about a speech given by author John Green entitled, "Why I'll Never Self-Publsih". She pinged me in the post because she knows I have a few opinions on publishing and self publishing. Not that I am opinionated or anything.
OK, so I went and read it. This was a speech he gave to the ABA, American Booksellers Association, and basically I think he was playing to his audience. Oh, and go read the article / speech before reading the rest of my post or it may not make sense. It may, but I can't promise anything. What follows is the response I wrote to her on Google+.
"On one level I agree with him. A book, any good book, is a team effort. Even if self-published there could be editors, proof-readers, illustrators, PR folk, promoters, vendors, etc… True enough. And there should be. An artist of any sort relies on the input of others. An painter needs someone who creates paint and canvas. Then maybe a gallery and even a publicist. A musician needs someone to create the instrument, to maintain the music hall, to sell tickets, etc…
Now, where the change is coming is that the artist (of whatever genre) can do more and more of that themselves or select their own team. This is what has been happening in the music industry – it doesn't eliminate the need for music companies, but it changes the roles. And give the artist more control – if they want it. If they don't want to take on those tasks, fine. But they lose the control over the way they are done. A pure tradeoff and nothing wrong in either direction. Just a choice.
Where he is wrong is where he says all of the self-publishing stuff is "bullshit". And yes, that is his term. He is already doing a lot of that with his blogs and Twitter and YouTube. A lot of the promotion that used to be completely the field of the publisher he is already doing. But by choice. He just isn't taking on that part of the publishing work that involves the direct mechanical creation of the final product. The book. That is fine, it goes to the tradeoff above and it reflects where he wants to be on the scale.