I've seen a lot of talk lately about the virtues of self publishing. Writers are making persuasive arguments about publishing their own work. And it certainly seems like many of them are doing quite well at it.

The whole Hachette/Amazon dispute adds considerable fuel to the fire. Why get caught up in that mess? The conspiracy nut in me wonders if the whole thing isn't a charade to inspire more writers to go directly to Amazon with their works and eliminate the middle man.

How does this affect the readers?

For me, it is hard to justify spending my hard won money on an untested writer who has chosen to publishe his or her own work. Work that, let's face it, in most cases would not be accepted by any editor. Has not been looked over by professional proofreaders.

There are exceptions, of course.

Writers who have proven themselves by working with traditional publishers and editors, and are taking their careers into their own hands, for one. I can dig that.

But what of the new writers who publishe through Createspace or other independent means? How do I distinguish the good from the bad?

Reviews? Sure, they can help, and there are trustworthy reviewers out there. On the other hand, anyone with a Blog can call themselves a reviewer. Just like Yours Truly.

Call me a cynic, but reviews can be bought and paid for. Just like you've probably heard about happening with Amazon customer reviews.

There is also a big buddy system going on. In the name of support, writers and readers endlessly praise their friends and associates.

The ease of self publishing might be a boon to writers, but on the other side of the coin, it can be a bane to readers. Too much to choose from and too much of it is unworthy of our time and money. Time especially, since so many are willing to give their work away for nothing or next to nothing.

I won't say that I will never try out new writers who has chosen to release their own fiction. It will be a rare event for me, though. For now, I will continue to mostly focus on writers whose work has been proven worthy enough to have been released by established publishing houses.

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