For certain clients, Mr. Harris said, self-publishing “returns a degree of control to authors who have been frustrated about how their ideas for marketing and publicity fare at traditional publishers.” Both Mr. Harris and [David] Mamet said that the big publishers focused mostly on blockbuster books and fell short on other titles — by publishing too few copies, for instance, or limiting advertising to only a short period after a book was released.Mamet, who's self-publishing his next book (a novella and 2 short stories "about war"), said:
“Basically I am doing this because I am a curmudgeon... and because publishing is like Hollywood — nobody ever does the marketing they promise.”Traditional publishing may be bad, but that doesn't mean self-publishing will be better. Have you got some unpublished "high-end literary fiction" lying around? Do you have any idea how much of that sort of thing there is washing around on the hard drives of the world's self-appointed geniuses? What if it were all suddenly available on websites like Amazon?
You already know David Mamet. He got the NYT to write an article about the book he's self publishing next week. Here's a picture of him gesticulating (perhaps "about war"). It's got a caption telling us he's Pulitzer Prize-winning. He doesn't like the traditional publisher's marketing, and look how well he's doing his own marketing. I'm sure he'll do just fine.
And so will other people who can leverage publicity. And writers in popular genres like romance and sci-fi may succeed. But high-end literary fiction? Think you can attract the readers of that kind of material without a brand like Farrar Straus & Giroux attached? It's "high-end" and "literary" because high-end literary experts have done the filtering. Without that, all you have is pretension from an earnest soul who is self-publishing. How do you get that absurdly clunky vehicle going?