A reader writes:

My first book was just published this summer, by an indie house called Sourcebooks. My experience seems drastically different from you and your readers' by comparison.

I had an editor who read through every page and had lovingly smart notes, a copyeditor, a proofreader, and in the end, the book wouldn't be released for production until I proofed the galleys. My book was sold to B&N and Borders before there was a cover, on the strength of two essays and a sales pitch.

It appears that selling to an independent is better for the writer, since the publisher has far more at stake in making sure the book is successful. The advances are smaller, definitely, but from what I've read and heard, there's more respect given to the author. I wasn't treated like a widget, I was treated like a partner.

I guess that's the free market of it. The Big Boys can pay, but you risk being treated like a mule and perhaps seeing your work mangled. The Little Guys can't quite pay the big bucks yet, but they treat authors like gold. Plus, they'll take on some of the "riskier" gems that the major publishers toss in the slush pile. The readers win by having these books available to purchase. This whole experience has been something I'll never forget, for all the right reasons.

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