I was reading a thread in a forum a while ago that was basically several traditionally published authors whining about how independent published authors' books should be separated from traditionally published authors' books in the searches and 'suggested' sections. I personally don't have a particular problem with the idea because I believe that those who would judge a book based on which method was used to publish it alone still will and those that don't still won't, so in sales it probably wouldn't have much impact. Though I can see how it could be bad, too. However, their main point was how most indie published books are inferior in content, spelling/grammar, and/or cover art and how you can usually pick out an indie book just from that. As an independently published author, I have to roll my eyes at such ankle biting. To me it comes across as immature and unprofessional.
I've seen both indie and traditionally published books with spelling/grammar errors, poorly written stories, and/or unimpressive covers. I, as well as many other people I'm sure, be they indie or traditional authors or the everyday reader, have read a traditionally published book and thought to myself "I can write better than this, and this got published!" There are good indie publishers out there. Take Amanda Hocking for example. She started out as an indie writer and while she is now a traditionally published author, she obviously worked hard to get where she is. Some people have even frowned on her choice to become a traditionally published author, but all I can say is kudos to her for going with what she thought was best for her. Even before she became traditionally published, she put out good books with good covers. I've personally read 8 of her 11 currently available books and have enjoyed every one, the others I just haven't gotten to reading yet and will likely enjoy those as well. Heck, even my father in law is enjoying her Hollowland novel. In fact I can't seem to stop him from telling me what's going on in the book before I can read it (I'm just glad that I'm the kind of person that a book/movie isn't ruined for me when that happens). I think you've got yourself another fan Amanda! As an indie writer (I don't think I've had the chance to read one of her books since she became traditionally published, so I can't speak of those) were her books perfect and error free? No, but I can't honestly say that of even my all-time favorite author either, who is traditionally published and whose books I cry over when they end because there isn't more. Sorry, Dean Koontz, but it's true that I've found minor errors. (Please note that I don't say any of this because I personally know these authors, because I don't, I just genuinely enjoy their work.)
In my personal opinion there is no right or wrong way to publish. There are pros and cons to both methods of publishing. The main reason I chose to publish independently is because I didn't want to go through the potentially time consuming process of sending my manuscript to several different traditional publishing agencies and hope that someone will take my book on. Not when I could simply put my book up for sale and let the consumers decide whether it's what they want to read. Not that I think I couldn't get traditionally published, but I realize that even some (if not most) of the best selling books were rejected by publishing agencies many times before they were finally accepted, often just because the book happened to be in a style/genre/etc that the publishing agency wasn't currently looking for at the time. Another reason is because I make more per book through independent publishing. Yes, I write to make money. I know there are a lot of people who have a problem with that, but honestly writing isn't just my lifelong dream, it's my job and I treat it as such. I've spent as much as 12 hours a day writing. Believe you me, writing can be work. I would never expect anyone to buy my book if I was willing to throw out just any old crud in hopes of making a buck, which sadly some people are (I don't call them authors because I think you should have to actually care about what you're writing to call yourself an author), again both indie and traditional. I try my best to make sure that I'm putting out quality. I honestly love telling stories and have dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a little kid.
Will I ever become a traditionally published author? Maybe, if the offer was right, but until then I'm perfectly happy being an indie. Though I probably will never give up my e-book rights.
I guess the main point of today's rant is, give an indie book a chance if you haven't already. You might be surprised at how good some of them are and please don't assume that just because a book was traditionally published that it's a good book, or you might be equally surprised. Also, if you are one of the authors who takes the time to cut the legs out from other authors by ankle biting and nonconstructive criticism, I implore you, stop wasting valuable time doing so and get back to what you supposedly do best, writing books. Live and let live people! If you've managed to read this far and haven't fallen asleep or aren't bored to tears, I applaud you.