If I had a fiver for every time I had read a blog post about the changing landscape of the publishing industry, I'd be making more money than JA Konrath :p Everyone is saying something different - that print is becoming a subsidiary right, that signing a traditional publishing deal is a bad move financially, that no one beats traditional publishing for getting books out there. In short, to quote the wonderful William Goldman's maxim for working in Hollywood - Nobody knows anything.
Not right now. In time, I'm sure we will. But at the moment, as an unpublished writer trying to decide on the next step, there are so many conflicting points of view out there that it can feel a bit overwhelming.
But you know what else? It's exciting.
This is an exciting time to be a creative person. The way we appreciate art is changing. I'm a paper obsessive (hint: check out my blog header) and I'm doing most of my reading on a Kindle now. I'm complaining that most mp3 players don't meet my needs, which are suddenly far more complex than they were when I used to carry a Walkman AND a Discman everywhere because my music collection was in two formats.
More writers can get their books out there. In some cases, that's a bad thing - but I can choose not to read books I think are crap. In other cases, it's great. If you've written a niche book, or you can't find a traditional home for it, you can still get it out there.
Yes, it has been well documented that you have to work your arse off to make a success of that. But I'm not seeing how this is different to any other kind of art, which has never been a get-rich-quick scheme.
It's scary, it's changing all the time and it's hard to get enough of a handle on what's happening to make good decisions. But it is exciting to be working in a time of change rather than a time of stagnation.