It seems that all the major houses have fired their Literary Fiction editors. Every book smelling of art gets shoved into one of the newly invented genres — ChicLit, GuyLit, IndieBook, GenderBending — and if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t sell. Meanwhile, readers think “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” stories are what’s best in fiction because they top the best seller lists.
On the other side of the HOUSE spectrum are the Little Presses. They are the last bastion of quality literature, but some have been infected by the corporate-think virus: “We don’t accept any unsolicited manuscripts that are not represented by an agent.” Huh?
What’s a writer to do? Self publish. Use the Web to advertise. Take the system to task and make your own way. Electronic media and Print-on-Demand technology, along with viable contracts offered by such publishers, makes the effort worth while, while no money comes out of my pocket. In fact, since publishers don’t spend money on adveritising/marketing of anyone below the mid-list level author (those selling tens of thousands of copies, or more), authors are left in the wilderness anyway.
What the publishing houses have had over small houses and POD (back a ways) was distribution. That is changing, and will get more advantageous for the Hard-to-Fit authors.
Sounds like fun.