Although I am cautious, his story rings true. Other authors have reported similar results, particularly authors who did not get publishing deals.
I have waded through self-published books and, while recognizing some good ideas, have cringed at the style and details. Perhaps Mapes was lucky to have a commercial publisher vet and edit his work (I don't know if this happened, but that seems to be what publishers are for) before he self-published. Nobody can be found here.
Two years ago, the Big Hominid discussed what editors are for. He favors the Grammar-nazis and I have to admit that seeing mis-typed words, even when the meaning is clear, takes me out of the narrative and I need to consciously work out the problem before re-immersing myself.
Stross is an author I have become an admirer of. His 'Laundry Files' series - which is not about dirty clothes, but spies and intelligence agencies in a world with Lovecraftian elder intelligences interfering. Amazon just downloaded his newest book to my Kindle mere hours ago.
At Reddit, he recently answered a lot of questions. I didn't notice this in my first readthrough, but he discusses some of the issues brought up in the article above:
Biggest message: find your customers and sell them what they want to buy. DRM is bad for business. Territorial rights restrictions are bad for business. Amazon are utterly hateful and evil -- they will kill you and establish a monopoly if they can -- but their one redeeming feature is that they're good to customers: so learn from them.He goes into detail about Amazon here.
On writer's block:
Writers block: when I get it, it's because my subconscious spotted that I'd make a huge structural mistake in constructing a novel before my conscious mind became aware of it, and threw on the brakes. So I've learned not to sweat it: take two days off, then back up a chapter, read through, and try to work out why I'm suddenly uneasy about continuing.Many authors have stressed the importance of writing ideas down and I have discussed commonplace books (used for day-to-day to-do lists and ideas and ...) on this blog. Stross apparently doesn't go this route:
I have enjoyed Stross's Merchant Princes series which I understand to be based on Zelazny's Amber series. I feel Stross's version to be darker and grittier and also quite original; I can see the ancestry in some of the events but it feels fresh and new. Here is Stross on plagiarism:
Read more at the link above.