Self-publishing has been garnering lots of press. From the hushed reverential mentions of the self-published now taking the 'traditional' publishing world by storm, to the established authors now producing their own ebooks, self-publishing has finally cemented its place as a valid presence in the book world. It's no longer the revoluntionary challenger to the old regime. It's more like the not-quite-trusted chancellor kept close by the still-suspicious president to ensure he doesn't engineer a bloodless coup.
There have been screeds written about how self-publishers should edit, write and design their books. There have been complaints about the selfishness of inflicting tomes on the word that might include typos or poor research.
Yet, what I find most interesting is the quiet explosion of companies serving the needs of writers. Writers' forums are crammed with companies offering critiques, edits and lots more. In fact their services are so extensive that I half expect to see them offering to come round and make you a cup of tea when you finish every chapter . . .
Freelance websites are also fulfilling these demands but in a less showy way. * has regular jobs posted from would-be self-publishers, although since they include paying writers to write the book; editors to edit; designers to design it; and the tech-savvy to turn it into an ebook, the notion of 'self' has been stretched to the utmost. Unlike the often nameless staff of writing critique companies, you can pay to have your book edited by a published author with a name, publishing history and writing awards to boot.
This communal approach to writing balances any claims of selfishness. More and more I see the writing process crossing continents, merging disciplines and smudging the lines between self and other. For writers, these are definitely exciting times.