via ktempest, via nihilistic_kid
Some links from a friendly, helpful author's site run by our old friends, Publish America. (check the 'about us' section.)
Never Trust The Experts
Only Trust Your Own Eyes
Apparently, the argument is that the quality bar in science fiction and fantasy is so low that 'established' SFF authors will do anything to sucker new writers into submitting to established, paying SFF publishers--who won't publish 99.5% of what's submitted to them, so there's no point in a new writer submitting.
Okay. Actually, I'd guess that the major publishers probably buy considerably less than one manuscript out of every 200--in SFF or any other genre. This is not because of elitism--publishers only make money if they discover new authors who will be popular and sell books, because the next Rowling and the next King and the next Irving and the next Gaiman gotta come from somewhere.
It's because the book isn't good, or the book doesn't fit, or the book isn't marketable. Or it's because the editor is mistaken. Or the editor just doesn't like the book.
But Publish America is still not your friend, as a struggling writer. Because it's not about being published, really. It's about writing well enough that people (meaning people who are not your relatives and childhood friends) will want to read what you write.
There are people who write amazing fanfiction and provide it free of charge on the internet. There are very good writers who submit to competitive little literary journals that only pay in prestige, or to semipro publications that pay in copies and whuffie, or a couple of bucks honorarium. There are writers who bust their humps and sell to Ellery Queen, or Harper's, or Asimov's. Or to upfront book publishers.
All those people are publishing to be read.
People who market books through vanity publishers--with the exception of folks who either have a captive audience (one of my college professors, may he rot) or people with a certain notoriety (like Wil Wheaton, apparently a very fine writer)--are not going to be read. And yes, Publish America says they're not a vanity press.
I think it's worthwhile making your own judgements, and I'd take the advice of people who don't stand to make any money off me over people who do, most of the time. Unless the person who stands to make money off me is my agent.
Such is life.