(Traditional view - if it doesn't come from the establishment, you can't have it)I've been following the travails of a friend of mine for the past two and a half years. He wrote a book about his experiences on the battlefield. He impressed an agent enough that the agent took him on as a client and has tried to sell his work to several publishing houses. The problem is that none of these sales attempts have resulted in anything but rejection.
Rejection is part and parcel of being a writer. Even if you don't seek out an agent and a publisher, just hearing what others say about your work is enough to bring down a moose. Those that do seek out such insiders to the publishing world are likely to go through dozens of folks saying no before ever finding that one person who'll say yes(assuming he or she exists).
This buddy is revising his novel yet again. Again, like rejection, revising is part of our world. Anyone who thinks he or she can churn out a first draft and be ready is a fool who isn't likely to last long in the business. But there comes a point at which your novel looks so unlike what your vision was that you start to wonder why you're writing it in the first place.
The novel has been complete several times. Each time someone has said no, there has come a list of suggestions. It should be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I don't think editors are any more in tune with the public than members of the public itself. Sure, my friend would tell me that his work is getting better, but I then ask who has ever read it besides these folks. There comes a point at which continual revision becomes counter-productive.
As an indie author - out of choice, I might add - I can and will bring my work out when I want to. I'm not reliant on an agent or some faceless editor 500 miles away to make that decision for me. True, I haven't yet published anything, but that's due to the desire for me to get back to the mainland rather than someone telling me what their idea of what my story should be instead. Once I hit the continental United States again, that obstacle goes away. I half expect to find my friend still stuck on revising and wondering if his stuff will ever see print.