Sarah Hoyt wrote a fantastic blog over on Mad Genius Club that’s worth the read:
It is not the first time I heard this argument. It won’t be the last. Today, talking to a friend, discussing a definitely unfavorable contract I once signed, I got this answer “I’d sign that. If I had just one contract, I’d know I was a real writer.”
Seriously? Seriously, guys, you’re going to go with that? Do you need your manuscript to be hand-copied by real monks too? Or do you just need it to be printed in an authentic traditional hand operated press? Or will you just be happy if your books are stitched together by hand?
Exactly. I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends of mine are still out there with 3 or even 4 books just sitting, waiting, hoping that one of the dwindling number of editors with piles of books in the thousands to review will even bother to open their email. If you sell books, they’ll notice you and your manuscript will go to the top of their list. And at that point, you won’t need them anymore. All you’re doing by the grind is delaying your mark on the world, and people reading your work, which in theory is what a writer wants.
The time of gate keepers telling you what’s “worthy” and what’s not is over. They are middlemen preserving their very small slice of power, nothing more. Readers will tell you what they like, whether it’s good or not. If you have those, you’re well ahead of the game — and likely well ahead of many of the writers that have signed those contracts.