I woke up this morning thinking about this and laughing a little at myself. I got asked recently to submit my next series to a traditional publisher (Montlake, and I like what they do for their romance authors), but I realized my biggest doubt was: would it be done well enough? Yes! I know that sounds arrogant, but I'm really good at blurbs, and my covers are, I think, terrific, and branded with my "look." And I'm hesitant that an editor will ask me to do the things the trad publisher who WAS interested before I self-published asked me to do: inject more "heat" at the beginning, amp up the tension (artificially, to me--I like my folks to behave like rational people who care about each other), edit out my "voice," etc. I have a pretty good idea by now why my readers like my books, and how to provide that.
The fact is, nobody at any publishing house, ever, will care as passionately as I do about my books, or will work harder to get it right. Their blurb writer won't work that blurb over and over for a week (and probably won't have 10 years of copywriting experience, either, I might add). Their developmental editor isn't going to be smarter than the District Judge who is one of my beta readers, who tells me in no uncertain terms when more tension IS needed, or the loyal reader who's become another beta reader, who's been reading romance for 40+ years, who has a lifetime of experience and observation and analysis of people's emotions under her belt.
I'm not saying my books are perfect. But I'm saying that I, and many, many folks on here, are keenly aware that readers will only buy a quality product. That the better it is, the better it will sell. And we are in the business of selling OUR books and knowing OUR customers. The simple fact is, people who don't do those things well are unlikely to sell much. Would it be better if some authors took more time and trouble over their books? Yes. Should we all be trying, always, to up our game? Yes. Chuck is sure right about that, and so are the many writers on KBoards who discuss craft and marketing and every aspect of this business we're in, every day, and help all of us do just that.
So, thanks, everybody. Thanks, Chuck, for a thoughtful post that inspired a lot of good discussion here. And welcome.