I love these dismissive comments I get about superstar authors, ignoring how many writers are now making a living at writing who never have before. And by living I mean six-figure incomes, and these are people who aren’t superstar authors. They’re doing it quietly. They’re doing it on e-books mostly, and that’s only 20% of the market. Now the rest of the market has come open to them in a way as easy to tap as e-books. Of course, I’m thrilled.
The prejudice against self-published titles is going away. Readers don’t care who publishes the book. And you can be as negative as you want but that doesn’t change the fact that the industry is different now than it was six months ago.
What you seem to be dismissive of is that this industry is in the middle of massive change. I’ve been in the industry as long as you have. I’ve owned publishing companies, worked for traditional publishers, owned many businesses including distribution companies, self published off and on since the late 1980s, and still believe that this change is unbelievably significant.
I'd also point out this very cool thread on the Kindleboards, where people are slowly building a list of hybrid and indie authors making a living: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,150820.0.html The list hasn't been updated in a week, but it is still up to about 200 names with more being added in the comments all the time. Pretty cool.
Personally, I think it is easier these days than any time since the golden age of the pulps (and maybe not even then) to make good money as a writer. (Note: easier doesn't mean easy. I'd never call making writing money easy money. Still got to actually put in the work.)