A lot of people question the point in seeking approval from a publisher instead of being one. After all, Stephen King did well as a self-publisher. Considering my ambitions are to turn my novels into mainstream Hollywood motion pictures (with the exception of my first novel), self-publishing is actually self-defeating.
A publisher provides a sense of literary belonging and being part of a family. Publishers have funding, editors, graphic artists, publicists, a distribution organization and a brand name.
In stark contrast, the author is a loner who will never be able to effectively compete with an organization created solely for the purpose of mainstream publishing. Well, that is unless you have a large social media following who already follow you because they are fans of your work.
If authors attempt to bypass the most vital constituent that contributes to their success, they will have to attempt to imitate the steps needed to achieve success for their book. This is an improbability because authors (no matter how trained in marketing or public relations) are not trained, funded, equipped and/or prepared to deal with the many tasks involved in bringing a book to the mainstream market.
Also, it’s the responsibility of the literary agent to sift through the countless submissions to garner which are worthy of attention. This leaves publishers to read wheat instead of chaff.
If it were not so, imagine the large quantity of poor books which will be imposed upon the public (stepping aside the e-book craze). The music industry features thousands of self-published musicians that have sold little to nothing. The book industry isn’t so different.