It turns out that having a book well-edited and written according to particular stylistic requirements wasn’t necessary to get it to sell well: it was necessary to get it published. And since books which aren’t published rarely sell well, editing and stylistic accomplishment were second-order requirements. Now that a book can be published without meeting them, lo and behold, books which aren’t edited and written in a particular style can sell well.
That isn’t to say that ceteris paribus a book which is well-edited and stylistically proper won’t do as well or better than a book which isn’t. It almost certainly will. But a book which isn’t and has a good story and good characters will do better than a book which is and doesn’t.
—Marc Cabot, in a comment on The Passive Voice
I'm a crusty reactionary in almost any field you care to name but even I'm willing to admit that mainstream publishers are as doomed as Belshazzar. They may outlive me, but technology marches on and is rendering them progressively obsolete. Many writers will suggest that the biggest reason why we should still ply our wares with the legacy houses is because they have top notch editors that will polish our work and make it ready for the big time. Bah. Their most compelling argument is that they have advertising power that will greatly increase a writer's exposure. Bah again. That may be true for well established writers, but if you're starting out they're not going to spend that much time and money on you.
I don't even own any sort of electronic reader yet. I still purchase physical books if only for the nostalgic feel of having the paper in my hands. But when I'm ready to publish my first works of fiction, I may go directly to self-publishing. The hardest part about that is getting discovered by a big enough audience to make a profit. I'm supremely confident of accomplishing that. As Mr. Cabot said, readers are looking for a good story and good characters first of all. That I can do.
As a public service for all of my fellow writers, if you're having trouble thinking of good names for your characters, look no further: