I'm pretty smart, not to brag about myself, but like most folks I can get caught off guard. In the publishing world, what's considered "the norm" shifts with the wind. My slow, careful approach to indie publishing got an unpleasant kick recently.
On January 2, 2016, Amber Quill Press announced they were closing effective March 30, 2016. I only have two books there as Rayne Forrest, but my alter ego has about forty. To say this doesn't make me a happy camper is an understatement.
Amber Quill has been great to work with. No drama, just good, publishing. Did I agree with everything they did, business-wise? No, but nothing was huge enough to be a deal breaker. Nothing they did was a "red flag" item. They valued integrity in a business that's sorely lacking in that commodity. So I was content to go indie on the Rayne Forrest titles and go through AQP for my alter ego.
But if there's one thing the publishing industry can't abide it's contentment. The rise of Amazon and indie publishing is striking death blows to small, competent publishers (with huge and valuable mailing lists) across the board. In the long run, it won't be just small publishers and booksellers that suffer. The voices of individual authors are fading, taking with them great works. It's simply too hard for them to persevere.
Nothing can replace my experience and history at Amber Quill Press. I learned and learned and learned from Trace Zaber & Co.
And I'm a better person, and writer, for the time spent with them.