EPublishing, of course, is touted as a victory for the little guy. Yes; you can now bypass the philistine literary agents who so frequently these days don’t even bother to send you a rejection letter. And the publishing companies who so frequently won’t even look at your manuscript unless it’s been packaged and presented by one of those agents.
(An aside: My first novel, The Great American Desert, was rejected via form letter by about half the agents I sent it to. The other half didn’t bother to respond at all, despite the SASE they tell you to send in along with the submission. I eventually did get an agent, though only theoretically. Friend of a friend. Said she (the agent) loved the book, was certain she could do something with it. When, many months later, I asked if she was making any headway, she got quite snippy. When I wrote to her later, to ask if she’d be interested in looking at the second novel, Big Rock Candy Mountain, she didn’t bother to reply.)
Amusingly enough, many agents will tell you that they will not accept what are known in the trade as ‘simultaneous submissions’. That is, you must wait for a rejection letter from agent A before sending your MS to agent B. As Steinbeck tells us, “Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.” That’s only true after they’ve been accepted by a publisher. Before that, writers are elephant dung. A waste management problem.
Two of the most obvious characteristics of elephant dung are that it stinks and that it comes in large quantities. Both of these are problems for a book business that is, yes, I understand, a business. Businesses need to make money. Artists (except for Kafka’s hunger artist of the eponymous short story) also need to make money, though true ones will do without all manner of things (financial security, respect of the opposite sex) for the chance to ply their art.
Now, anyone can get published.
However, elephant dung remains elephant dung. All you potential readers in search of gems will need to roll up your sleeves and get out your biggest shovels, and get to work.