I am also an author who was first published by Crown Publishing, and now is self-publishing e-books. I had an excellent editor at Crown, and was very well taken care of. But the economics of mainstream publishing make it difficult for anyone but a famous author to make a living at it.
E-books can be very profitable for authors. You can price your book low, and then get a big enough percentage (often seventy percent) of the price so that you’re making more than you made with a ten dollar paperback published by a mainstream publisher. Plus now your book won’t go out of print.
I’m having so much fun with this! I’m a fanatic about getting kids reading, and now I can publish books that are as radical as I want. Or not! It’s fascinating to think what the effect on current thought and reading habits will be with the new ease of self-publishing.