Will it help or hinder an author if they mention in a query that they've had previous works published as an eBook with a small publisher? Is an eBook considered a legitimate publishing credit or not? Thank you for all of your snarkalicious advice! I'm certainly learning a lot by checking in on your blog each day.
It's not the HOW of your publishing credits that makes the difference, it's the WHO.
If Random House publishes your eBook, it's a whole different ball game than if you do it in your basement with software from Office Depot and a home computer.
Most eBooks right now ARE small publishers cause they aren't a big fat profit generator. Your job when you query and mention this is to tell the agent about who published it. A small publisher, yes, but one with an acquisitions editor who is not your mom? One with a list of more than your eBooks? Give some info, a URL and you're good to go. It may not help, but you won't look like you're trying to puff up nothing into something.
And just to clarify about the big issue of 'what counts':
It's NOT POD that's the problem. It's the idea that all "books" are equal publishing credentials. AuthorHouse and iUniverse don't edit worth spit. The result is a deluge of crap. Your book may not be crap but if you publish with those two sewage treatment centers, I'm not going to believe you if you tell me you don't stink.