Self-Publishing is more accessible but this does not mean that it is more successful than traditional publishing.
Many new writers believe that self-publishing is a painless, easy and quick process that will launch their writing careers and make them sufficient money (if not bundles of it). Many of them believe that if they self-publish successfully, they will be able to get a print contract from traditional publishers like Amanda Hocking or turn down half a million dollar advance like Barry Eisler.
The reality is, however, far different. Self-publishing is hard work, especially for a writer who is used to thinking that once he writes “The End”, the book is over. Self-publishing is a process that requires a writer to become a marketer, an editor, a publicist and a cover designer.
Even if a writer hires someone to do all these jobs, he will still have to be the one making the final decisions and since he does not have the experience or the expertise that a publishing house can offer, he is bound to make mistakes.
Just because self-publishing is more accessible does not mean that it is more successful than traditional publishing. For every J.K. Rowling, there are a thousand authors who have slipped into obscurity after publishing their books and for every J.A. Konrath there are thousands of self-published authors who will never do well financially with their writing.
Disadvantages of Self-Publishing
There are authors who are making a ton of money by self-publishing their books. Some of the others are making decent money. The scenario is much like print publishing. If the book is good and if it is marketed and promoted well, it will make the author a lot of money. If the book is not good, no matter how much marketing you do, it will not sell because word of mouth is still the best publicity and that will not happen until readers like what they read.
Most of the self-published books (especially those that have been rejected by agents and print publishers) have a niche market or are simply not ready to be published, yet. The biggest disadvantage of self-publishing is that a writer might not yet have reached that stage where his writing is ready to be unveiled to the world. Writing is a process, and it takes years of work before a writer becomes good enough to publish great stories. Many of the self-publishing authors do not sell well, because their work is not yet good enough.
It does not mean they will never be good, but perhaps they need to practice the art of storytelling and write more before they can be published.
A self-publishing author will have to spend money hiring a professional editor, cover designer and a publicist. He will have to spend a lot more time than a print author to promote and sell his book because he does not have a corporation behind him that will streamline the promotion strategy.
Advantages of Self-Publishing
There is a lot more creative control on the cover design and publishing date. The writer has all the rights and can publish in different formats and for different audiences. A writer is free to work at his own pace, produce three books in a year, or ten. He can set his own price for each book, offer them free or as giveaways. Most importantly, he is not required to share a bulk of his royalties with a traditional or e-publisher or an agent. There are hundreds of writers taking the road to self-publishing without really understanding the pits and falls of the whole process. It is important to do proper research and identify your goals before embarking on this journey.