I've been involved in "indie publishing" now for about 3 years. By indie I mean bringing books to the market without the backing of the traditional industry leaders that rely heavily on a system based on retail store sales.
When I started publishing I always heard, "If you aren't published through a traditional publisher it must be because your books are no good."
What I see now is, "If you are published through a traditional publisher you're a fool because they treat author's poorly, give them only crumbs, and steal as much of the money as possible."
I love J.A. Konrath's blog, A newbie's guide to publishing if you are not reading it - bookmark it now. There was a little "debate" spurred there recently about whether you should self-publish or not based on a contrary opinion posted here by Jude Harden.
As someone with one foot in each door, Michael's about to be picked up by one of the big-six after years of indie published, I want to present a case for both sides. It really is not a matter of right or wrong its a matter of what your goals are.
Self Publishing Pros....
1 - Total control
2 - 100% of profits
3 - Increased time to market
4 - Modest to no start-up costs
Self Publishing Cons....
1 - Perception: There will always be those that say you are there because you "couldn't make it"
2 - Smaller market
3 - Divided time
4 - Must work harder to produce same quality
1 - Larger Team with diverse skills
2 - Much larger market penetration
3 - Bookstore presence
4 - Opportunity to "break-out"
1 - Lack of control
2 - Long time to market
3 - Smaller piece of the pie
I don't want to enumerate each of these points just now - but will over the course of the next few days...Stay tuned.