Self-publishing books has a strong whiff of vanity, however, is this view justified since Jane Austen, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling and Virginia Woolf self-published?
The current New York Times bestseller list of ebooks contains four self-published books. Is it not more entrepreneurial to self-publish given lower set-up costs? Online sellers such as Amazon offer print-on-demand in addition to ebooks.
Arguments in favour of self-publishing include shorter time to market, higher margins for authors and monthly payment of any sales. In the past self-published authors would need the investment and space to accommodate a minimum print run of a book but this is no longer the case due to technological advances.
I think the best argument in favour of publishing houses is having an editor that could potentially save you from gaffes and family and friends that are too polite to tell you you may be writing tosh. A recent racism row erupted around a self-published American novel aimed at young adults. The author apparently meant to demonstrate to white people what it would feel like being a minority after an imaginary environmental disaster makes white people, described as ‘pearls’ hunted down by black people described as ‘coals’. Simple or what??! She even describes the coals as animalistic and pearls as pure.
Publishers probably threw her transcript in the bin for a reason.