You meet two authors, and you ask who their publishers are. One says, “Simon and Schuster published my book All The Way.” The other says, “I self-published my book Part of the Way.” Which author do you respect more? Who are you more likely to listen to about the joys and perils of writing?
If you’re honest, you’ll pick the author published by a recognized publisher. Even if the publisher is one you’ve never heard of, you’re still going to give that author more credence than the one who admitted to self-publishing.
There is a stigma still adhering to self-publishing, and you might as well admit it. It is true that this is changing rapidly, as is everything in the publishing industry. But there is a reason authors do not want to admit to self-publishing, and that is because sometimes this stigma is deserved.
The difficult truth is that many (not as many as there used to be) self-published authors don’t write as well as they should in order to move their readers and sell books. Self-published books are often not written by professional writers or edited by professional editors – and you can tell. They may be dull, confusing, disorganized, unfocused, and preachy. They may suffer from ills such as voice inconsistency, poor word choice, run-on sentences, redundancies, clichés, generalities instead of specifics, telling instead of showing, and the overuse of hyperbolae.
Writing that sings, that is powerful, compelling, and sticks with you long time, is the product of skill, art, talent & practice. Not everyone has these.
Yet they may have a wonderful story to tell. One of my primary missions as a ghostwriter and editor is to help eliminate any stigma that may still be clinging to self-published books by helping first-time authors attain writing excellence.
So sure, go ahead and self-publish. There are many pros to this route. But just make sure your writing is worthy of being published, by you or anyone else.