(For updated thoughts on this topic, see this post.)
Actually, I can cover my thoughts on this pretty easily.
I really ought to explain why, though, because smart people always have an argument to back them up.
I'm not a fan of self-publishing mainly because I don't believe it gives the writer any legitimacy. Every once in a while, a self-publishing writer will get lucky and become successful, most likely because some publisher found their work, liked it, and picked it up. But that's rare.
Writers who go the self-publishing route aren't going the extra mile. They're telling the publishers who run the world of book sales that their judgment is useless and that they, the writer, are too special to try and turn their work into something an experienced, trained editor would accept.
When writers publish their own work, they most likely haven't had a professional editor go through and help them correct and perfect their novel, which is just a bad idea. Real publishers make sure everything is on par before they send it into the world to be read. Editing is really freaking important. Every book is trashy before it goes through editing, so why not make the full effort to get it to the best state it can be? You owe it to the idea, to yourself, and to your readers.
Really, when it comes down to it, very few people are going to go trolling through self-publishing novels for their next read. Publishers exist for a reason--to perfect books and select those that deserve to be read by the public. (Of course I occasionally question their judgment, but the point is they're professionals and they tend to get it right.) So if you're going to be a novelist, do the work and get yourself published, for real.
That is my self-publishing rant.
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