Brian Driggs asked me to discuss self-publishing after reading my sordid Fifth Estate story. While I don’t want to dismiss traditional publishing altogether, I can only speak for myself. I will self publish my next book.
There are several reasons, but first let’s discuss two reasons to consider traditional publishing:
If you are published by a traditional house, particularly one of the majors, there’s a prestige element. Most “published” authors, some business people, and at least outwardly almost every publisher looks down on self published authors.
As someone who attended American University and then Georgetown University, the published prestige is comparable to Ivy League snobbery. And for the record, American challenged me more intellectually than Georgetown (which is perceived as on par with some Ivy League schools).
Traditional publishers will tell you to never self publish, that you won’t ever have a chance of getting published in real life. But then you hear stories of successful self publishers who get signed, people like John Scalzi, Mark Schaefer and Amanda Hawking. Self publishing has become a minor league for traditional publishers.