Certainly it has its critics, but as one who has been there and done it, I for one can vouch for its virtues.
In the old days, self publishing’s image was often tarnished by the dreaded ‘vanity press’ tag. Undeniably, those self-published works have not been scrutinized by publishers, whom one might suppose chose the best and rejected the rest. Were this universally true, it would be hard then to fathom the reasoning behind self publishing by such immortals as Jane Austen, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw. Sure, anyone can self publish; and, if we believe the critics, there are plenty of books out there that are nothing more than uninspiring collections of words. On the other hand, if we are to believe the reviewers, more than a handful of gems exist.
The beauty of self publishing lies in the degree of control it offers. It’s all in the hands of the creator(s). From original text, to editing, layout, cover, and promotion: it’s all a hands-on experience. There is no need to please the publisher: you need aim only to please whom you choose to please. Could be your readers, your family, or just yourself: it all depends on you.
The other attraction is the speed of results. No longer do you have to wait, perhaps for years, to see your work in print. It’s there: in e-book or physical. Moreover, it’s available for as long (or as little) as you choose. Particularly amongst new authors, it can take a while to get established, and develop a fan base. Conventional publishing may see your book withdrawn from sale too soon.
As a veteran of six self published books:25 Stories of Life and Love in Australia, A Taste of Life and Love in Australia, The Essence of Life and Love in Australia, Reflections of Life and Love in Australia, 60 Questions, Insights and Reminiscences, and Long and Short Australian Stories, I can vouch for the advantages of going down the self-published path, and hold my head high as I remember the company I am in.