Given my druthers, I prefer being published to self-publication. Three of my books are published by OakTara. They do nice work, and with a lot less effort on my part.
The fourth book is different, aimed at a somewhat different market. As a result, I resorted to self-publication. It has been an experiment and an adventure. Two Dead Aggies e-books and two print versions have been released. One paperback is from Amazon’s CreateSpace, and one from a local print shop (Baars Printing, if you’re curious). I wanted to compare the options. Here’s the score, for you folks thinking about self-publication:
Availability: CreateSpace is on Internet book sites. Anybody wanting the Baars version has to contact the author.
Price: Nominally the same, but it depends on the source. Barnes & Noble has it discounted. Kindle and Nook e-books are even cheaper, but you won’t get the coyote picture on the back cover.
Profitability: Not yet; maybe never. Oh, you want to know which version should be more profitable (or less lossable)? CreateSpace.
Finish quality: Baars. If George doesn’t like the way a printing run looks, he turns off the machine and fixes the problem.
Sales: A few people have bought the Baars version from me. As far as I can tell, the Amazon and B&N versions haven’t sold at all. Don’t count on a book selling just because it’s out there. Customers have millions of choices. If you want to sell books, you have to push books.