I've been asked several times what I think about traditional publishing versus self-publishing. I'll admit up front that I prefer traditional publishing. Let me first define, in my words, traditional publishing, as the definition has changed during the past several years.
Traditional publishing is when a book publisher pays you to publish your book. Traditional publishing includes print and ebook formats. Previously, traditional publishing included print publication only. Ebooks were seen as a threat to a seemingly stable business. Today, ebooks are the new norm and print books are kind of an endangered species. But I still love print books and think they will remain into the unforeseeable future, albeit on a smaller scale.
Self-publishing is when you choose to publish your book yourself. You write it. You edit it. You publish it. You set up distribution. You market it. Of course you can outsource some of these tasks, but the main point is, you are responsible for covering all the bases, financially. Yes, you can make a profit and cover your investments, but do you want to mess with all that, or do you want to write?
The main reason I prefer traditional publishing is because I set a personal goal to persuade someone to buy my book. I wanted the satisfaction of knowing a publisher wanted to buy my idea, my words, and the way I marketed myself. While I feel comfortable marketing my own book, I still did not and do not want to do this journey alone. I like knowing there is a team handling the bulk of the work for me so I can concentrate on writing and self-marketing.
While self-publishing is not my chosen path at this time, it may be a viable option for some aspiring writers. Several authors have experienced success from self-publishing. It really depends on what you write and who your audience is. I'd recommend researching other writers who write the same genre or subject matter or market to the same audience.
I think we will continue to see the publishing world change and shift and adapt to reader preferences and digital formats. The most important advice I could ever give is to just write a great story that is free of spelling, grammar, style, and formatting errors. Without a well-written, quality-assured story, the publishing method is irrelevant. Write the story and the rest will fall into place.