I don’t often recommend websites, though I think I probably should do it a lot more often. I’ve been following the adventures of Ana Spoke on her path to self-publishing stardom. If you’re deciding between traditional publishing and going it alone then you owe it to yourself to spend some time on Ana’s website. What separates Ana from the vast majority of the self-publishers is that she’s done it properly: she’s spent two and a half years writing the book, has had it professionally edited, reworked it and edited again.
She’s also documenting what’s she doing as a kind of self-publisher’s diary, and it’s a fascinating insight into what it takes to get your work noticed in a market where thousands of new works are appearing almost every day. Ana has listed the places where she’s tried marketing her book (It’s called Shizzle Inc., by the way) and tells you (with graphs, no less!) what pricing models have worked best for her. There are some lively discussions there too (especially concerning grammar and the use of editors, and if pricing your work to low devalues it in the readers’ eyes).
The biggest takeaway for me? Marketing yourself as a self-publisher takes time, effort and it can’t be done for free.