It seems everyone is self-publishing these days, or considering it, and I'll confess I'm no exception. However, being the kind of person I am, there's an awful lot of thinking going into the decision. I often wish I were one of those people who was comfortable just jumping in to things, but unfortunately I'm not! There are pros and cons to everything, and self-publishing is no different. Yes, you have a great deal of autonomy over what you produce, where you publish it, what the cover looks like and all of that. But as an editor I know there are costs newcomers to the concept often don't think about.
Editing can cost you a pretty penny, as can a professional cover and the proper formatting. You, the author, are in charge of ALL advertising and promotion, which can cost both time and money. And unless you have a loyal following already, you don't have a reputable publishing house's name attached to the project to let people know what quality to expect. On top of all that, it seems to me there are still an awful lot of people out there who expect a self-published book to be as close to free as to be insulting to the author.
Of course, there are ways around many of these things if you have the time, energy and skill to do a lot of it yourself or, like me, hope to eventually bribe one of my kids to do some of it for me. Editing I have worked out (and no, I'm not taking the chance on trying to edit my book myself! I'm not stupid...even editors need someone else to look at their work!) and I've sourced some reasonably priced cover artists. The formatting and loading I'd pass to my son to do for me, because I have neither the time nor the patience. As for the rest, if I do decide to self-publish, I'll have to work it out as I go along.
I can't help looking at the publishing world right now as the Wild West... and I'm not sure I'm enough of a gunslinger to survive!