John Winters discusses the other, more common side of self-publishing:
An article in the New York Times claims that 81 percent of us believe we have a book in us. This sounds painful – both anatomically and for the readers of this potential deluge. In fact, extrapolated across the entire U.S., this 81 percent equates to 200 million books. Most of them no doubt about beloved dogs or written by celebrity chefs. I confess I was long among these wannabe authors. My cabinets and drawers are littered with more pages of fiction than the archives of the Nixon Library. However, recently I completed my first novel and subsequently set out after that dream of every writer: publication, followed by royalty checks of the six-figure variety.
I want to quote so much from this article, as John pushes his novel onto Amazon and gets bitten by the promotional bug after selling a few copies, pursues the dream of shooting a book trailer (“The Internet is full of tips on how to market your self-published book, and a trailer is high on the list.”) and generally continues along a path of increasingly expensive self-destruction.
There was one more avenue I’d yet to try in my pursuit of literary fame: give it away. That’s right; many self-published authors simply give the e-book version of their novel away in hopes of building word-of-mouth interest that will in turn result in sales. Roughly 800 people took advantage, and afterward there was even a sale or two.
John writes with a charming and dejected wit, so do yourself a favour and read the full article: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/02/im_a_self_publishing_failure/