Deciding if you should self publish a book or try to find a main line publisher can be a confusing one. Please see below an excerpt from our "Guide to Self Publishing" which will help you to decide what method of publishing to choose.
Is Self Publishing right for me?
This depends on what you hope to achieve from publishing your book. What are your expectations?
If you are expecting the publisher to take charge of your book, pay you an advance fee before the book is published, take charge of marketing your book; sell/promote your book to distributors / bookstores, then clearly the traditional way of publishing your book is what you are looking for.
If you have never tried submitting your book to a traditional publisher and feel your book would be marketable to a wide audience, then we encourage you to submit your book to the most suitable publisher. Traditional publishers will always have more marketing clout. Please be aware that most publishers will not accept book submissions direct from authors. You will probably need to use an agent. A list of mainline publishers and agents can be found in the latest copy of The Artists' and Writers' Year Book, which you can obtain through most bookstores, and certainly from Amazon. A word of warning, however: finding a mainline or traditional publisher that is willing to consider your book is like searching for a needle in a haystack - which is why finding a reputable agent is probably the best route to choose. An agent will know which publishers are most likely to look at your book, in terms of genre or category. The Artists' and Writers' Year Book also has a section on how to present your manuscript.
Seeking a mainline publisher (or even an agent) can be an exhausting process, and requires commitment, perseverance and a firm belief on the author's part that his or her book is genuinely saleable. In days gone by traditional publishers placed as much emphasis on the quality of the writing or narrative, whereas in today's world with its economic pressures, saleability is the main factor for most mainline publishers. In other words, will the book sell, and to whom? (What constitutes the target audience?)
If your book is repeatedly rejected by mainline publishers, that does not mean it is not a good book, and that it does not deserve to be published. That is where self publishing comes in and it has happened more than once that a self-published book is eventually discovered by a mainline publisher who publishes it with successful sales. Some best sellers began as self published books.
If your target audience is made up of your own family and circle of friends, then self publishing is the most logical route to follow. The book is made available to order either from on-line bookstores, through bricks-and-mortar bookstores (if it has an ISBN number), or from stocks that you have purchased at the author's discount from the printer / publisher.