January 2011, one year after meeting each other in person, Julie and I self published our first book, Abandoned Places: Abandoned Memories (Desert Edition). We had tried traditional routes to sell our Hug-A-Blogger project without success and wondered, well, why can't we just put it on Kindle and Nook? So, we did it. At the time it seemed monumental.
Since that time, separately and together we have published over a dozen books between us by self publishing.
Pro's of self-publishing:
You make more per book than with a publishing company offers you if you price it above 2.99 (70% royalty) and still more than a publishing company would offer you at 35% if you price it below 2.99.
Most publishers won't take unsolicited work or work without an agent. Ones who will take it, may take up to 6 months to respond. If you don't want to wait years to go through publishers finding the one who will purchase it, you can do this on your own.
Sometimes, having a showing of selling books on ebooks, a publisher will take you more seriously.
Con's of self-publishing:
It is extremely hard to get purchasers. People will not find your book. Even if you are very active online and pumping it up, you could sell only a few copies a month. It can be disappointing, but eventually when you have enough book selection, one book purchase can lead to that reader buying other books you've written.
Without an editor and cover artist, you might be awful and people who purchased it will tell you by rating it horribly.
Your chances of making serious cash this way are a bit like the lottery or getting hit by lightning. There are cases of people making a killing on ebooks, but they are promoted up the wazoo and caught fire in a way that is so rare and so impossible, that consider them the exception, not the rule.
Createspace--for those who worry that books done electronically may not sell as well, your book can be made into a print copy sold on Amazon easily through Createspace.
If you don't have much of an online presence, you will not sell books. You will need a Facebook, Twitter, blog or website, and a large following. Authors are different these days. They can't be anonymous. People want to see and hear from them and get a sense of their personality. An author can sell a book by being himself as much as by his accolades. It's a different publishing world. It's opened it up for hard working writers who couldn't get attention and for the reader, it's become a huge smorgasbord, some of it like leftovers and others like fine caviar, but sorting through it means looking at reviews, websites, and learning about the author before purchasing or you're just flushing your money away.
Ultimately, Julie and I are now putting the abandoned book above on Createspace in print form because people enjoyed it so much they wanted to see the pictures and hold it and read it more clearly. We also got a book in published form and have a few more that publishers are releasing in the future. It's not overnight. It's little things that add up over time. You have to be the squirrel storing the nuts all summer for it to come together, but with determination, you will see it snowball down the line, sometimes in ways you never imagined.