For as long as I can remember there has been a stigma associated with ‘self-publishing’, or independent publishing. It is assumed that a ‘published’ book, meaning published by a mainstream commercial – or trade – publisher (Penguin, Random House, etc.) will be a better book, will be easier to promote and will sell more copies.
These don’t necessarily follow. In today’s digital world there is no reason why a self-published book shouldn’t ‘look’ published. With the right emphasis placed on writing, rewriting and editing, there is no reason why a self-published book shouldn’t be of a very high standard. And of course the marketing potential for a book or anything else – if done well – is limitless in the social media age.
Yes, there are undoubtedly benefits to having your book ‘properly’ published – most notably the fact that a genuine publisher* will take on most or all of the financial risk – but there can be advantages to self-publishing too, especially in non-fiction.