A message forum for general discussion. Please come and chat with others!
Man, you guys. I have 10 followers on twitter. All bots.
A book is a product to sell like anything else. If you invent a fantastic recipe for jam (strawberry olive with a hint of zest) that brings people to their knees, you still have a huge logistical hurdle of getting it onto shelves. Regular strawberry is king and will not be dethroned. You could sell it door to door, but that would result in a painfully linear rise in sales. You want exponential. I agree with Steven that unless you're a social media brand (kids call them influencers nowadays) you'll just be one of 10 million screaming mouths. Ideally, you'd get in bed with a distributor to sell your nasty (i mean premium!) jam. For books, that's a publisher. Well, an agent. I'm sure there's some breed of subagents to help out the overwhelmed full bird agents (certified agent assistant?). But, we self-publish because someone has to keep the hard road trampled.
Zen's idea of owning every scrap of climate data on Mars offers a great perspective. Your own expertise may offer you a conduit for your jam. All those guys they interview on CNN? They've all got their little book they wrote sitting beside them as they bash the politicians. Although, for some of us, our jobs have nothing to do with fiction.
Here's my thinking: if you can't compete then wait. If your goal is to have a best seller, then you need to be writing books that publishers can sell. Not self-publishing. However, if you've got a 20 year plan and want to build a quiet library of your own excellence, then write, self-publish and let your work stand on its own. Pick up followers through social media, build your website and offer what niche content you can to attract interest. Worse case scenario, your unprofitable "hobby" leaves you with a pile of books and some serious writing skillz. Better than 10,000 mason jars of jam rotting in your unfinished basement. I mean, you'll be the can commander if anyone needs some knowledge on how to store food for the long winter, but we're here to write. Nahhimean?