These days, only folks who cling to old notions of what used to be turn their nose up at self-published books simply because they weren’t backed by a big house. Now the boundaries between the two kinds of publishing are dissolving even more rapidly as traditional publishers, including some of the biggest in the world, enter the self-publishing arena.
Confused? It’s easy to see why. But Simon & Schuster has Archway Publishing while Penguin Random has Author Solutions (and the much maligned AuthorHouse). So if it’s self-published through a company that is part of a big publisher, is it still self-published?
For now, yes. The manuscripts aren’t vetted by anyone; some authors don’t even bother with editing before hitting the print button. And for now, the publishers aren’t likely to look more kindly on any author who approaches them and admits to using the self-pub arm at their company (unless of course that author has managed to sell well on his or her own).
Remember that self-pub is still self-pub. The big publishing house is looking for the same thing as the other printers: a check. The ground is turning to liquid beneath their feet and they’re trying new things to keep afloat. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if it helps them continue on with the old methods, great. Just be aware of what you’re getting…and what you’re not.