I’ve stumbled upon a lot of sites that offer self-publishing services. They would edit your work, print it for you, and claim to be your ‘publisher’… while you pay them for it.
Personally, I’m not game for that. As authors, we should be paid to be published not pay to be published. I know they offer services which are great for self-publishing, but the fact that they call themselves your publisher literally looks like you paid them to be your publisher.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. If you’re up for it, go for it! The way I personally look at it is this, you can spend money on self-publishing to get the layout, art, and editing done, but ultimately it is self –published. Hence, the person who should be credited as the publisher is you! You worked your butt off, you spent money on it, so you should be your own publisher.
The term self-published is self-explanatory. Why pay someone to steal the title you deserve?
You’re probably going, how can I get my works edited and laid out then? If you want art and layout, visit Deviantart and contact an artist that would be interested in working with you. There’s so much talent out there you just need to look. If you want your work edited, google for editing services or find freelance editors. The web is full of them.
Then you ask, how about printing and distribution? First, I would suggest selling e-books. With so many people using e-readers, there is a bigger market for that. You can set up your own Amazon account too. (Consider Smashwords and Lulu for their online services of promotion and formating.. that is if you have a hard time formatting and promoting your books yourself. I don't think you need to pay them in advance either, just standard royalty fees.)
But let’s just say you really want your books printed, how now? Gather your readers and do a crowd-funding project. Unless you have the sufficient funds, you probably might want to opt for that. I know it may seem really awesome to have your book on shelves, but the fact that these self-publishing services offer print-on-demand means they won’t put your book on shelves either. So do it your way!
Mind you, these are my personal opinions. I do not speak for anyone, and if self-publishing companies as such floats your boat, by all means, don’t let me stop you. I just personally think that you don’t need them to be self-published. All you need is your perseverance, time, effort and willingness to get your book out.