Announcement: I am not an expert! But I am a published author and I do work for a publishing company, so...
I have published three books to date, and currently, I am in production on my fourth book. Each book has taken its own path and developed in its own way. Now, I know this is not how to do it, that I should pick one genre, one way, and stick with what works, but see the problem was nothing was working so I just started trying everything!
My debut novel (which I just re-launch- check out that article), was originally a traditional publishing track. I labored for over a year cold querying agents and participating in endless Twitter pitch events. The result was 7 full requests, 3 agent meetings, and no agent. It did result in a small indie publisher reaching out to me to publish my book. Thus began my traditional publishing journey. Go back in my blog posts and you can learn more about how that all went for me. Overall it took me a total of 4 years!!!! 4 years on one book!
So, needless to say, I was going in a different path for my second, and very different YA fantasy book. Self Publishing, I've learned, can be as quick and cheap as you want it, especially if you really aren't concerned about the quality of your book. (I was not) This book was written for a different reason - my students to have it as a graduation gift, so no I didn't publish with the intent to sell books or turn a profit.
My third book, which feels more like a dirty little secret is my online novel, In the Shadows. I was commissioned to write this novel in a very particular way for an online publisher. It felt good to get paid for my writing, but in the end, it was an enormous amount of work for very little payout. If I had time to write full-time, I would devote time to this as it was fun and easy, but overall just not enough bang for my time.
With my re-launch though, I do intend to make a profit and sell books. So, even though I self-published this one as well, I did take the time and money to get professional editing done and a professional book cover design. (So important! Check out why) I have high hopes for A Lost Woman, it has been a lot of work! I've had to DIY my book and my launch. And don't even get me started on the marketing. It's basically a full-time job that I don't have time for.
Which is why for my fourth novel, currently in production with Indigo River Publishing, I have decided to go with a Hybrid Company. I know many authors balk at paying to publish, I was even one of those authors! I never would've paid to publish my book, that is not how publishing works. But, I was wrong. And four years on one book and the time/money required to successfully self-publish showed me that this path was right for me. Taking control over my publishing journey has been a game changer! I could not be happier with my experience and what I am gaining from working with a professional publishing company.
Full Disclosure: I do currently work for Indigo River Publishing, which is how I gained my knowledge on Hybrid Publishing (check out that article!). It is also the reason I have become so passionate about showing authors that there are different paths in publishing.