Kickstarter campaign for a novel I've written, but why would I want to self-publish a book instead of going through a publishing house? Doesn't that prove that my work is sub-par? Aren't all self-published books second-rate?
Depending on who you ask, you'll get different answers. Twelve publishing houses rejected J.K. Rowling. Fifty rejected the author of The Help. Does that make those books sub-par?
Publishing houses were the gatekeepers of the print world. Their skill and business savvy determined what did and did not make it into print. But they aren't the arbiters of quality, just profitability. Any publisher on the block will take a successful author over a nobody and a recognized name over a new one--even if the book isn't as good. It's easier to sell a crappy book with a famous name attached to it. It's business.
As the noose tightens, it gets harder for people to break in to the publishing scene, so they need to do it on their own. They use the tools they have available to make the best product they can and distribute it to the widest audience they can reach. If they were musicians or film makers, we'd celebrate them as indie artists. But when they're authors self-publishing we call it "vanity press."
Did you know that publishers don't market books anymore? They used to send authors on a book tour, take out ads in magazines and generally market the book to make it successful. Not any more (most of the time). Nope, it's up to the author to market their own books. Publishers want authors with a platform (a pre-existing audience) so they can be sure of sales.
I've published two books so far People of Purpose (through a publishing house) and The Marriage Challenge (self-published). In six months with a professionally published book, I sold just under 1,000 copies and made 7% royalty. In six months with a self-published book, I sold just under 1,000 copies and made a 70% royalty.
Why should I do all the work of marketing my book for a 90% discount? Would you do the same job for 90% less money?
But what about quality? What about the process of editing that publishing houses have in place?
You're right, some terrible, sub-par books are self-published. That's why I want to have my novel professionally edited. That's why I want to pay for professional graphic design.
I learned a lot about self-publishing by doing it (and from reading about other's who've done it and been successful like Rob Kroese). I learned what I did wrong and what I did right. I've been studying the successes and the failures. I think I've done what's necessary to be a success.
So, did I sell you? Then go and pledge some money to see it happen!