If you don’t want to make any money from your work then self-publishing is a great idea. If you want to let Amazon make the money out of your hard work then self-publishing is for you. Self-publishing is about a lot of work writing and then spending on an editor, a cover designer and advertising on social media. You will do all the promotion.
The old route, a publisher, used it be about an advance on your work. This was where the money was. Sales of books doesn’t make much unless you are Stephen King et al. Unfortunately, the author advance payments are now becoming rare. Why would you give an author money for their work when so many authors are willing to pay you to get their work out there? And so many are. Just look at Amazon and see the extent of professionally made covers. Those authors can afford to have a good editor also. I expect they have a good day job, because they don’t make a living as a writer.
If you don’t have that professional cover and professional editing, you’ll sell: nothing. If you don’t spend hours promoting your work, you’ll sell: nothing.
Personally I gave up expecting any money from my work a long time ago. It was a nice idea, the reality is that 50% of writers make virtually nothing. The money is made by the top 1% of authors. Many people now have the leisure to write. In the past it was people with money who could do it. I expect now we are all incarcerated at home due to lockdown the market will be swamped. Although, in truth it already was.
Writing is being devalued like most commodities. Next we shall have AI written books and nobody will know the difference. I’m really not joking. I can source the facts from what I am saying but I’ll save that for the assignments. I’m very interested in the politics and the technology so I have looked into it a lot. Especially as I used to work in printing and publishing, then to want to try and publish my work, I’ve really examined the market. Not to mention I did the research during my Writing Access course and my Professional and Creative Writing BA.
Personally I’m glad about self-publishing as I have nice printed copies of my books, all for myself, and I can convince myself that I am a real author, even though I’m a fraud.