If you want a super introduction to the benefits of indie publishing, especially over traditional publishing, read Joe Konrath’s Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog (and the book derived therefrom) and Konrath and Barry Eisler’s Be the Monkey (both available via Amazon). They were early visionaries and vocal proponents of indie publishing who helped liberate countless writers, including me. Now Konrath and Eisler are taking on the Author’s Guild, which continues to advocate for old-school publishing (which IMHO benefits no one but the publishers and a few already-rich-and-famous writers). Read their take here.
When I was a kid there were all these ominous ads on TV warning against the evils of “pay TV.” I didn’t know wtf they were talking about but decades later I realized that those ads were from the networks and they were warning about … cable. (And well they might.)
I’m also thinking of how for decades the traditional publishing industry devoted so much energy to despising “vanity publishing.” Why, if it was such a fringe activity? Because it really wasn’t. Some vanity press activity was definitely exploitive, but there has always been a lot of successful (in every sense) self-publishing going on, including by some of the greats. (Milton identified it as a form of writer’s rights in Areopagitica).
I find many writers still feel they need to be “legitimized” by traditional publishing. What a dead end. Joe and Barry were instrumental in my being liberated from that dead end view (and countless others), and I also want to give a shout out to Jennie Crusie’s classic essay, A Writer Without a Publisher is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle: Writers Liberation and You.