For a lot of people, a book that didn't survive the querying trenches (or ensuing the submission stage) eventually gets shelved. It's viewed as a learning experience, having served its purpose as a book that needed to be written before an author could go on to write the book that gets them where they're going. For others, shelving a book they've slaved over is too heartbreaking, and self-publishing is an option.
Which route is better? Well, that depends. If you're still pursuing a traditional publishing career, self-publishing could potentially hurt you down the road, especially if the book you self-publish is vastly different in style and genre than the book you're eventually signed for. It's hard to develop a strong debut author brand when an old self-published novel is kicking around. The power of your debut is diminished, especially if the self-pubbed book really wasn't up to snuff.
But if you've decided the traditional publishing route isn't for you, isn't self-publishing better than letting your story collect dust in a drawer? Again, that depends. Personally, I'd never recommend that someone invest their savings into self-publishing a book (unless they're an established author who has a strong following and is making the jump from traditional publishing to self-publishing, but that's a whole separate issue). If you have the money to do it (without the spend having adverse effects on your family/life) then I'd say self-publishing is a good option if you'd really like to see your story in book form (or ebook form).
|"I'm so glad I decided to self-publish my book about reading with your eyes closed..."|
Do you have prior works of art that didn't achieve their initial purpose? Did you go on to find them a good home elsewhere?
Anybody have good lead on where I should submit my YA sci-fi short story? :)