Self publishing is taking off. My experience was with Amazon. All you need is an Amazon account and to follow the step by step guide.
Unknown authors like myself have nothing to lose following this route and everything to gain. Unlike the previous incarnations of self publishing opportunities known collectively and somewhat disparagingly as vanity press, I have not had to pay to get my work out there. Amazon will take 30% of each sale. A small cut I think, given that they produce the ebook and handle the practicalities of the sale.
Marketing and advertising is another matter. This is my problem and a big one. I have no budget as yet to get my work noticed. As with the majority of self publishers I am beginning with friends and relations and my social networking links. Hoping that there will be an exponential rise in sales and general interest. Hoping that my work will stand up to scrutiny and go beyond the narrow market that is friends and family.
I do feel however, that self publishing has created a fledgling democracy for the undiscovered writers. Like many writers I have experienced the depressing de motivating round of attempting and failing to get an agent and a publisher. Had I gone down the vanity press route twenty years ago when I was first writing, I would have had to pay silly money to produce books. Books which then would need distributing to book shops. Twenty years ago, people following this route often found themselves seriously out of pocket with boxes of unsold books, because the issues of marketing and advertising were every bit as difficult as today. However the difference today is that I have no distribution issues because Amazon provides that vehicle for me.
All I have to do is plug away with social networking, hope somebody influential notices or I sell enough to overcome the initial inertia. If it does not work, then so be it, but at least self publishing has given me an opportunity for which I am very grateful for.