The LinkedIn.com SMPS discussion group has an interesting thread about self-publishing. Several of my peers have added their comments, outlining the opportunities and some of the pitfalls of producing a book, but generally recommending that, if you have a book “in” you, to take the plunge. I agree, with one reservation. A bad book is just that — and will do you more harm than good. As well, to do it right, expect plenty of up-front stress and effort, and accept that the gratification will be delayed.
Certainly, publishing barriers have eroded. You don’t need to go through a gate-keeper publisher to discover an international market, and service such as Amazon’s CreateSpace can handle many of the chores for you (for a fee). The costs of using these services — and the revenue share to the publisher — are much better than the old “vanity publishers” who would levy hefty fees and leave you with overpriced inventory you could never hope to sell. (The vanity publishers still exist, so be careful about the fees and expectations before you contract out for services.)
The good news, however, is that if you can get through the writing process, you can move things along pretty quickly and discover many alternative channels to sell your book, enhancing your reputation as you generate some cash revenue.