Ok. Time for some real talk. For some reason this topic is still under debate, and the reason why is because of unicorns. Not the majestic creatures that I totally wish were real, no the unicorns I am referring to are the self published authors who land on the NYT's Bestseller List, who sell 100,000 copies of their books, and become all around urban legends. They exist, they are out there, and yes some have gone the way of traditional publishing. But, here's where I am going to be the bad guy: the self pub market is no longer what it once was, and those unicorns are extremely rare these days.
So, my main point of the above text is: IF YOU WANT TO TRADITIONALLY PUBLISH YOUR BOOK, DO NOT SELF PUBLISH SAID BOOK.
Say it once, say it again, say it multiple times if you think self publishing your book is going to land you a huge book deal with a major house. Because odds are, it's not going to happen.
I promise, I'm not a worst case scenario, doom and gloom person (a lot of people can attest to this). Here, I'm being realistic. Ultimately what happens when you publish that book yourself, if maybe you will sell a few hundred copies, then realize, "wow this is quite a bit of work" and THEN decide, I should be able to get an agent now with my sales and have my book be their problem to sell. Nope. Not happening.
When I get a book that's already been self published and it's good, I'm immediately bummed. I can't sell something that has already been for sale, especially with not very strong sales. So if I'm interested, then I will ask for the next book they have that hasn't been released yet. Agents and publishers want something they can work with you on, and something that hasn't been read by a few hundred people already.
Sorry for the doom and gloom post guys, but they will have to happen occasionally. I'm just getting this one out of the way early.
As always, ask some questions if you have any!