At times, I doubt myself. Particularly because no agents would take on my book. I feel as though a traditional publisher would help me get the publicity I need to sell books and get my name out there. I just wrote about it the other day, in fact (http://saskiaeakyil.blogspot.de/2012/06/give-up-no-not-yet.html).
And then I read this blog post (thanks, Krisiny!!!) and realized that, as an unknown first-time author, having a traditional publisher and agent might not have helped me at all. I just need to keep plugging away at guest blogging and other forms of publicity, because someone might read my book because of it. And if they do, they might like it. And if they like it, they might tell a person or two about it. And if they do... that's how it really works for unknown writers. A lot of hard work and word of mouth.
Amazon was so thrilled with the post, which is by a previously traditionally published author who disses traditional publishers and praises Amazon/Createspace/KDP, that they made it a front-page story. Which will totally help Jessica Park sell books, further convincing her that self publishing is better than traditional publishing for her. One of her best points as far as I'm concerned is that certain character ages fall into a black hole of literature - there is no "category" for 13-year-olds (too old for middle grade, too young for YA), no category for 18-25 year-olds...it's ludicrous. And it is absolutely the fault of the large publishing houses who market books as they do. I actually wanted to write a book about a 13-year-old, but was reminded that there's no category for that.
I'm still not 100% convinced that self-publishing is actually better... Ms. Park did have publisher backing for years, which surely gave her a feeling of legitimacy and she surely benefited from that publisher's connections - it is incredibly hard to get self-published books reviewed. I will still try to get an agent for my next book. I will still enter it into contests. But if, in the end, I decide to self publish again, I won't feel too bad about it.
Thank you, Jessica Park, for helping self-published authors gain some legitimacy!