If you're an author considering the self-publishing route, CNET editor David Carnoy has done you a huge favor with this recent article. It's all about the lessons he learned when self-publishing his novel, Knife Music. Despite the possibility of publishing with a smaller traditional house, and against the wishes of his agent, David opted for Amazon's BookSurge program. It's not just about BookSurge though; Carnoy did a fantastic job writing this article or every author considering any self-publishing solution.
In item #5 on his list, "the odds are against you," Carnoy estimates that the typical self-published book only sells about 100-150 copies...in its life. At first that sounds pretty low but you have to factor in all those books that sell less than 10 copies, and I'm sure that number is enormous. As he notes, he has no data to back this up but I wouldn't be surprised to find his range is close to reality.
Item #6 helps answer the age-old question, "why does it take so long for a traditional publisher to produce my book?!" The self-publishers have great models to enable fast publishing but it does take time to craft and develop a book that feels more professional. There are exceptions of course, but Carnoy does a fine job explaining the pros and cons here (as well as in point #12).
He goes on to talk about pricing, packaging and promotional opportunities, specifically Amazon's "Buy x Get y" program; I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up post he's promised on the results of the latter, btw.
Overall, I'd say this is by far the best summary I've ever read about the state of self-publishing, what to watch out for and how to succeed. My only gripe is that he didn't spend enough time talking about the importance of author platform, which is critical in the self-publishing world. He touches on it in item #18 but I think it warrants an entry all to itself. Otherwise though, this is a fantastic resource for all authors interested in self-publishing.