I asked Margaret Atwood this question and I will paraphrase her answer, as it is interesting and useful. As a self-published author, the chances of you breaking through into the big-time and earning lots of money are slim. However, self-publishing, as well as traditional publishing, is all about how you connect to your audience. You can build up and audience by releasing material through self-publishing but going through an agent / publisher is the way to go. There is a sea of information out there on the Internet and in various books about being published and it can be confusing to take in all of it. One blog or website that Margaret recommended was Chuck Wendig’s www.terribleminds.com. There is a lot of information on this site and you have to hunt for what you want to find. Margaret then asked me how I am distributing my book to which I replied through Lulu for eBooks (as they do not charge for uploads and conversion – so long as you know how to create an eBook), and that I print my books in the UK (she gave me a peculiar glance at this point) and hold releases in The English Bookshop in Stockholm. My advice is this: when you have got your manuscript into shape, draft up a submissions letter and start sending out to agents / publishers no more than six at a time. Typically agents take quite some time to reply and some may not reply at all. If you have got no reply after three months you can either contact the agent or tick them off your list and send a submission to the next agent. For more advice on approaching agents, I recommend this book How to Get Published by Harry Bingham. It is full of great advice and tips.