|The reputation of self-publishing--at least in the pre-internet era--wasn't that great. There's a reason that publishing houses catering to non-professional writers were called "vanity presses." Your stereotypical self-published author was a little old lady with a briefcase full of messy manuscript pages, paying thousands of dollars to produce a poorly proofread doorstop that no one read.
And yet some of the greatest creators of all time have ponied up their own cash to see their works in print. Why? Let's find out.