Like most writers I spend some time going through the Amazon novels reading the first few pages out of interest. And I look at who has published them. Most self published books seem to be just that. Using the Amazon Createspace and Kindle software on line is simple even for a technophobe like me.
But I keep seeing books published by publishers that one pays to publish the book. I isn't difficult to separate the ones you pay from the ones you don't.
So my question is: Why would one pay someone to do something one can do just as easily and probably better?
This is a different topic to paying someone to advertise your work.
Fran, things were much different in the publishing world a mere 10-15 years ago. It was almost exclusively a traditional print world. Publishers acted like an exclusive fraternity, rejecting most of the manuscripts and synopsis that came before them from unpublished authors. It was almost impossible for a new author to get his work published, unless you caught that one in a million break.
It was catch 22. You couldn't get published unless you had an agent, and you couldn't get an agent unless you were published. They were judge, jury and God. I suspect the traditional publishing world is still very much like that, even to this day. I remember when I started writing, I filled a whole brief case with rejection slips and frustration.
In particular, I recall receiving one rejected manuscript back in the mail. It had been stuffed in a yellow manilla envelope that was much too small to hold it. It had broken open in the mail, and looked like it had been restuffed and retaped several times on its route by uncaring postal employees. It was treated like garbage and looked like garbage when I got it back. And then, they made me go to the post office to sign for it and retrieve it. It was definately one of the lowest points and humbling moments of my writing life .
Yes, things are better now, and the traditional publishing world is taking a beating. I'm not going to go so far as to say I'm happy about that, but at the same time I'm not going to offer much sympathy for them, either.
Good luck to you on your self publishing endeavors. Excuse any spelling errors, I can't seem to find any spell check on here.