I've learned and confirmed a few things publishing my own books. First is that of all the writers I know, I am the happiest and best suited to self publishing. I am convinced that I am writing what I must write, and that it should publish, and in the form of the manuscripts I write in. I therefore need complete control and authority over the publishing process - absent, that is, a publisher falling all over themselves to please me, which cannot and should not happen. Whether anyone reads the books - well, my view is that if the work merits reading, it will be read. If it prompts consideration, there will be discussion. My job is to do the work and make it available. My job ends there. I do not have to promote my work - i.e., no readings, thank you lord.
More on the plus side: self publishing provides optimum control over my time. From start to finish - assuming a manuscript in hand - I can publish a book in under five hours. Then quiet descends, my obligations have been discharged, my mind is clear, and I can write something new.
I am fortunate. I do not have to make a living from writing - by editing or teaching, let's say. If I were teaching, this avenue would be closed to me. I would be compelled to seek a disinterested publisher for my work. If I were an editor, I would be that publisher for other writers. Neither of those livings appeal to me.
For one thing, being the poet I am, I find it helpful, from time to time, to forget everything I know about writing. I certainly have forgotten whatever I once knew about contemporary writing and theory. Oh, it's kicking around in me in some way, having been assimilated to some degree. But not having to explain myself or others is a great relief. A constant, refreshing relief.
For another, I am not in competition for that prize, that book contest, that award, etc. I leave all that to people who would benefit from it, who make a living from writing. Not that I would win a thing, trust me.
And, well, let's face it. Most of my models are very, very dead. And not one of them taught writing - or was even an editor, now that I think about it. Most had independent incomes, besides which there are a couple doctors, a lawyer, a couple politicians, and an insurance salesman.
What choice does anyone have, really, but to write and publish as best one can?