There was a time no so long ago, when the only people who used 'self-publishing' to promote their work were retired schoolmasters or scientists with a theory to promote. The trade in general frowned upon such lowly souls - not anymore !
Thanks to the introduction of digital printing, the days of the P.O.D. (print on demand) book ) are well and truly with us. Even the largest publishing houses have adopted this sytem for their slower selling, catalogue books (Although some of them are still loath to admit it)..
So what exactly is P.O.D. ?
Print on demand publishing comes in various forms, but the basic principle remains the same - allowing small run publishing of independent works to reach the market place.
How impressive these works are is very largely up to you, here are some pointers based on real life cases.
Ensure your manuscript is of a professional standard. It's no use going to the trouble of printing a piece of work that is either badly edited or poorly researched.
Know your market. Have a look at what other authors and publishers in your chosen field are doing.
Aim high. The book market is very competitive, so whether your potential reader is buying on Amazon or from a high street retailer, they will be aware of book covers, good intro's and the general appeal of the book.
Find a good P.O.D publisher. As in all walks of life there are good and not so good publishers. Be cautious if you cannot contact your publisher easily - you will need this facility to smooth your way through the process. A good publisher in this field will want you to do well as this reflects on their reputation.
Be ready and willing to promotee your work. To a certain extent printing your story is the easiest part of the package. You can't expect a P.O.D publisher to print your works for a couple of hundred pounds, then promte it as well. It just cannot be done, not without a great deal of determination and 'HARD WORK 'on your part.
That's the negatives, the positives of this method of publishing are very worthwhile. Even if you don't go for the conventional retail route and stick to on-line sales, given time and persistence, you can achieve very satisfactory sales.
Good Luck !