When you write your own book without any kind of commissioning, 100% of the launching is on you. The way I did it (see it here: Love Well) was to hire an editor, hire a graphic designer for my cover, hire a distributor, and then figure out the publishing myself—all unpaid until you guys buy a lot of books. I am an uneducated amateur in this, so really I'm fumbling around trying to find my way, probably re-inventing the wheel.
I chose this route because everything I'd heard about big name publishing was not what I wanted. The only draw would have been getting paid in advance of sales, but even that is minimal for a no-name as myself. I don't know of any big name publishers who actually promote their small name authors. Your book just gets put on a giant list of books for sale with ten thousand other little small name authors.
I didn't want to be micromanaged. I didn't want to do all the labor that comes with trying to win a publishing deal a hundred different times and get the corresponding ninety-nine rejections. I didn't want the kind of oversight that would change my voice or my message. I didn't want to make a bunch of money for someone else when I would be getting paid pennies. I didn't want to keep having to publicizing myself while they'd be reaping most of the profit.
Overall I liked the distributer I picked, but self-publishing comes with drawbacks as well, like the one I'm currently experiencing. I have paid lulu.com to print and globally distribute my book for me. They did a good job except for one thing… the kindle version is still not available three months after hitting "submit". Hoping this one gets resolved soon.
Unsplash photo cred: Liz Brenden