For What It's Worth:
I have spent the best part of the past year researching both the traditional publishing route and the self publishing route. I have watched the entire video series on self publishing by JW. It seems to me that if you want to self publish, then Ron is right, marketing is key (says so in JW video series). The issue for many of us more mature folk (!) may be that digital marketing is anathema to us. I abhore social media and technology yet it is clear to me that I have to have an author website, build up an e-mail marketing list (very very difficult indeed for debut authors) and engage at least to some degree in FB,Twitter, book blogger sites etc. I am not going to do it. It will kill me before my book gets read by anybody! Instead of prostituting myself in this way, I have decided that I am going to get a pimp! I will invest my money not in a full manuscript assessment but in a year's worth of marketing done by a digital marketing expert, overseen by me. I will do some face to face PR and radio if I can get it. I have confidence and faith in my writing and truly believe that this is what will get my writing seen, along with a very well designed book cover and jacket blurb. It was only when I read the stats about what authors can earn SP rather than the trad route that I truly understood why the trad route must be on its knees. I have been a business woman all my life and as far as publishers and literary agencies are concerned, I don't think I have ever seen a more unsustainable way of operating a business.
As a newbie and debut novel writer, what does intrigue me, is that a really rubbish book, if marketed properly can still get good sales but those readers are unlikely to buy the next in the series I am guessing? So the debut novel does have to be really good, you need to write a lot of free stuff, and preferably a series if you want long term success and ongoing and relentless marketing is pre-requisite. I suspect younger authors find this much easier.
I would be intrigued to know what others think.