Publishing is such an extensive subject -- with large publishing houses, smaller publishing houses, e-publishing, POD (print on demand) publishers, and self-publishing.
Since this subject is so generous, I'm going to break it down into separate blogs. Granted, I'm no expert on the subject, but I can draw from my experience -- starting with e-publishing.
I remember when books that were e-published were not considered to be 'real books'. Trust me, it's sad to hear that, because e-published authors aren't the only ones to contend with that stereo-type. I'm published through a smaller publisher with a small print-run, and even with an actual print-run, I had to really push that I was a 'real' author because my publisher wasn't well-known. I will elaborate more on that in an upcoming blog.
I have to admit that I do understand the hesitation of some to accept e-published books. In the earlier days of e-publishing; demand was very low, and it was thought that the only people who got e-published were those who couldn't get picked up by a 'real' publisher. That's a tough reputation to overcome. And, in all honesty, there were and still are some poorly edited stories popping up. But hey, that's happened with even the most reputable, larger publishing houses.
That being said, wanting to be e-published is a choice. It offers some pretty good incentives, yet some pretty big draw-backs too.
Some incentives are e-books are cheaper for the consumer, environmentally friendly, and have a low overhead so the author gets a bigger cut of the royalties. That's pretty sweet. And with all the new e-reader devices, the future looks bright!
On the other hand, you won't see your book in bookstores or libraries. The stereo-type of not being a 'real' author will be an issue. You will need to promote yourself online A LOT to get your name out there and sell e-books. And what if you want to do book signings? Of course, some e-publishers do offer a POD (print on demand) option. So, you could order books for a signing, but you would need to purchase the books first, and unfortunately, some bookstores can be unreceptive to POD authors.
Have I turned you off of e-publishing? I hope not, cuz like I said earlier, it really comes down to an author's choice. You need to ask yourself: What do I want out of my career as an author? How big do I want to go? How much time do I want to invest?
Once you know the answers to these questions -- your choice should be easy.