If you pick one road, you know where each book is going. (Though with traditional, you still have to decide which publisher it goes to.) So how do you pick what book will be self published and what one you'll slide in the query trenches?
This is where I put my business hat on. Because I believe self and traditional are both very acceptable forms of publishing, I look at the books and what I think they'd do better with.
Books I'll Self Publish:
Riding the Trends: Because traditional publishing takes so long, if I write something that is "trendy" I'll probably self publish it to get it out sooner.
Collaborations: If my partner agrees, of course, I will most likely self publish any collaborations. This is all about the splitting of money. There are two of you, meaning your profits are already split 50/50. You both have an agent. So the profit of your 50% has 15% (or whatever your agent's rate is) taken out. You only make half of whatever percent you get from your publisher. (the other half going to your partner) Let's be positive here and say your publisher gives the authors 50% of the each book.
So the math:
The book is 4 bucks
Publisher gives the authors 2 bucks
The authors split the 2 bucks, leaving them both with 1 dollar.
The author's agent takes 15% of that dollar, leaving the profit of each book at .85 to the author.
Now, if you self publish:
The book is 4 bucks
Authors make 70% of that 4 dollars, which is 2.80
They split that money between the two of them, and they make 1.40 every book they sell. Almost double what they would make if they got a publisher who was offering 50% (which I've heard is rare)
Which is why I'll try to talk my collaboration partners into self publishing when I can ;)
Crossovers: A lot of times I write books that could be either Young Adult or New Adult, and I know when I pitch them to publishers I'm going to have to make them one or the other, and I don't want to. So I self publish these ones for creative freedom, and because I'm stubborn like that ;)
Covers: Sometimes I stock photo hunt, and one catches my eye and causes a spark of inspiration. I will write a book for that picture, which turns into my cover. I self publish these to keep control of my cover.
Books I'll Traditionally Publish:
New Adult: Because there is so many self published NAs now, I know having a publisher with wider reach with benefit me more than doing it on my own. (I'm talking my books. I know this won't ring true for everyone.)
Young Adults I Want on the Shelf: There are some books that I dream of seeing on B&N shelf. This hasn't happened yet, but I plan on getting them to my agent and hopefully getting them into the hands of a publisher who will get me there.
Books I Want Under Cassie Mae: Cassie Mae is now a contracted name. If I want it on my book, I need to give it to one of my publishers first.
I know before I start writing a book what I'm planning on doing with it. It's all about timing and my current deadlines, but also the story and what I think is best for it.
I don't find traditional publishing more acceptable than self publishing, or vise versa. Just the same as I don't think indie authors are better or worse than established authors. We're all just... authors. We want to do what's best for us and what's best for our work, and it's going to be different for all of us. Neither form of publishing is invalid or makes an author more "legit." In the end, we're all doing the same thing. We write because we love it, and we publish in the way that is best for us. :)
Spell for the day: