For the indie author it’s relatively easy to get published. In many cases one can publish for free such as with Create Space and Kindle KDP. The difference is that the authors must rely heavily on ebooks. Sales of physical books are usually small or nonexistent. One can’t expect to find their book at Barnes and Noble, Books a million, or Walmart. That’s what really sucks.
The indie author, especially the self-published ones, often have to rely on trial and error to know if there book is any good. Most, if not all, authors, (including myself) are convinced that their book is one of the great ones so self judgement doesn’t work. Having friends and family read your books is not always a good idea either. Some do not read enough in certain genres’ to make an informed determination. Some friends and family members just don’t want to tell you how bad the book is. The only true judge is to throw that book out there into the market.
Beware of sharks! They’re out there! They don’t care if you worked your butt off to write this book. They don’t care that this is your dream. They don’t even care if you’re going to get better. Perhaps you’ll even end up a best seller. But they don’t care. They will chew you up and spit you out! They won’t say your plot needs some work. They will say that the idea was the dumbest thing they ever read and you should go back to writing children’s books. Or that your dialog was idiotic and you should find another line of work. Some are much worse, but you get the idea.
Bad reviews are good, and one can learn from them if done properly. No one wants to read that a certain reviewer thinks the plot is stupid. That doesn’t tell you anything. Instead one would rather read: the plot needed work. It was rather soft and overdone. This is something I think the author needs to work on. This review would hurt as well, but it’s one you can learn from.