I self-published a novel called Unrest, set during the prelude to the Iranian Revolution; it was hard work to self publish; mistakes made, agonizing decisions and no real experience. I got a bad review of my book cover from a nasty website called lousybookcovers.com. I then hired a designer who created a lovely book cover that perfectly told the story of my novel with one glance. I bought my own ISBN from Bowker and my Print on Demand Partner (PoD) was Create Space. When I realized I couldn't get into book stores wth Create Space or have libraries buy my work, I switched to Ingram Spark/Lightning Source as my POD partner. My local bookstore, and others, had taken my book on consignment back when I used Create Space and had never paid me, despite my asking several times. Yet, I didn't want to fight for $3.50 of profit on each book. To every self-published author, consignment is so not the way to go!!
I left my novel with Amazon's Kindle for the e-book version after I created it myself with Calibre, but took the Create Space print version off their expanded distribution, had my ISBN released to Ingram Spark/Lightning Source. With them, I was able to create a bonafide hard cover book with a jacket. Smooth to the touch and beautiful. Classic. I had a matte paperback version that was of very good quality. Bookstores could order it and carry it (I allowed returns) and I did not have to deal with non-payment through consignment. I did not create an e-book with Lightning Source as I did not want to go through the same arduous task of transferring yet another ISBN, and Amazon was supposed to be the best e-book seller evah! (I'm from Boston). I haven't seen many sales of my Kindle book lately or evah, really. My best sellers have been through Ingram Spark/Lightning Source, all print versions. The best marketing results I've ever enjoyed was through LibraryBub. And that's it. Because I'm not great at book marketing.
Other escapades one might experience when self-publishing might include acquiring permissions for poetry at title headings and song lyrics, and then having to pay dearly for them. Not cheap. I researched how to do all of that, contacted the appropriate people to provide the permissions, worried that they might not. And paid them.
I made the mistake of asking questions of successful published authors, who did not like my questions at all; although they liked it if I bought their books. I even got scolded by one author because I asked her if she might be interested in reading my novel and also posed a question about permissions. She chose to post to her Facebook page about my post and how she didn't like the question and couldn't read anything due to legal considerations. I was, frankly ... embarrassed. I can't read a book she's written today, without recapturing that embarrassment. She's a prolific author who releases many novels. So... I was crushed. Previously, I'd asked a local Haverhill/Newburyport author for advice (he had spoken at my local library and seemed approachable), but my questions were left unanswered; I felt almost like a stalker. Please note that if you are writing a novel, do not ask successful writers for advice or help on any account, or you will be sorely embarrassed.
Other publishing faux pas! There are so many. I had a development editor edit my first draft; she was awesome, recently let go from Penguin Books; she served to shape my writing and my novel, Unrest. I would so highly recommend this woman, but she came with such a price tag that I could not afford anything else. Development editing is not cheap. I attempted to secure a line edit from another firm I found on line, and she was only willing to do a development edit, despite my already having one done. You have to be careful about what you are asking of your potential editors.
So in a nutshell, this is my publishing advice to anyone who wishes to self publish. :)