One of the questions I get asked frequently is if self-publishing is a scam or just a bad idea in general.
Is it a scam? Only if you work with a scamming company. If the company wants you to pay them to publish your work, do your homework. They may just be a vanity press, or they could be a scammer. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Is it a bad idea in general? As far as I can tell, the answer really depends on your goals. If you are publishing something that would best benefit a small, specific audience and you are willing to handle the editing and marketing on your own (or can afford to shell out for those services), then you should be fine going the self-publishing route.
If you have poured your soul into a manuscript, but can’t find an agent or publisher for it on your own, you might also want to consider going the self-publishing route. It might be a fine manuscript that didn’t fit the current needs of the agents or publishers.
Like so many things, self-publishing is really what you make of it, and that is based strongly on what you’re willing to put into it. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure you know what you’re getting into.