* write what you want, not 1) only what is expected to be popular in two years or 2) what agents and editors aren't sick of seeing
* no long, soul-sucking query process
* creative freedom to manage all aspects of the book yourself (title, cover art, editing, release date, subsequent sequels)
* freedom to manage your books the way you want (price, distribution, marketing)
* high royalties (as high as 70% for books of a certain price on Amazon)
* author retains all rights
* complete control of one's career
* ability to release as many books as desired according to the author's schedule, rather than only one or two a year.
Annnd then, the cons list is sort of similar in some aspects:
* no backing from a reputable publisher that might otherwise prompt people to buy your book sight unseen
* brand new ways to be rejected, through reviews, book bloggers, and people who look down on indies
* creative responsibility to manage all aspects of the book yourself (or pay someone else to do it) (title, cover art, editing, release date, etc)
* responsibility for business aspects (distribution, formatting, marketing, price)
* no advance
* lack of distribution/exposure in some places (for instance physical bookstores, libraries, school book lists)
* stigma in the minds of some people (they'll expect shoddy editing, terrible writing, etc)
* not applicable for SFWA and other writer organizations, not eligible for various prestigious awards, etc
As I see it, a lot of the pros are also cons--it just depends on the individual person. For me, the idea of being involved in the cover art and the business aspects gives me a thrill. It'll be a challenge, sure, but it sounds like a load of fun. For others, the thought of formatting their manuscript or doing all the marketing themselves might give them hives. And that's okay. It's not for everybody. I don't even know if it's for me! I have to try it first.
Some of the cons (like the lack of distribution in certain areas and the inability to be a part of certain writing organizations) are reasons I'd still like to be traditionally published too. Of course, who knows how/when that will all change in the future. Indie authors are now eligible to be on the USA Today's Bestseller List, for instance.
When it came down to it, a lot of the things that deter people from indie publishing actually attracted me. It just depends on the person and their goals and desires for their career. I don't know how this will work out, but I'm excited to give it a try.
Can you think of anything I missed?