Self-publishing isn’t quite respectable yet, and if you look at the average SP title you’ll see why before you read a word of it. The covers tend to look like inhouse newsletters written when the Mac first launched and everyone discovered fonts. (Alternatively, think GeoCities circa 1996.)
I’m no different; I have the same biases and limits on selfcriticism as any other writer. But there’s a way past it: all you need is a few talented friends.
I have a publishing editor, himself an author, who critiques the story and its structure (savagely). I have a proofreader, a professor of medieaval history who checks grammar and spelling (as savagely as the period she teaches.) And last, I have a professional art director designing my covers, part of my creative team going back 15 years.
Except for a managing editor (who decides whether your subject’s actually publishable) this is the same team a traditional author would have. And the difference it makes is (hopefully) huge. Despite the tiny team and budget, I like to think what I’m doing isn’t so much self-publishing as independent publishing. Like indie music or off-Broadway theatre, it’s often where the quirkiest, most enjoyable stuff is.
Like it or not, only a true genius can produce great stuff working entirely alone. And of those, many aren’t so much authors as ideas guys: most of history’s big thinkers were poor writers. Get your work critiqued, even by a few people, and it’ll prompt you to improve it immeasurably.