The reason romantic fiction (and Christian fiction) works is that it is a well defined genre with readers who are self-organized.
even traditionally published authors are now dabbling in self-publishing, and the survey found this was to good effect: they earned 2.5 times more when self-publishing than did rejected authors or authors who went straight to self-publishing. This suggests, said Cornford and Lewis, that “traditional publishers are decent arbiters of quality” and that “the reading public finds, in these authors’ work, the same high standard (or marketable writing, at least) that led publishers to choose them in the first place”
Authors who tick none of these boxes would be well advised to spend time and money on making a title look professional, the survey found: self-publishers who received help (paid or unpaid) with story editing, copy editing and proofreading made 13% more than the average; help with cover design upped earnings by a further 34%.
Half the respondents failed to reach $500 in royalties in 2011, and a quarter of the books are unlikely to cover the direct costs of production.
also, how are these self published authors finding readers and vice versa – there are no bookstores with display shelves for them?