It can be hard to figure out what is the best way to get your work out there. I truly thought there was only one way and that was through a publisher, but that is not true. You can go many ways to get your books or creative work out there. Many go through online sites now that offer a quick way to connect with readers. Everything has its pros and cons though. When you go online it all depends on whether you and the site are willing to put you out there, promote you, and work hard to get your work noticed. You can easily fall into traps because there are a lot of bad sites out there that will take advantage of you and your work. It can also be hard to get noticed when there are so many people out there publishing their work, many do it as a hobby and let their work be free. So it becomes even harder to make a living from it. It can bring in a lot of money though and if you are lucky, winning maybe a competition or two you will get noticed quickly and as soon as just a group of readers have found you it is easier to get more and more. Traditional publishers are more trustworthy though, might have a bigger network to get your work out there and have professional and good editors to make sure your work becomes flawless. When you self-publish even editing becomes your responsibility, and I don't know about you, but I hate editing. I just want to write. Doesn't mean everyone thinks the same and many probably don't mind the editing. I like how through traditional publishers you work in a very professional environment and you know you can often trust them. Neither wants anything bad to happen because it can damage their reputation. Online sites are less afraid of getting a bad reputation because it is so easy to lure in new authors and steal their work and they don't fear lawsuits since they are certain the authors won't have the money or time for it. Through traditional publishers, you might wait for a long time before your books come out there. My longest wait was about two years before the book saw daylight. It's an awful long time to wait, but it was also a good product that came out in the end.
All I can say is, that there are always bad and good sides to everything. Check out what works for you and definitely read the reviews there are on the online sites. It could have saved me a lot of trouble if I had done that.