Stross can sell the books he writes to publishers. If you can't, self publishing begins to look more interesting. It also looks interesting if you have a back list of out-of-print novels and an audience that might be interested in buying them. -- I have been thinking of self-publishing, out of curiosity. But it would have to be something I couldn't find a publisher for. A poetry book or a chapbook...
It seems to me the easiest thing is to look for a publisher. There are plenty out there. Even a small publisher is better than self-publishing, unless you really enjoy putting books together and marketing them. I'm not a designer; and I know nothing about marketing.
I have written about this before. I go back and forth about self-publishing. I think it's worth doing, if you are realistic about how much you are likely to make from a self-published book. I see the marketing as the problem. Production has become much easier, and there are people who will do it for comparatively modest amounts of money. But how do you get the word out? And how much time and energy will it take? Would you be better off spending the time and energy on writing?
On another topic, I am amazed that Stross can write two books a year. The fastest I have even written a novel was eighteen months. A Woman of the Iron People took me thirteen years. I took off a lot of time in the middle, and wrote another novel. I haven't done the figuring recently, but I used to average about 36,000 finished, publishable words a year. Some years I wrote a lot more. Some years I barely wrote.
Granted, I was working day jobs most of the time. I am writing more rapidly now, though not a lot more rapidly. It has taken me seven months to write one 12,000 word novelette, though it wasn't the only thing I was working on.
Some stories come easily and quickly. I can write a story in a week, if all goes well. But many are difficult.
Kelly and Lyda both write rapidly. Kelly's writing speed is amazing. Partly, they are more disciplined about writing than I am, and partly -- I think -- their natural speed is greater than mine. I mull and brood and revise a lot.