It occurs to me that there's really one or two big differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing. In traditional publishing, you of course, submit your manuscript and they, the publishers, decide if they want to publish it. You have less control over your book, but you also have access to editors, which help to polish and shape your book, giving it a smooth, professional read, as well as a professionally done cover. But as a book reader? You wait forever for them to come out. It's not just the time the author takes in writing them, but sending it back and forth between the writer and the editor, making changes and resubmitting, approving the cover, and so on. It can stretch into months after the manuscript is written!
Independent authors who are self-publishing pretty much do everything on their own. I think they're a bit more frazzled, but a lot more in control. Unless they hire an illustrator and a publicist, they do their own covers, and their own promotions. Unless they hire an editor or have a friend do it for them, they do their own editing, which means a book may not be as polished and smooth as it could be. However, they can turn around and put several books out a year, since they can spend their time writing, and don't have to wait for the editor's say so on what needs to be changed or not. THEY decide what needs to be changed. They decide how much promotion to put in. They decide on the cover. They are a lot more involved with their book, from beginning to end. In general, they are able to put out books faster than in traditional publishing.
I don't know which is better. I would love to be popular enough to get a contract with one of the big five, but I'm good doing it all myself too (and Jotham, of course). I like being in control of the entire project, from start to finish, but it would be nice to have someone else take over and do the promotion stuff (I am really bad at it, but I'm getting better).