For each of us, the publishing decision is or will be based on the material we have, yes, but also on a host of personal factors.
One of the most important and difficult is timing: Where am I on the long road to perfecting my craft? When is my book “ready”? That’s a hard question, because it demands that we look deeply and honestly at our work, wash out as much extraneous ego as we can, and make a decision. Agents lament that their slush piles include a lot of not ready for primetime work. My solution is to let my critique groups’ comments drive me to a definition of my own writing maturity.
A hard question, because the road to quality never ends. At some point, you have to put the toe in the water, realize the water’s cold, say f**k it, and do a cannonball.
I hope to make a splash.
Next: Decision, Part Two