I know a lot of authors who have self-published and a lot of authors who have traditionally published (and several who have found an in-between route).
Brent Hartinger, my co-host on Media Carnivores, has done both, so together we were able to have a really interesting podcast discussion about this topic. We are definitely coming at it from two different sides–Brent thinks you should start by attempting to traditionally publish and I think you should start by self-publishing first. But we also both see real benefits to all options.
The conversation went so well that we extended it into a second episode.