I've recently hired some professional proofreaders for all four of my novels this year, and my novels with respect to the Word document have already been professionally formatted. I already applied my proofreader's suggestions and I hired two of them. But regardless, despite me still querying agents, I am having doubt that these agents would see the potential for my novels to make money. I am seriously thinking of self-publishing by next year if I can't find an agent by then, even when I register for a writer's conference that starts in October. But my question to you all is, if I proceed with self-publishing, how would I go about getting my books in actual bookstores? I don't really buy books online, I often shop at Barnes and Noble and the public library. How would I go about self-publishing in general?
I've got a book tucked away in a storage box somewhere, where many of my writing books are kept, which I read some years ago, which is dedicated to real-world self-publishing. If I find it, I'll post the title and ISBN here. The book itself was self-published by an author who was a successful self-publisher. I remember reading about typefaces and formatting and all that jazz, but also how to become your own marketer and set about getting your self-published books onto shelves. If I remember correctly, he did say it wasn't always feasible to get the books into the chain vendors like Waterstones, because they sourced their books predominately from particular suppliers.
Even so, my further advice would be to investigate Amazon, which offers a path for self-published works. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US?ref_=kdpgp_p_uk_psg_kw_ad42. I do appreciate that you don't buy books online much, but most of your potential readers probably do, and Amazon and other online book stores would probably be the first place they look, even just to see reviews and read a couple of pages from your books.
The other thing you can do is pay for a professional website that showcases your available book(s), even if you can't purchase them yet, and go on a Udemy course about social media marketing to help you develop an online marketed presence. Like it or not, your survival as a self-published author these days is probably going to rely a lot on your online profile.
One final thought: You are going to find it difficult getting a self-published book onto shelves in the mainstream multi-store vendors unless you have a successful marketing campaign and some traction with sales already. The most ubiquitous way currently is through the internet, like it or loathe it.
I did see a short TV slot where a self-published author sold his book on the street during busy shopping periods - though you are going to saturate momentum without an online presence and selling mechanism.
I've been an aspiring author during the early days of e-commerce when Amazon wasn't the giant it is now, and I did a lot of reading and research into self-publishing, which seemed at the time to have constricted outlets, due to the stranglehold the big mainstream publishers had on the book industry at the time. It took a number of developments to end that - one of them was Stephen King self-publishing a novel online, offering each chapter for USD$1, while taking recommendations and plot updates from readers via email. It was so successful, he announced he was considering following the self-publishing route to maximize earnings and remove the shackles of the publishing houses. Whether he did that or not is another story. No pun intended.