Here's what seems clear, though: not everyone is going to succeed in the same path. I suspect that choosing what's right for you comes down to your personality and what you want from this writing adventure.
Also, I've made a quiz. Because I love quizzes. Jot your answers on a separate sheet (or write them on your forearm in Sharpie; not judging). Here goes:
1. Having a cover that looks exactly like the character and setting from the story is
A. Not as important as having a cover that conveys tone and genre, so readers aren't surprised.
B. Nice but not really my focus. I'm about writing the stories.
C. The most important thing.
2. If you absolutely had to reduce costs in the production of your book, you'd skip
A. Starbucks for a month. Or gym membership. All's I know is nothing about this book is gonna get skipped. This baby is gonna shine.
B. Editing. I know how to use commas and write clean. Plus I ran this thing through Autocrit, so it's good enough.
C. Celebratory vino for release day. Possibly the Amazon ad.
3. A line edit is
A. Close enough to a copy edit that one contractor could probably do both.
B. A what-what?
C. In my budget, and I have a great service scheduled to do it.
4. My primary goal for my writing career is to
A. Make enough money at writing to quit the day job.
B. Earn accolades, awards, and starry trade reviews.
C. Turn out the best-quality story I can, every time.
5. I consider myself a risk-taker
A. Heck yeah and bring on the sky-diving.
B. No. And I think I'm getting sick just at the thought.
C. Um, is that thing safe? If it is, sure, why not just one jump.
6. It's release day for your very first book. What's the worst thing that can happen today?
A. Seller's web site doesn't have the buy links active until after noon, meaning I'm on the phone and annoyed and losing money, but we WILL get this sorted.
B. No one even knows the book is out. No one sees it. No one reviews it or mentions it on social media. No one buys it. Holy wibblefest, am I even a real writer?!
C. Just...today? Like, one day? Man, I'm in this for the long haul. Tell me the numbers in six weeks or so, and then we'll see if we need to panic or change things up. Today, I'm just going to sip some celebratory vino and plot out my next opus.
For items 1 - 3, count 1 point for As, 2 points for Bs, and 0 points for Cs. For items 4-6, tally 0 points for As, 3 points for Bs, and 1 point for Cs. Total your points.
If you got...
0-5 -- You got this and would probably rock the indie path.
6-10 -- Consider branching out and building a career as a hybrid author. Indie first or trad first: do what works best for you, just realize that you can have the best of both worlds.
11-15 -- Keep querying. You will probably be most comfortable with a publisher at your back, at least at the beginning.
So, how'd you do? Is the quiz bunk? All your thoughts, I'm ready to hear 'em.