My goal should be similar to yours: get into the Machine. What is the machine? It's the network system already created to sell books, it's the publisher's. They have steadfast contacts that can get our books sold much easier then we can. They will set up book signings, advertisement, get books in stores, and overall exposure that we simply will have a hard time competing with as self-published authors.
Some people hate publisher's and it's not something you need to stay in until death, but they will help make your name more prevalent while hopefully making you and themselves a tidy profit.