I really want to learn French but I've been told I need to get myself prepped with Esperanto. I heard lernu! is a good site to learn from but does anyone have any advice/suggestions on learning a language that I will basically be self-taught? Or is self-taught just a recipe for failure?
Just learn French.
If you wish to be self-taught, and that is possible, it is good to have a coach, who is a native speaker of French.
First of all, study the language features of French.
Knowledge of the phonetic sounds, the morphology, and the syntax will greatly increase your acquisition of the French language. Listen to children's songs and the news in French. Get some French newspapers, books, and magazines to keep current.
Did you know that American Sign Language comes from the French? So the syntax of American Sign Language is different from English syntax.
Oh, learning Spanish, which is also a Romance language will help you learn French.
And if you wish to learn Spanish, Latin and Greek will help as many words in Spanish are derived from the Latin and the Greek.