Turning literary rejection into success
Sometimes you write a manuscript, it gets rejected by agents and publishers, and eventually you realize it wasn't as good as you thought, but you were too close to it to see the flaws. And then there are other manuscripts that kick around inside your head and tell you they deserve life someday, even if you need to take time off and eventually rewrite.
Here is a wonderful blog entry: http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life by a woman who wrote a young-adult book that drew some great feedback from publishers. But no houses were willing to take it on. She had so much faith in it that she decided to self-publish it...and it actually has done well!
The truth is, most self published books won't find much of an audience. And sometimes books get rejected because they're simply hard to get through. They may mean a lot to the writer, but they're not interesting or readable to anyone else.
But there have been a few success stories, and nowadays, thanks to the new trend in electronic publishing, even semi-successful, agented authors are turning to self publishing. This way, they get more input into their cover art, their design, their marketing. The essay is interesting reading for anyone who's ever had a manuscript he or she just didn't want to give up on: http://indiereader.com/2012/06/how-amazon-saved-my-life/