A message forum for general discussion. Please come and chat with others!
Self-publishing is awesome. It allows you to mint the product you've worked so hard on. It may not sell because bigger books with more backing are crowding in front of it, but it also wont do you any good sitting in your desk drawer as a stack of loose leaf. Having your words bound and looking awesome, prepackaged for anyone who cares to read them is special. The only difference between that and having them on a bookstore shelf is of hobbyist and professional.
Hobbyists are often incredibly talented, creative, and on par or even above that of professionals. Pros are just there because they managed to drop into that groove where people will pay them money. For a hobbyist, a rejection from an agent might be nothing more than, "You're not conformist enough." Cool story, that's not why these books were written. Again, it comes back to your goals. If you want to sell books through the traditional route, you need to research what they want and align that with your capabilities. Essentially, you're working for someone, a second job that probably wont match your primary job's pay for several years, a decade. Ever.
Or, you do what you need to keep writing. What's the thing with horseback riding? You gotta fall 5 times before you're a real rider? Publish the trilogy, write the fourth. See what works and (this is important to progress) what didn't work. Criticism, while painful in the early stages, is not an assault on your ability. "Written by a child" just means it needs more editing. "Shallow characters" need more attention and kinetic interaction with your world. All that work builds the craft to a point where people may not always love your content, but appreciate your delivery and the storytelling.