I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
These days, a vast army of indie writers is charging along more or less the same well-worn path to presumed self-pubbed fame and fortune. But what's exciting about the writing business now is the enormous variety of possible approaches to creating a market for one's work.
Take Michael Ennis, for instance. Having been rejected by several publishers, Ennis took his case straight to booksellers. He self-published a small run with Lulu, sent 48 copies to high-end booksellers, and about half responded positively. With interest thus demonstrated, Ennis was able to sell his book's rights at six figures to a traditional imprint.
Did Ennis sell himself short? Possibly. He might have done far better, in the long run, by continuing along the self-publishing route. But that option is always open for another day, and for now the author has managed to make a splash in the publishing world (and around it) in relatively short order. Not a bad year, by almost any writer's standards!