Quick summary: I've written four books. I've self-published the first. I've sent the others to suitable publishers with a kind query to invest in them. Two of them have been rejected by all publishers (and two of them self-published, I'm working on the last). One is still in the limbo of undecided.
What do those rejections mean?
Either I'm not good enough. Which means I'm not one of the best: in writing, just like in sports, you've got to be top before you can earn some money with it.
Or the publishers are stupid and don't see a genius manuscript when they've got one.
Or I've had bad luck: they had, say, ten great manuscripts and only the money to publish one.
I lean towards the first and the third possibility. As for the first, I can improve. As for the third, I can get lucky one day. But.
It takes them an awful lot of time to decide. That undecided one is with them already for two years! I've e-mailed and called them. I've had responses like "very soon" and "in a few days" and "I'm sorry, it's just so busy now here". Several times. They keep me hanging and I've had ENOUGH of it. If I can't trust them to keep their promises on such a decision, how can I trust them if they accept my manuscript and tell me when I should expect my book to be in the bookstores?
So I'm thinking seriously to skip this step next time. Instead of trying to convince a publisher and wait for years and be disappointed and frustrated, I can just get to self-publishing right away. Sell some seventy books, get a break-even and write a next book. Sounds like a good plan.
The only drawback is: if I do that, I officially give up on my dream to become a professional writer. I'd need to accept that writing will be no more than a hobby for the rest of my life.