My dad sent me this link a while back (How Amazon Saved my Life), and it gave me the bravery and motivation to do it myself. Dusted was doing nothing but gathering dust but, thanks to that article, I was up and going less than a week after reading it.
It really made me think "Why the heck not?" I mean really, what do I have to lose? Dusted was just sitting there doing nothing but actually getting harder and harder to publish as more books are released.
I feel like I have more of a chance now, and I'm not as frustrated. I can actually tell people "I'm a novelist" rather than "I'm an unpublished author, but I hope to be published one day..." It's given me the gumption to keep going. I'll admit I haven't sold a lot of copies ("Look kids, I bought this pack of gum with my own money that I earned being a novelist!") but I don't have to worry about a publisher pulling it off the shelves, or refusing to accept another manuscript because I did so terribly last time, or catch flak because I'd posted a preview of my next novel that they'd had the rights to publish. With self-publishing, it may not be glamorous and, to me, it may not be super profitable, but it's out there, and it's what I want it to be.
That, my friends, is freedom in publishing.