I'm not spending much time with the RWA crowd, but I have been in the RWA hotel long enough for a few laps around the bar and a bit of a mingle. If there's one thing on everyone's mind right now, it's self-publishing. Pro or con, everyone is thinking about how the rise of direct publishing is going to impact the industry over the long term.
I don't have any answers -- nobody does, really, though we all have ideas and hunches -- but it does seem clear that self-publishing is not an easy fix for most people. In conversation after conversation, people seem unwilling to discuss whether poor sales in either traditional or direct publishing might not have anything to do with the distribution method. It might be all about the book.
A good story, well told, will find its readership. That isn't a magical process. It's not the field of dreams. There is still a need to promote and make readers aware of the story's existence. But good stories tend to grow legs, as they say, and take on a sales life of their own.
I've heard several tales of self-published authors who saw their works rejected by all the romance publishers but refused to change the stories. They scorned traditional houses for wanting them to make revisions, and they tend to talk a lot about how much they embrace changes in the marketplace even as they resist changes to their manuscripts. They self-published but saw poor sales and weak reviews, and that's when they saw any sales or reviews at all. From what I hear, there's a tendency to blame this on promotion efforts rather than on the book itself.
Embrace the changes in distribution if it will help you meet your personal goals. But don't forget that other changes can also help you. Listen to the opinions of educated readers. If an editor or agent tells you that an aspect of your story doesn't work, embrace this help, too. Because maybe it's the industry that needs to change. But maybe, just maybe, it's your book.