But it is the second of those three loves that gives me the clue to my answer. I am a story-teller first and foremost (or at least, I think I am! - but that's another question...). I don't mind if I have to have a "day job" for the rest of my life, I'm not in this for the money. But if my writing is published, I want it to be read. I want it to be available to anyone who might enjoy it - and I mean available in a genuine rather than a superficial sense; I want people who enjoy reading to be able to find it, obtain it and read it, through straightforward and familiar routes and normal outlets, and via channels where there is a certain guarantee of quality. At the moment, that still means conventional publishing and conventional bookshops, and the online equivalents such as e-book sales as offered by conventional publishers.
In twenty years' time it may be different, but at the moment, as I see it, that's the state of affairs. Indeed, I find it hard to imagine it changing significantly for a long time, if ever. I don't mean that I think electronic publishing generally is going nowhere - that obviously isn't the case. But online self-published material comes without the safety net (from the readers' PoV) of having received an objective assessment; anyone can stick their writing online, and if it's no good (or even absolutely NBG) that is no impediment to them. At the moment, I can't see how a framework can ever develop, within the field of online self-publishing as a whole, for guaranteeing the quality of the writing. Perhaps eventually there will come to be recognised "better" online self-publishing outlets, alongside places where anything at all can be issued. Yet any system administered by the writers themselves has many possible problems and weaknesses.
In conventional publishing that framework for assessment already exists, and has done for years. It may be flawed in places (is any system devised by and administered by people truly flawless?) but it's there and by and large it works.
So if I want to be read, by more than a handful of people, I need to be published, and so I am left with the slog.
Dear XXXX, I enclose the synopsis and sample chapters of my novel blah for your kind attention... Followed by a three month wait (or longer) to get another polite "No".