GMW, I agree that self publishing is easier on the "get in the door" side of things. But as has been proven by a number of very successful self published authors, it's not what you are, but what you wrote, and to a lesser degree who you are. Now, in the age of print media, the barriers to entry were insanely high, and going any route other than the big houses meant guaranteed failure.
However, about 1998-2000 that all changed. By then the internet was firmly established, marketing was going online, and the barriers to entry were rapidly falling. At that point you could become a popular and successful author with just a vanity press, access to Ingram (via said press), and a good online marketing campaign, plus a few of the old school tricks like book signings.
Since about late 2006, and most especially Christmas 2010 and onward, all you need is a good novel in ebook form, a good cover that popps, a website, a few social media links, and a few trusted distributors, such as Smashwords, Amazon, and BN. Beyond that, it's just good interaction and self marketing (not even the high dollar kind) by you via social media, and you're golden. No longer do you need any publishing houses, nor print books, nor Ingram, nor any of that since the bar is pretty much ground level for almost everyone now.
So being self published these days, although it does cost to get in the door, is really the best way to go these days. And before anyone says, "but it doesn't cost you to submit to and get published by the big houses!" I would like to say bull. You have envelopes, paper (usually it requires the expensive kind if you even remotely want to have a snowballs chance of being considered by most big house), ink, postage, and more. The only way you'll come out dollars ahead of a self published author at this point is if you submit 10 or less queries and get picked up immediately. So in the end you're really ahead of the game being self published these days.
And yes, I'm with a small house press, but I'm not a hypocrite on what I said. When I first signed up years ago it was still best to go the big/small press route rather than self publishing. But that's all changed in the last 18 months. At some point in the future I'll probably completely jump the publisher ship and go entirely self published as that seems to be the best route to go these days. Especially with the traditional publishing houses going the way they are.