Self-published books are a market. In every market you find good items and bad ones, you just have to sort through them. How do you decide which one is good? In the old days an editor would decide that. This seems to be the frame of mind that Michele has. I think this is why she is so judgmental when she says most self-published books suck. In the new model the editor is no longer the gatekeeper, it is the reader who makes this decision. This leads to the question of how to distinguish between a book that does not sell because it is considered "bad" by readers, and a book that does not sell because it is not visible to enough readers.
I have just self-published a book of short stories, The Sun Zebra, and it is not selling as well as I would like. The writers that I admire and respect who have read the stories tell me they liked them, and they have read the book to other people that don't even know me, and those people like the stories, too. I have made a great effort to correct aspects of the plot and grammar in the stories. Like many other writers, I know my book may not be perfect, but it doesn't "suck". The problem I (and many other writers) have is marketing. If only we could make our books more visible, I am willing to bet that more people would be willing to buy and read them. And if they do, they would find they like them.
I am sorry that Michelle had such a bad experience but she can hardly fault self-published writers from trying their best to promote their books. After all, it's a jungle out there. Pushy? Rude? Self-absorbed? Maybe, but don't we have a saying that "The squeaky wheel gets the grease?" If you don't love your book, if you are not willing to push it and cross all those hurdles, who will? I believe in good manners, and respect towards others, but sometimes "nice" becomes synonymous with "ignorable", and that is bad for marketing.
To Michelle and her bookstore I have two pieces of advice.
The first advice is: Set filters. State, for example, that you will not even consider taking a look at a book unless it has gathered so many 5 star reviews from other authors, or sold so many copies, or unless the author has a mailing list of so many people, or a blog with so many hits, or a presence in social media with so many followers, etc. This will reduce the flood of self-published authors knocking at your doors and will only let through those willing to work hard to market their books and find an audience.
The second advice: Stop thinking in terms of whether the story is good enough for editors to read and start thinking in terms of whether it will be the sort of story that normal people would like to read. Normal people don't have a tenth of the grammar and writing skills of editors. What is important for an editor may not be important for a normal person. The grammar, the formatting, the cover, and even the plotline and characters can be changed to make them better, but what is paramount is the story itself and how it speaks to readers. That is the soul of the book, without it the book is nothing and no editor can improve upon it regardless of whether the book is self-published or not.
I want to thank everyone who left a comment on this controversial thread.