I'm sure there are many talented indie writers who have experienced the same things. I've paid for advertising for my free books at Facebook and Goodreads. I did it to get readers interested, not for profit. If an author has written a good book that happens to be free, exposure is easy. Charge a fee, even 99 cents, and generating interest is more difficult. An author at Amazon mentioned that she would never offer her work for free because she felt the quality of her work was worth the charge. She obviously takes pride in her work, but there are some wonderful manuscripts moldering in drawers all over the world, sent out to the occasional agent or publisher. Breaking through is such a bitch, that a truly gifted writer could spend their whole lives just sending out queries. Hence, the ever-growing power of electronic publishing.
I chose to publish independently not because I was ready to give up or couldn't handle the rejection, but because I had matured enough to understand that talent is a subjective thing, and the publishing business, like any other big business, is fickle. Independent publishing allows the square peg to have a place besides pushing itself through the round hole. The author can write about whatever he/she wants, and they can feel like they are good enough. Self-doubt is hardly conducive to the creative process, and wherever people are expressing themselves in a peaceful manner, they should be treated gently. :)