|Don't surrender too soon, kitty.|
Unfortunately, the traditionally published guests didn't dispute this point. I, on the other hand, had a difficult time staying in my seat. Over and over again at conferences I have heard an entirely different perspective. Most authors spend ten years writing and submitting before they sign a publishing deal.
There are those who get contracts much quicker, of course, and those who take longer, but in general the process is very slow.
There are many good reasons to self-publish, for both the first time author and those who have already been traditionally published. One very bad reason is that you haven't attracted the attention of an agent or editor within a year or two.
If getting a traditional publishing deal is your dream, don't give up too soon. Keep your eye on the goal and hang in there.