Thank you for your comment. It’s an interesting question. The answer really depends on why you’re writing and what you hope to achieve. This story is aimed at those wishing to make a full-time income from selling articles to mainstream and commercial markets. In that case, the response is probably, don’t publish articles that don’t sell. Period.
But equally, don’t give up too soon. There are many reasons an article may not be bought the first time around, and not necessarily that the work isn’t good enough: the editor may already have accepted a similar piece or have exhausted the budget for that buying period, or any other reason. It’s always worth submitting again to a different market, rewriting and “tweaking” the article as needed. Although, take note that unless an editor states clearly that she’s happy to accept simultaneous submissions, it’s better to send the piece out to only one market at a time.
If after you’ve sent the piece out a dozen times, or to every market you think it may be a good fit for, and it still hasn’t sold, it may be a dud. But never throw anything away. It might be useful as a springboard for a new piece further down the line.
Of course, self-publishing is an option for certain kinds of work and if you are not only an excellent writer but also a skilled marketer with a reasonable budget to put into the production and promotion of your magazine, books, and so on, you may, after several years of hard work and expense, see a good return on your investment.
If your motivation isn’t to make a secure income from your writing but simply to be read — perhaps to spread a message that’s important to you or to share your passion for a particular topic — then publishing directly to your own, self-hosted blog is an option. You might also publish your work on any of the popular revenue-sharing sites such as HubPages, Medium, and others which are also curated but may have less restrictive editorial guidelines and you may get a few dollars a month in return for your efforts.
Thanks again for the question. I hope that helps.