Thanks for your kind words and the incisive answers to my questions. So far, from the replies received, it's seems to me that the biggest problem with SP lies in the areas of promotion, marketing, and visibility, in order for the writer to obtain a significant number of sales and realize a decent profit. That seems to be an endemic problem with SP and perhaps therein might lie the rub between those who want to go the traditional route and those who believe in SP. I don't know, but if one is in this business to make a full-time living from writing (like I've always been) I can see it being a real problem. Without the proper funding, knowledge of how to use the money, and the proper connections, I can see SP being a hugh headache.
Many of the promo/marketing/being seen problems are also symptomatic of E-publishing or very small-press publishing. Several years ago, B&N used to be more flexible/open to small press books or books printed via POD into their stores, but too many people pulled a "bait and switch" where they ordered books they never intended to pick up in hopes that it would appear on the shelves and attract a reader, that B&N was losing money on these non-returnable print copies. B&N changed their policy and a lot of small e-presses that had fledgling print programs died in the cradle, so to speak.
Even now there are many epublishing presses that have cut off their print efforts because print loses them money. To be fair, there's much of "big 6" print publishing that loses *them* money, but they're bigger outfits and can recoup the losses from the hits they do make.
So while a small press can give your niche book a home and a way to be seen by readers, you still have to find the readers and let them know where to find your book and why they should care. You still have less chance of making a mint of money with a small e-press (although there are many who do--which is why I take all the "outlier" arguments with a glass of wine because the same arguments were made 5 and 7 years ago about e-publishing--the "outliers" eventually piled up).
To answer your question list, though, no I haven't started to SP yet, but I have plans in the works--being still in the planning stage, I'm doing a ton of research.
And to answer the original poster's question, what appeals to me about going it alone (or "indie" if I want to set pants on fire ) is that it cooks out much of the nonsense we writers tend to get wrapped up in (attracting editors and agents, or publishing with the "right" house, or blaming a bad cover/blurb/no marketing support for mediocre sales) and focuses our efforts on reaching the reader.
I want to reach the reader that wants to read what I write. I know my quirky rom-coms have no home in NY right now, maybe for several years, or possibly never (for reference, my subs reached the right editors just around the time they never wanted to see another romcom ever again). But I think there's still a market out there of readers looking for lighthearted books about silly people doing silly things in the name of love. I'm looking for those people.
And if I flop, I flop because of something I did, not something my publisher did or didn't do, or a bad cover, or a bad slot in the release schedule, or another book out by the same publisher at that time, or whatever. I reach out to readers, and I stand or fall on my own two legs.