The question pretty much sums it up. I'm a freelance author without much of a platform. It's not that I don't like the story - I spent a great deal of time on it - but after taking a cooling off period following the first manuscript, I realized nobody in particular would want to read it.
During the cooling off period, I've been working on two other books in varying stages of completion; one at least could be competitive for commercial publication (yeah, right).
So I see my options for Book That Stinks as
A complete rewrite of Book That Stinks making it more concise, more interesting, and more marketable. This seems like a low probability of success option.
Self-publish Book That Stinks after a less intensive revision process.
Put Book That Stinks in a dark corner of my room and my mind, never to be viewed again.
Wait until I'm wildly famous and simply present Book That Stinks to my agent who assures me my loyal readers will buy any drivel I produce.
? Am I missing something?
My selection of answer
I really liked JP's response. His basic message of you can always save it for later is the appropriate number five. Also, Eric's comment about the "sunk cost fallacy" is an excellent point. I actually did have a beta reader, one of the most positive people I know, who said, "It was OK." Bad sign.
But in the end I chose Jenny's response. It wasn't for the kind words (but they were nice). There are two excellent points she made. First, Don't be ashamed to set a book aside. It hurts, but it's the way it goes until you get to Option 4.
The winning point Jenny made was taking a "kernel" of Book That Stinks and keeping for later. There are a few characters from the book and some scenes which I think are worthy. They can be transplanted. This was an excellent outside-the-box answer.