Jim, one of the problems is, the “rules” of publishing are in flux. What worked ten years ago no longer works, what worked two years ago no longer works.
Amazon is a content mill. They make money off the dreams of millions who typically find only disappointment. I am referring mainly to creative writing, novels and such. Nonfiction does better if you are writing about business or self-help. But you are still competing with millions of writers. An unknown author can’t just publish a book and expect it to sell.
Apparently you can still make money copywriting and freelancing if you find steady clients. But book publishing, like music publishing, is extremely difficult for authors/artists to make a living at. Outside of a few “superstars” and the super creative/talented/hard-working ones, most have day jobs.
You can’t just be a writer or musician anymore. You have to be an entrepreneur and marketing person and accountant and promoter and social media maven and blah, blah, blah. No wonder so many give up. Or get day jobs. Which is not a bad thing, if it provides the financial freedom to pursue your art without all the stress of your art/craft needing to provide income also. But it is not “the dream.” Perhaps people need to adjust the dream a little more towards reality.