I know a few writers who don’t depend on traditional publication. They write what they want, have lots of fans, and know how to please them as well as themselves. One or two make a living at it without the need for other employment.
Those who support themselves have to work quickly, but they have the skills. Their imaginations are impressive. They pretty much do their own editing, and even distribution. They all have to produce marketable works. And they have to know how to promote. Not everybody can do all that.
Those who can write good stories. They have their own styles. Their characters are sympathetic and believable. The plots make sense and are frequently surprising. The situations and settings are interesting. The stories are internally consistent. And the endings leave you wanting more.
These few writers may not have the sales numbers of those who are traditionally published, but they are real writers by anybody’s definition. They enjoy another form of success. And I enjoy their company.