Doing things wrong and doing them right

About 18 months ago I self-published for the first time. I made lots of mistakes, did a lot of the no-nos that all the gurus say you shouldn't. The book (The Last Mountain) did very well both in terms of reviews (which is why I published it) and downloads/physical sales - and continues to do so.
The next time I self-published I did it by the book. A professionally produced cover, social network buzz, a website etc., i.e. everything the gurus said to do. The result has been very underwhelming even though, as an author, I know the novels to be stronger.
I think it shows the danger of following the so-called experts, those who blog and write with such authority. In fact the evidence is that they don't know what they are talking about and are just, like many others, just selling themselves or some service they offer. They are just as much in the dark on what sells and how to sell novels as the rest of us.
My advice to other authors? Do what you feel deep down is right - you have as much chance of succeeding as following the gurus.