Is the worse position in an Olympic final 4th place? So near to a place in the history books and the admiration on non-sportspeople and yet so far you might as well have come 8th. It's a bit like sending your novel to an agent who replies along the lines of 'I loved your book, but not quite enough to offer representation.'
Close, but not close enough.
As a writer there used to be only two choices for what to do next: Give up or carry on sending your work out to agents. Now two more have been added to the list: publish via a small independent publisher or self-publish.
There's a lot of turmoil in publishing at the moment with change coming from several directions at once, and I think there is much for a writer to be concerned about this brave new world. But one of the big plusses is that there are now more choices than settling for fourth place. The medals are within your grasp.