An emerging direction of quantum computing is to establish meaningful quantum applications in various fields of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing (NLP). Although some efforts based on syntactic analysis have opened the door to research in Quantum NLP (QNLP), limitations such as heavy syntactic preprocessing and syntax-dependent network architecture make them impracticable on larger and real-world data sets. In this paper, we propose a new simple network architecture, called the quantum self-attention neural network (QSANN), which can make up for these limitations. Specifically, we introduce the self-attention mechanism into quantum neural networks and then utilize a Gaussian projected quantum self-attention serving as a sensible quantum version of self-attention. As a result, QSANN is effective and scalable on larger data sets and has the desirable property of being implementable on near-term quantum devices. In particular, our QSANN outperforms the best existing QNLP model based on syntactic analysis as well as a simple classical self-attention neural network in numerical experiments of text classification tasks on public data sets. We further show that our method exhibits robustness to low-level quantum noises.