And sometimes I wonder: why do I do this to myself? Why do I bother? I’ll never get an agent. Especially now that publishers are cutting down their lists, and agents are taking on less clients. And with all the options writers have today- an agent isn’t even essential anymore if you want to be published! So, why put myself through this torture?
Sometimes I feel naive, or pig-headed in my determination to find an agent. I wonder if I’m being old fashioned or that my quest could be detrimental to my career, especially when I see other self-pub authors coming out with two or three books a year and already making a living self-publishing. That could be me!- if I’d just give up the ghost and concentrate on making a self-pub career happen.
In today’s publishing climate, it’s true that agents, editors, and traditional publishing houses may be losing some of the power they once wielded. Authors can take things into their own hands now a’days and publish their books, however and whenever they want. They have the option of contracting out copyediting, formatting, and cover design or going it themselves. They can choose the price of their books, how much they want to market and what avenues they’ll use for such.
And just like in traditional publishing, there are ‘break out’ novels and bestsellers, and authors who are able to gain a decent wage writing books, which is all any author can really hope for. So why bother with an agent at all?
I’ve heard it said that signing with an agent isn’t worth it anymore. And for some authors, this might be true. Why pay someone 15% of your profits when you can publish your books without their help? Why go traditional when you can earn a higher percentage of royalties through self-publishing?
Well, despite this logic, I’ve come to the conclusion that having an agent is worth it, especially after reading this post by Kristi Helvig, YA writer.
And it’s not just because I hope to publish traditionally one day. Like most other writers out there, I’ve given self-publishing some serious thought. But after contemplating both sides of the coin, I feel that having an industry professional in my corner has so many more advantages than disadvantages. It’s what I want and it’s what I’ll continue to strive for, even if it means feeling like I’m voluntary wading through writer’s purgatory for a few more years (God, please don't be more than a few more years!:). For those of you like me, determined to find an agent come hell or high water, please check out Kristi’s post. It definitely gave me food for thought and renewed motivation.
Does still being in the query trenches and looking for an agent ever make you feel like a boob? If you've decided to jump start your career without an agent, do you think you'll still pursue an agent in the future for things like rights negotiation or a tradi contract?