Friday, May 27, 2011

The HUGE question all aspiring authors have to address...

Are you going to search for a literary agent, or try and self-publish?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately. More than I really expected it to be actually. When I started this whole process and someone would ask if I was planning to try and get it published I would just chuckle and say, "We'll see, right now it really sucks, so I don't know."

And I really didn't. To me the idea of publishing my work in progress was almost ludicrous. Who would want to read that garbage? Okay, garbage may be a little harsh, but it just felt like I had rambled for 200 pages. I had a hard time seeing the substance that was there.

But now, as I've been editing I can see the potential that my book actually has. Particularly now that I have finally received feedback from my beta readers. I have a vision for my book and it will make it there, I'm determined. I actually want people to read it.

In my efforts to solve this terribly daunting question, I came across two websites that didn't really help my indecision. The first was from a site called The author of this particular post was looking for advice on this matter and listed their concerns for each method.

Their concerns were reassuring in that now I know I am not the only aspiring author out there who feels this way. It's always nice to know you're not alone. But on this matter, I was hoping to be alone. It would be so much easier to have someone swoop in with a magic answer and tell me what to do.

It didn't help that this particular post created more questions than I already had. For example, they wanted to know if it would be more difficult to write under a pen name because they were hesitant to use their real name if their first book flops. I had never even thought about that one. What if my work in progress flops? Will I ever be able to write again?

The second was a site called This particular article was helpful in that it made me really wary to try and get an agent. It lists all the things you have to be concerned about with dishonest agents. I am a paranoid person, I don't need any more reasons to be wary of people I just met, particularly people that I am hoping will help me.

The little blip it had on self-publishing focused mainly on the issue of the investment of your book and having the responsibility of trudging from book shop to book shop trying to convince the owners to sell it. With websites like creatspace available, it just doesn't seem like accurate, up to date, information.

So, what was the point of this rant? I only looked at two websites after googling and they freaked me out and were no use to me. This is one question that the internet won't be able to answer for me.

I came up with my own, simple answers:

As aspiring authors, we have to go with our instincts. If you're uncomfortable with the possibility of losing your creative liberty, if that is your favorite part about writing, then you're probably better of self-publishing. At least you know you will always love what you do.

If fame and publicity are more what you're seeking, going with a literary agent will probably be your best bet. They will be able to help you make the necessary contacts you need and make sure you're known, because it's in their best interest as well.

Done. Easy as that. And, for good measure, if you make a decision and then you hesitate, you know it's the wrong one. As the most indecisive woman on the planet, I use that trick daily. It works.


  1. Great post Kimmel.

    I have been battling this myself. You are most DEFINITELY not alone. The matter of picking which type of publishing is best for you is a tricky one.

    Keep going! You are doing awesome.

  2. I've been thinking about this a lot recently, too. At the moment I'm reading my first indie book and enjoying it more than I thought I would. For me, self-pub books don't appeal, maybe because they're not as accessible tot me due to my lack of an e-reader :p

    Traditional publishing has always seemed more appealing because I know it would get my book known if it were to be picked up by an agent/publisher. I would be able to hold my book in my hands and be proud of it, knowing that I've done something right to get it where it is now.

    That said, if you want more, pro self-pub information, this post just went up earlier today:

  3. Thank you for sharing that link Kate. It helps to have as much information as you can for both sides to make the best decision.

    Right now I am leaning towards self-publishing, but they may change in a few months when I'm finally at the point where I HAVE to decide.