Will an Agent Be Interested in My Self-Published Book?

So you have an indie-published book and you’re thinking about pursuing traditional publishing?

That’s fantastic. Welcome!

Most agents and publishers aren’t interested in your already-published book. Instead, we want to see your NEXT book.

I’ve seen wonderful indie-published books that have sold units in the six figures, and traditional publishers still didn’t bite. Why? Partly because a book that can be wildly successful at a $2.99 price point can’t necessarily make it at $12.99. Books are surprisingly price-sensitive. Also, publishers typically aren’t interested in something that’s already been published in any form.

Of course, we all can think of a few examples of self-published books that went on to traditional publishing fame and fortune (and even movies). They’re outliers and it’s not the way it typically happens. In those cases, the book has made such a splash that the publisher is likely to be coming after the author, rather than the author needing to pitch them.

If you’ve indie-published, that shows a lot of great things about you – you’ve written a book, you’ve taken the steps to get it out there, and presumably you’ve learned something about marketing and promotion. All good things! So we’d love to see your next book, and there’s absolutely no stigma for being a self published author (which I know people tend to worry about). Even some agents are self published authors! Myself included. So, it’s no black mark.

We welcome your submission! Always follow agent submission guidelines, easily found on their websites or in the Guide to Literary Agents.


If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Paul K Kho on January 12, 2021 at 9:19 PM

    I agreed. Real life is not at all like what is being portrayed in Hollywood. TV series such as “Murder, She Wrote” and “Castle” are just two of the factious exaggeration of a writer’s life. My research indicate it take time, hard work, and most importantly persistency.

  2. judy parkinson on January 7, 2021 at 5:55 PM

    Debut authors rarely have success finding a traditional publisher, as these firms are generally interested only in manuscripts presented by literary agents. So, how does a debut author get a literary agent? They are as difficult to acquire as are traditional publishers. It’s a no win situation for debut authors and many a brilliant manuscript will remain forever on an author’s hard drive, sight unseen.