Will an Agent Recommend Self-Pub?
Marcy Kennedy wrote:
I’m committed to finding a traditional publisher for my novel. Not only has that always been the dream, but I also like that a gatekeeper has to approve the quality of my work. That said, have you ever advised a client to self-publish a work that you think is fantastic but hasn’t been able to find a home at a publisher? Under what circumstances might you make that recommendation?
Good question, Marcy. These days, agents need to be aware of a far greater variety of publishing options than in the past. Self publishing is one of those options.
The circumstance under which I’m most likely to suggest an author consider self-pub is when we can’t get a publisher to bite, but we believe in the book AND the author has the means to sell the book on her own.
That last part is crucial, because most self-pub books languish, selling a couple hundred copies if they’re lucky. If that’s all you’re going to sell, it’s not worth it. So you’ve got to have the time, the knowledge, and the commitment to market that book.
There can be other factors that lead to a discussion of self-publishing.
- Sometimes a book really needs a quick turnaround for a release date that’s sooner than any publishers will consider (to coincide with an event or anniversary).
- Some authors are truly in a position to make more money on their own than with a publisher.
- Some authors don’t have “the dream” of traditional publication that includes validation by gatekeepers.
So there are definitely situations in which an agent recommends a path other than traditional “big” publishers, but a good agent will always try to discuss the advantages and pitfalls of the various options.
Readers, under what circumstances would you consider self-publishing?