After posting about my fantasy novel and my current efforts to get it situated for publishing myself, I realized folks may have been wondering if my agent actually shopped it around or not. The answer to that is no. But, you say, she is your agent. Doesn’t she have to? Again, the answer is no. For some out there, this might come across as odd or just plain wrong. Shouldn’t she at least try? I am her client after all. However, an agent is under no contractual obligation to try and sell my books.
My agent’s sole purpose is not to fling whatever I may write out to every publishing house out there. I did not seek out an agent for this purpose. I sought an agent because I’m interested in a career as a writer. I want to sell books on an ongoing basis. My goal is to get to a point that I can be a full-time writer. To do so, I need to write marketable books. This is more true than self-publishing because I am seeking publishers that are willing to invest their time, money, and energy in selling my book. They have to be selective, and have no choice really. There are far more books out there than they have room to deal with. This is another reason self-publishing is a good thing. It provides more room for writers.
So, I gave my agent the fantasy novel, and asked her to read it. Tell me what you think. Is this marketable? Are there editors out there who might be interested in it? Her feedback: while good, it’s not unique enough, too derivative relative to what’s out there now, and the major houses all have ongoing epic fantasies on the market. So, basically, nobody would be interested in it. This was not unexpected. While not the hoped for answer, I am fine with it. Knowing where it stands, and I trust my agent’s opinion on it’s marketability, I’m good taking this book out there on my own. Agents get paid based on selling books. If they don’t believe it will, it serves no purpose other than to waste time and resources, and we can focus on other things, like the next contract for my Deadworld series or other UF stories my publisher might be interested in.
I’m positive there are other authors out there who are simultaneously publishing in both arenas. It’s not due to a fail or disconnect with the agent and/or publisher. It’s just the way the business works, and I’m fine with that. Happy reading/writing everyone!