We’re hunting for our first house at the moment, and after only a few days of viewings I’ve already noted three of my least desirable personality traits coming strongly to the fore: I’m demanding, I’m impatient, and I hate spending money.
I know, my husband’s such a lucky guy!
All of these characteristics came into play when I decided to skip the finding-an-agent step and submit what would become my debut novel to Carina Press’s 30-day feedback opportunity a little over a year ago. I didn’t see what value an agent would bring to the process, I wanted it to be over and done with as quickly as possible, and I certainly had no interest in sharing 15% of what I earned.
My attitude remained the same over the next year. I sold three projects to Carina and two to Samhain on my own, and as soon as I worked out how much money I was making per copy I was even less keen to shave any of that off for an agent.
Enter NaNoWriMo 2013, exactly a year since I got “the call.” I wrote a book that had come to mind during our American road-trip honeymoon, and the finished product was quite different to anything I’d written before. I loved the story, but I wasn’t sure about its ideal market, and I didn’t want to do a disservice to the novel by pitching it in the wrong places. So I went right back to my unpublished roots, rigorously researched agents, and submitted the manuscript to a select few.
That brings us to today. There are three requested fulls sitting out there in agents’ inboxes and, like Limos clinging to Erysichthon, my impatience is in full force. Do I really want to wait up to three months for an answer – which could very likely be a rejection – when I could just submit this manuscript now and keep my pipeline flowing? And if it is a yes, what exactly will I get for my 15%? What if the agent ends up selling it to one of my existing publishers anyway, making the whole effort a complete waste of time and money?
Harsh, right? But that’s my thinking at the moment, and I’d love to hear others’ thoughts and experiences. Is it worthwhile to bring on an agent when you’re already selling things on your own? If you have an agent, what benefits do you get from it? And if you don’t, why have you chosen to forego one? I’m all (demanding, impatient, thrifty) ears, people!