Friday, 10 May 2013

The Holy Grail

Are you brave
enough to go it alone?

I’ve seen a lot of posts recently where people are really stressing the importance of having an agent, and making out it’s, like, really the ONLY way to get anywhere in publishing. And while I’d agree it’s ONE way to get somewhere, it’s definitely not the ONLY way.

I was with my agent nearly three years. She tried hard to get my books out there and gave me lots of help and valuable pointers. But it - that much desired publication contract - never happened. And I know from the feedback she passed on from editors and publishers that it wasn’t about the quality of my writing; the most common issue seemed to be that they already had something similar. Market forces.

(Yes, Dharling we love your work, but it would clash horribly with one we saw earlier….) 

I can hack that. Publishers have to make a living too.

But don’t make out that agents and mainstream publishers are the ONLY option. Because there’s a lot to be said for going it alone. As a self-publisher you control:
  • the rights to your work
  • the content of your work
  • the cover design
  • the price
  • the distribution
  • the speed at which you move 

On top of that, you have higher royalties, the opportunity to learn about the industry from a different angle, the opportunity to learn about new technologies, self promotion and marketing. And let’s not forget that self published writers are happier.

Will you jump for joy?
You might not get an advance, and you might not have the prestige associated with a traditional book deal, but after all your hard work, surely the Holy Grail here is getting your work into print? And believe me, it is possible to have a quality product and an income from writing without an agent or Random Penguin holding your hand.

So if you're not getting anywhere with your agent and wondering if it's ever going to happen, my advice is to think about your options seriously... and if it still doesn't happen, JUMP! What have you got to lose?


  1. Amen! Sometimes, you just have to go for it!

  2. Lots to be said for self-publishing, and you say it so well! Great post, as always, x x

    1. Yes, lots. I've only touched the tip of the iceberg here... x


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