This is a common discussion when publishing is changing daily. Authors are finding new and different ways to publish their work, get it out there without a traditional publishing deal. There are more options open to writers than ever. However, many are reluctant to pursue anything but the “traditional” route in spite of its mine field laced pathways. The subjective nature of the query process, the difficulty of truly finding the right fit based on what is listed on agent’s submission pages, and the “hell” of query, pitch, and synopsis writing.
Rachelle Gardner did a piece recently on her blog – check it out here – and she’d asked people about this issue. Apparently writers gave good reasons for holding out for the quickly closing door of the publishing world rather than pursuing the new and varied options in non-traditional publishing. I even agreed with most of them although I also see the many positives of the new horizon of non-traditional options.
I have a friend considering a non-traditional publisher’s contract currently. She’s looking at an abundance of information from people who have used the publisher before. Some had since moved on and gave both positive and negatives about them. She’s trying to make an informed decision. As I’ve watched her work through this, researching everything she can, making contact with other authors and talking to the editor and the publisher, I realized something. It was an epiphany of sorts. (I love that word) She’s doing work that an agent would typically do. Scoping out publishers and editors, checking out who’ll work, who has the best deal. She’s acting as her own agent.
The problem is when she’s doing the agent job she has no time for writing or editing her work. And forget submitting to other publishers. Thus, the argument for the traditional publishing route and an agent. In my mind anyway. I look forward to marketing my book. There are so many things I’ve thought about that I want to do, and I consider that an important part of my writing job. But I’m not delusional. Superwoman I’m not. Asking me to (as most writers do) work a full-time job, write, edit, seek an agent – this includes pitches, synopses, and conference attending, and submit my work is more than enough to ask of me. I have no hours left in my day to agent myself as well.
I may not have found the right agent for me and my career, but I have not and will not give up on finding one. He/she is out there reading queries and synopses. One of these times, it might be mine that they sit up and say “Yes!” to.
What do you think about the new opportunities in non-traditional publishing? Are you still attracted to the traditional path?