Friday, December 09, 2011

Saying "Goodbye" to my Agent

Wow, never thought I'd title a post with that.

I know that some of you are grabbing your head in your hands, screaming at the computer. "Why?" I would have been that person not so long ago.


Here's the long and the short of it.

 Advances in traditional market are low right now. Really, really low. Why would I tie up a novel in a one to two year process for $2500 (on a good day) when I could put it out myself; in that two year period make that same money, and then some, on my own? That route doesn't make as much sense as it once did, nor is it as potentially profitable.


 Would you rather chase after a publishing house or have them come to you? I choose to HOPE that by publishing on my own, they will come to me. And if they don't? I'll survive. I'll just need each of you to buy 10 books. ;p


The traditional world of publishing is 1, maybe 2 books a year. With the way things are now, readers don't have the patience they once did to wait for a year. We should be putting out (this is from a kindle bestseller) 3-4 books a year if you want to keep your readers from forgetting about you and moving on to the next authors work.

You'll never get that with a traditional publisher.



Finally, and most importantly, my agent just didn't have time for me, as much as she made a last ditch effort to connect with me. I've been with her for over a year, the last 7 months she's been MIA due to personal issues, but even before that, I was having to dodge her heels to make things happen. That is not my job. My job is to write. I'm grateful she thought well enough of me to take me on, but that isn't enough, not in this market.


So that's it, those are my reasons without getting into the nitty, gritty detailas as to why I left my agent, and am striking out completely on my own. Maybe you have reasons, different than mine, to go indie too?



23 comments:

Haley Whitehall said...

Shannon, you made some very good points. The publishing world is changing and agents are not changing with it. I wish you the best with your writing.

Shannon said...

Thanks Haley, it is a little scary, but also exciting. Now, at least, I have no one but myself to depend on when it comes to gettin the boooks out. And in that at least, I know that I will work harder than any agent to make that happen. :)

M Pax said...

For the reasons you mentioned, I decided to quit querying and go out on my own.

Shannon said...

M Pax- If I didn't already have an agent, I wouldn't be querying either. It's IMO a bit of a pipe dream. The market has changed so fast and is still changing, the old school can't keep up. Good luck with your writing!!

Tamunoibifiri Mobolaji-Kamson said...

wow i really love your spirit. I am a writer who hasn't been published, cos of the same story. Publishers don't want to even look at your work.
Good luck in your writing.
www.secretlilies.blogspot.com

authorinprogress said...

Good for you, Shannon! There are too many opportunities out there to wait around--After three years of sending my book around I went with Createspace and so far I'm very glad I did. Now I have time to write the sequel to Wolfmoon trilogy! From what I've heard you have to do your own marketing anyway, so why not retain all rights and get the books to the public asap? The best of luck to you...
fellow writer, Nikki Broadwell

Bicultural Mama said...

This is good to know. I have been pitching my children's picture book for a few months now and it's definitely frustrating - like am I not hearing back because they haven't read it yet, or decided to reject it but just didn't tell me? It's such a long process (I pitched a few agents, then changed strategies and am now pitching directly to Editors). I didn't want to self publish because I figured the publishing houses had better distribution channels and would have a better understanding of how to market the book. I also haven't considered e-books because like most parents of young kids, I'd rather have them read a real book versus stick them in front of a computer. But we'll see, I'm still learning all of this and info from writers like you is helpful. - Bicultural Mama - www.BiculturalMama.com

Marie Loughin said...

I don't blame you a bit. You're doing all the work either way (except cover and editing), so you might as well get paid for it.

Joy came back into my writing life when I let go of the desire to get an agent/publisher. I suspect this new attitude will translate into much better writing speed!

Lani Wendt Young said...

Excellent decision Shannon. Im new to this self-publ field but Im already convinced that I made the right decision. Its exhausting hard work but its worth it. For the reasons you mentioned, it also makes the most financial and logical sense. I know agented authors who have signed with publishers and their books wont be released until the end of 2013. I could never wait that long or put up with that. I love the complete control that self-publ offers. And you are correct - nobody will work as hard you to market and promote your own book. Nobody will believe in it as much as you. Congratulations on all you have achieved thus far and I look forward to many more great books from you.

Nick Rolynd said...

Well, I'm glad you made a decision that works for you! Some people think it HAS to be this way or it HAS to be that way, but when it comes to publishing, there's no right or wrong. You should do what works best for you.

Best of luck,
-Nick @ Whispers

LM Preston said...

Go Shannon, it's a lot of hard work that goes into pubbing yourself. But I can't wait to see your book!

Cyndi Tefft said...

Wow, that's big news! I wish you the best of luck. It's definitely a brave new world out there and you have the hustle and drive to make things happen. :)

Cyndi

The Plan said...

I like every point you made. I tried to post on here before but I don't know if it went through. Good luck and I'll buy your book right now. Thanks for the post. Keep pushing.

Shannon said...

Thank you everyone for your comments, support, thoughts, and for being a part of my journey. One of the best things about going this route is there are others on the same road that we can learn from, teach and keep company when things go well and when things go not so well. I'm grateful for all of you!

empibaryeh said...

Congrats, Shannon, and best of luck. I never landed an agent and gave up on the idea a while ago. I've just sold two books to ePublishers and looking forward to self-publish a third. My main reason for self-publishing is that the novel doesn't fit neatly into the regular romance market as my other two books. It's got infidelity for one. But I did have it professionally edited and got good and favourable feedback. So I just might be doing that. I might find an agent for a mainstream novel I have, though. We'll see. I'm still learning

Toby Neal said...

Shannon, I have a very similar story--I worked with an agent for two years to sell my books and in the end, we mutually threw in the towel. It just wasn't worth it for either of us, and now I'm out and Indie proud.

After so much lost time and frustration, it's great to have my book out there, being read and discovered. So far it's getting great reviews, and my only regret is my agent and I wasted so much time on an industry that can't adapt to the changing times.

And, in an interesting side note, after 20 years in the business and some huge deals, she's now started another business. It wasn't paying her bills either.
TOby Neal
http://www.tobyneal.net/

Coral Russell said...

With Sundered already out and about, I think you'll do just fine.

Amber said...

Hey great post, I've been thinking about this for a while, if $2500 is all I can expect then I most certainly have enough faith in my writing and my marketing skills to make that @ .99$ an ebook. Hell, if that is all the money I'd get, I might as well release it for free....

A. W. Omyn said...

A lot of what you mentioned in this post, is why I've decided to go indie.
I have other reasons as well. I don't like how cut-throat it is in the traditional publishing industry. I don't like the idea of having to fight over scenes with an editor (like J.K. Rowling had to do, in order to keep the troll in the bathroom scene, for the first Harry Potter book). I don't like the imposed deadlines that are basically "hurry up and wait". I don't like the way the traditional publishers tend to price their ebooks (I've actually seen them HIGHER than the paperback price, even though no paper is needed). I don't like the royalty schedule in traditional publishing.

I could REALLY go on, but I'm sure you're sick of me by now, lol.

I understand that your decision was a scary one. But, I do think you made the right one. As long as you can hire your own editor and cover designer (formatter too, if that's not your gig either), and handle your own marketing (which would mostly be on your shoulders either way) - you're going to do wonderfully.

AND, you'll probably end up making more this way, regardless, because you'll certainly make more per (e)book. :)

Good luck (or break a leg, or whatever's most appropriate with this particular artistic medium).

roro said...

all the best with the writing goals

Webbiegrrl Writer said...

Awesome arguments, good points one and all! And I thought it was just ME who figured we'd have to put out 3 books a year to be competitive! ;-)

I've been at this (writing) most of my life and first started dealing with Publishers in the 1980s--before, during and since the emergence of the "Agent." I've never had one and have maintained a lawyer is probably better to negotiate the kind of contract I want, since I know my rights and which ones I'm willing to sell. I never had an agent and when I followed the standard submission guidelines in the 1980s, I never had trouble reaching editors directly. You just have to do the research and follow their rules. But then, isn't that the story of life? :)

legendsofgreenisle.com said...

Yay for you! :)

Carmen DeSousa said...

I agree, Shannon. It took a lot of nerve to say no to a big agent. But in the end, an epublisher---who listened---was the way to go.

After all my research, and weighing out the pros and cons of whether to use an agent, self-publish, or go with an epublisher---who felt as exicted as I did about my manuscript, it was an easy decision.