As a friend of mine said… it’s so that I can drop in, ‘I’ve been talking to my agent.’ But although this is obviously shallow and tragically needy, there’s sadly a lot of truth in it. However, before I make the move to find an agent, I thought I’d explain some of the reasons for this decision.
I’ve been heralding the dawn of self-publishing for long enough and so what’s changed? Nothing, in terms of the self-publishing revolution. It seems to be ploughing on with increased momentum. A latest number shows that 30% of all ebooks sold are self-published, and that’s huge. But, it’s not you… it’s me. Why am I changing my mind?
The Hybrid Model
First of all, let me explain that I’m not sure I want to give up completely on self-publishing. It still offers unbeatable freedom of creativity, royalties and speed of publication. Whatever I end up doing with traditional publishing will not change this.
Authors are now starting to blend both the traditional and the self-published models together into a Hybrid Model. I’d like to do the same, if indeed I ever get the chance. You can then take the positives from both worlds and, in a literary sense, have your cake and eat it. Some titles will be published traditionally while others will be self-published. Perhaps different genres, or more radical themes.
But, what is it about an Agent that can give me more?
An agent will work on my behalf to get a publishing deal. That’s the simple role that I’m looking for someone to perform. Writing is my job at the moment. I want it to be my career. If I want to be professional at something then I at least want to try and be accepted by the industry.
I want them to be an advisor as well. Someone objective who can provide direction and guidance to my work.
But I also want my stories to be spread further than just Amazon. Perhaps translated into different languages, converted into films and TV, recorded for audiobooks. Of course, I could achieve all of these goals by myself but, right now, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Apparently, it takes thousands of pounds to produce a professional audiobook. That’s a serious investment for a self-published author.
I’ve mentioned this before and it’s kind of pathetic, but it’s true. If you’re a throwback from the traditional publishing world and turn to self-publishing then this may not be such an issue, but I wasn’t a writer two years ago and I need someone who I don’t know to believe in what I can do.
I’ve always wanted to be a successful writer. That’s what I set out to do at the beginning of all this. So, what is success for me? Selling hundreds of thousands of books would be successful but even then, an eventual picking up from one of the big boys would follow and that would probably signify that it had been successful.
I’ve written enough posts which knock it, so why is it that I now want an Agent so that they can secure a traditional publishing deal for me? Well, there’s a few things really.
Marketing and Promotion – This has always been a big problem for me. I look at some self-published authors and their self-promotion is obvious. Social media-ing it like there’s no tomorrow. Competitions, guest posts, blog tours, signings, blogs, podcasts, webcasts and the rest of it. I don’t mind doing any of this stuff and there’s nothing wrong with my work ethic but arranging this stuff is a full-time job. I want to be a writer not a planner. Plus, there’s so much of it out there nowadays, because of the rise of self-publishing, that I’m not really sure how you can stand out and make a difference.
Distribution – My books will be on sale everywhere, or at least that’s what I want eventually. How cool would it be to see my book on sale in an airport in Bangkok? I’ve not even been to Bangkok, my book would be somewhere I haven’t been. That’s cool.
Purpose – A publishing deal would give you a purpose, a job, something you have to get done. Being self-published is great from an artistic stance. You’re your own boss, you make the decisions, you’re free with your direction, your time, everything. But, I sometimes feel rudderless. I’ve explained loads of time how I’m not one of these tortured artists who would be happy to live in a freezing bedsit while I was being true to my art. I want to make money and that may sound callous to some or selling out, but hey, I’ve got mouths to feed.
I feel at the moment that there are so many people following the path of the few who have made a major success. All of the existing avenues of self-promotion are exhausted with shit writers and their shit books. Eventually, like all revolutions, there will be a period of acceptance and bringing it into the mainstream somehow, but at the moment it’s just full of noise. My twitter stream is full of really crap looking book covers.
This brings me to my last point. Most of the self-published books which I see at the moment are focussed on horror, young adult vampires, fantasy, erotica and steam punk. This is great if you like that kind of thing but my tastes are a bit more mainstream. I understand why these books are so common. Traditional publishers have never concentrated on these areas because of the fact that they’re not mainstream and now the shackles are off. There are people in long, black leather trench coats and trilbies hammering away furiously as if all of their Christmases have come at once. Good luck to them, but I’m never going to be like that.
So, this is why I’m going to search for an agent who will represent me to publishers. As always, I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
Until next time…