Q: Are agents reluctant to represent someone who has already self-pubbed one book? – Mary K Plenzler
In my open call for questions to answer on my blog, Mary asked about agent perceptions of self-publishing.
There are two sides to this coin:
Agents cannot shop a self-pubbed book if it does not have massive sales. There is no way to prove to editors that they can do better with it if when it was available to the mass market it didn’t make a splash. And even if it does have massive sales sometimes traditional publishers don’t know if they even can get more sales so they bow out.
BUT, agents are open to representing authors who have self published before and are now seeking to be traditionally published with future books. In this case, we are looking for the same criteria as always: superb writing that we connect with and think we can represent well.
In my opinion, the self-publishing stigma is gone, however, if you want to find representation and have your representation shop your book to publishers then you need to commit to traditional publishing and your agent.
It’s hard for agents to invest our time in authors who then pull out when the editor rejections get too tough to handle and then head off to self-publish. No one said finding a publisher was going to be easy so you better be ready for tough roads ahead. You should think that it’s worth it to pursue the traditional route or you’ll prevent yourself from fully committing by having one foot in and one foot out.
I represent authors who have self published, but that’s something they do with projects that aren’t right for me to shop (i.e. not in my wheelhouse). I’m open to authors who have self published in the past. It shows me that they are committed to the business side of the game; however, I would then want them to be committed to letting me guide their career–that’s what I’m here for and I want them to trust me.