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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: smbishop on June 06, 2015, 10:04:50 AM

Title: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: smbishop on June 06, 2015, 10:04:50 AM
After being in the query trenches for over seven months and receiving 11 positive replies, 111 negative replies, with 15 agents still pending, I am seriously considering self-publishing my novel.

My question is, how do I notify agents who still have my partials or full that I plan to self-publish my book?

Please note that most of these agents have been holding my manuscript for over 200 days (on the average).

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: MichelleG on June 06, 2015, 06:04:01 PM
Dear Agent


Please be advised that at this time I have decided to publish my manuscript, Boppity and Ziggy Take on the Martians, myself.

Thank you for considering my manuscript and for your time.


Sincerely,



However, you don't have to tell them anything.  If they write you later and say they are interested you simply say, 'Thank you but I have chosen to go another way."   Although, you wouldn't have to respond to that either.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Tabris on June 07, 2015, 08:20:24 PM
Dear Agent: Please be advised that I am withdrawing my manuscript, Awesome Title, from consideration. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, Me
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: smbishop on June 07, 2015, 09:08:46 PM
These are very helpful. Thank you Tabris and MichelleG for your comments.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: sunflowersky on June 08, 2015, 03:48:49 AM
Just jumping in to wish you the best of luck. I have seriously considered this option too, but I find it terrifying--especially the marketing aspect.  :eek: I'd love to hear more about your thought process on it.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on June 08, 2015, 08:38:23 AM
Have you nudged the agents that have had it for at least 6 months?
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Curious Author on June 08, 2015, 09:07:31 PM
Have you been working on something else during this time? Before you self-publish this one, it might be worthwhile to work on a new project instead of jumping into the self-publishing game. There are plenty of self-publishing success stories, but it can be hard to jump back into the traditional world if you choose to later on. I only mention it because you've spent considerable time/effort on the traditional publishing route. :)
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: TerryRodgers on June 09, 2015, 08:22:58 AM
To add to what Curious said: have you another novel almost complete, like within 6 months? Many people self-publish only to get discouraged and stop writing when they don't sell more than 100 copies. Self-publishing can be a rewarding venue, but it appears the ones that have more success at it have more than one novel to publish during the year.

Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Ms. Bobbie A. on June 09, 2015, 08:27:31 AM
When you say that 15 agents hold your manuscript... do you mean they requested on it? Wow, I would nudge before taking the self-publishing step. This is just my opinion...
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: smbishop on June 10, 2015, 05:27:46 PM
Thank you all for your comments.

In reply:

sunflowersky - I never considered self-publishing as an option before. I always thought traditional was the only way to go until I spoke to a bestselling author (published by one of the Big 5) who said that self-publishing might work better for a new writer like me. She said her friend self-published and is doing well. Of course I know that's not always going to be the case for every writer. There are no guarantees. And there are risks. It could backfire and jeopardise my chances with traditional publishers in the future. I told her that. But she said that the publishing industry has changed so much over the last decade alone. And independent authors now have a fighting chance. But you're right about marketing and promotion. If I'm going to do self-publishing, I'd have to work really hard and have a good strategy to promote and market my book.

In the end, it's a matter of preference, as traditional and self-publishing are both legitimate pathways to getting published. Each with their own pros and cons.

Sarah Ahlers - Yes, I've nudged them several times. I'm giving myself a deadline before I finalise my decision about self-publishing.

Curious Author - This is my second novel. The first one is sitting in my drawer, also unpublished. I must admit I did not know what I was doing when I queried the first one. So the second time around, I made sure I did it right. I researched. I took creative writing courses before starting on the second novel. When I finished writing it, I had beta readers read and critique it. Then it went through several redrafts after that. I made sure it was polished before I began submitting. Even the query letter, synopsis, and first few chapters, I had a professional editor assess those to make sure I ticked all the boxes.

TerryRodgers - You have a point. I plan to start a mystery/crime fiction series. I just don't know how quickly I could write them.

Ms Bobbie A - Sorry, no, those 15 are queries only. I'm waiting for them to reply. But I do have 2 agents and 2 publishers considering my full manuscript.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Ms. Bobbie A. on June 10, 2015, 08:04:06 PM
Maybe throw the opening page up on the appropriate thread and even your query?  Maybe a few people here can have a look?  I'll look?  :)
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on June 11, 2015, 07:46:55 AM
Ok then yeah. If you've nudged them a bunch, then you should be fine to proceed however you want.

I'm with Terry, though, in that the people I know who do well self-publishing are people that are able to put out a lot of material so you have a lot of backlist selling your frontlist and vice versa.
But i will say that self publishing won't ruin your chances of landing an agent or publisher at a later date if you want to try again with a new novel.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: TerryRodgers on June 11, 2015, 09:25:51 AM
But i will say that self publishing won't ruin your chances of landing an agent or publisher at a later date if you want to try again with a new novel.

 :agree:
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Curious Author on June 11, 2015, 11:42:54 AM
Thank you all for your comments.

Curious Author - This is my second novel. The first one is sitting in my drawer, also unpublished. I must admit I did not know what I was doing when I queried the first one. So the second time around, I made sure I did it right. I researched. I took creative writing courses before starting on the second novel. When I finished writing it, I had beta readers read and critique it. Then it went through several redrafts after that. I made sure it was polished before I began submitting. Even the query letter, synopsis, and first few chapters, I had a professional editor assess those to make sure I ticked all the boxes.


I think you may have misunderstood my intent. I didn't mean to suggest that you didn't put enough effort into this draft. I just wanted to throw out that it might be that this project isn't the right "first project" to go out to agents, and you might want to try querying with another project. BUT you did mention that you already queried another project, so yeah, proceed as you see fit.

Also, with regards to what Falen said, I don't think it will ruin your chancing with ALL agents/publishers. However, there are definitely some very vocal agents all over social media and blogs that do not want a self-published author because you only get one debut. Also, I've seen some agents write that going back to traditional publishing after self-publishing can make it seem as if you weren't successful on your own. Again, this isn't the case for all agents, and there are definitely those out there that will take you on without a second thought. But, it's worth considering.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: smbishop on June 25, 2015, 08:35:20 AM
Thank you all for your input. I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. I'm glad we have a forum like this where we can learn from each other.

Sarah Ahiers - I love the book cover, by the way.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on June 25, 2015, 09:07:46 AM
Aww thanks!
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: JohnPansini on July 06, 2015, 11:58:21 AM
If an agent has kept your MS for over 200 days, I'd say the hell with them. They don't deserve a heads-up.
Title: Re: How do you tell agents that you have decided to self-publish?
Post by: Sarah Ahiers (Falen) on July 07, 2015, 07:52:32 AM
If an agent has kept your MS for over 200 days, I'd say the hell with them. They don't deserve a heads-up.

I mean, average response time on a full request is 6 months, so that could be burning bridges with a lot of agents for no real reason