Stop! Read that title again before you freak out.
If you misread my title as self-publishing is throwing in the towel, read it again. I said, “At what point do you throw in the towel OR self-publish?” Self-publishing is not giving up, and I truly do not feel that is the case. The only way you give up is if, as I said, you throw in the towel on querying and refuse to self-publish. Now that that is clear let’s continue.
However, like it or not, it is the way many view the act of self-publishing. After all, who writes a manuscript with the initial thought, “I’m going to write this book and self-publish it?”
The answer: no one. Not unless they’ve been through the querying gamut before and decide they’re not even going to bother this time.
Be honest. Doesn’t every author originally have dreams of grandeur, thinking they wrote the next Gone with the Wind, only to watch their dreams crumble as their inbox fills with one rejection after another?
I have spent years watching aspiring authors pour their heart and soul into a novel, heck two novels and in many situations three and four. They keep typing away, waiting for that gem that will eventually land them on the New York Times® Bestsellers List.
After every novel, they start anew the querying process. Usually they query the same agents who rejected them before, with the attitude: This is it! This is what the agent’s profile says she wants. Only to be rejected again.
So, what does it take? It’s not just a matter of having a well-written manuscript; I’ve certainly seen my share of horribly written novels. It cannot be just that it’s lacking originality. I’ve seen a plethora of the same story until I want to puke, example: vampire and werewolves...sorry, no offense.
So what is it? What does it take to have an agent or publisher notice you?
Again, I apologize; I wish I had the answer. Unfortunately, I do not.
But, here’s what I can tell you. If you have written a novel, have had it read by several beta readers (not just friends and family), and have had it professionally proofed for errors, not necessarily edited, just checked over for errors and you are still not getting a request to publish… Why not try self-publishing? Stories abound of Indie authors who took a chance and that chance paid off. They let the readers decide, and guess what?
The readers said, “Yes!”