With my first novel finished minus editor and critique partner revisions, I am faced with the next dilemma as an aspiring author. While working on this novel, I have spent a lot of time researching the pros and cons of using a pen name or using my real name. Based on the current economy, I did not want to risk my job in any way and thus decided on using a pen name. Following my decision on a pen name, I started working on my author brand and then I moved on to researching and taking an online workshop about publishing options (to go through a major publishing house or try to self-publish as an e-book).
For me, the reason I wanted to write this novel and publish it are personal and I am not seeking any particular notoriety for writing. I enjoy writing in the romance genre and will continue, but there is no aching need for me to see my name in print, my book on a store book shelf. That is not to say I dismiss those who do aspire and enjoy reaping the rewards of their success. Rather, my expectations remain grounded in my own personal reality and that is that I am writing for myself and hope that someone out there likes what I have to say. I am not about to ditch my day job and jump into the deep end thinking I will be an immediate success. I love my teaching too much to give it up without a fight. By my writing is fulfilling and until recently, has been so even in the absence of having any one else read what I have written. This novel will be the first time in 21 years that anyone has ever read a piece of my fiction writing and I must admit that I have been very anxious about releasing this novel for others to read.
As I have researched and worked through all of my options, there is one area that I am still struggling with and that is whether to find an agent. If I decide to self-publish and use freelance editors and design teams for covers, I retain a lot of control over my work. Not to say that I am unwilling to consider constructive criticism, rather, there are parts to my novel that I will remain rather firm on. Most of the advantages that I have found regarding retaining an agent is strongly connected to publishing with large publishing houses, ease at securing strong editing and design teams, and public relations issues including book readings and signings along with other promotional opportunities. I am sure that I am missing some important aspects and so I turn to you and ask, what the advantages and disadvantages are to having an agent?