Writing is a lonely gig. It's very internal by nature; we spend all our time working inside our own heads. But while writing is lonely by very definition, publishing is not.
I always knew it took a village to make a book: editors, publishers, marketing, and so much more. But now that I'm self publishing a project, I thought it would be a little different. I still hired an editor and a book cover designer and formatter and I'm working with others to market, but it's a far different process.
Fortunately, there's one thing that stayed the same.
An agent is among the very most important working relationships that an author can have. Writing is solitary, but the business side of writing doesn't have to be.
I'm still with my publisher, Razorbill Books, and my editor, who I worked with throughout the entire Across the Universe trilogy. I'm currently wrapping up a first draft of a novel I'll be sending to her. But I'm self publishing The Body Electric. Two extraordinarily different processes and projects. But the thing that's stayed the same?
Having an agent--having the right agent--is one of the most important things an author can do. Self pub, tradition pub--it doesn't matter. An agent will help you to make these decisions, guide you to the path right for your career. An agent is a business partner whose sole concern is to make sure you make the right business decisions. And more than that--an agent (at at least my agent) is my friend.
There are a lot of things up in the air about publishing these days. There are a lot of paths. Don't leave without your guide.
My agent, Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House, is one of the best in the business, and I know with absolute, 100% certainty, that I would have never had any success at all without her help.
Self publication implies "self." Alone. Solitary. But the success of The Body Electric has been anything but.