Hawking Up Hairballs

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Exercise In Futility?

I've been getting busy with querying agents for my novel Buster Bungle's Big Top. It's tedious work but thankfully most of them now take email queries. That saves a lot of time and money. Still, I must confess that it feels like an exercise in futility, sort of like trying to fund your kid's college education by playing the lottery. According to the agencies themselves, they get around fifty queries a day and they only accept a handful of new clients every year, so you can see the kinds of odds that a new author faces.

Some of you are undoubtedly thinking that I should perhaps consider self-publication, whether of a traditional book or an e-book. That's a hypothetical option but, from a practical standpoint, it's a no-go. You'll drop a couple of grand on a traditional book and end up with boxes of unsold books in a back room of your house or apartment. And, yes, I'm aware of the print-on-demand services, but they turn out not to be substantially cheaper. As for e-books, there's not much cost in offering them for sale on a web site. However, the fact is, in either case, that most novels will be lucky to sell fifty copies through such outlets. I would hope for a bigger audience than that.

So, the question is, what to do? I guess I'll keep sending out the queries, though I feel like an idiot for doing so, given that I'm not the sort of person who plays the lottery. I know when the odds are stacked against me. In the end though, I'll probably self-publish an e-book and set up a web site for myself, though the thought of having to resort to that really angers me. But, you know what they say about beggars.


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