That is the question of the day. Do I need the validation of a traditional agent getting all dewy eyed - making promises which will probably not be kept, but putting his own marketing 'genius' behind my hard work? Or should I just publish on my own and keep working?
In some ways, I still really want that validation. I want to hear someone who is supposed to be in tune with what readers and publishers want to see telling me that my work is just that - marketable.
But then I think about the odds of a good piece of work getting through all of the sludge. I have a few literary agents with whom I have established at least a cordial enough relationship that they would remember my previous submissions. But would a third submission in less than two years impress them or have the opposite effect?
What if they interpret so many submissions as formulaic or garbage writing and toss it into the garbage heap of literature? There is the chance that they could toss it even if it was something they might like because they feel I am trying too hard.
Maybe I just don't have that special 'it' which makes me marketable! I think sometimes that has an effect. I call it the American Idol effect. There are two singers, equally talented, but one has a great back story full of trauma, heartbreak and recovery while the other lived a great life with no obstacles. guess which one gets through? The one with the story because that makes for better television.
At least with writing, I can live with the faint hope that my looks will not play a role in whether an agent likes my work! Ha!
So it is sort of like gambling, or playing the lottery. But the thing is, it's that way regardless of whether I self-publish or go through the formal submission route. What I do not have is a boat load of money to market my own book. I have time. I can push through all forms of social media, but that is a big ol' hit and miss approach to marketing. There is nothing better than being on a shelf, or being well placed on Amazon.com. Without money, those are a difficult task to achieve.
I guess I have some work to do!