Getting an agent is important. And I don’t mean that in a “no kidding. Obviously,” kind of way. Obviously, getting agent is important from a publishing standpoint. They help you find the right publishers and help you find a good editor and they represent you. Duh. I get all that.
What I mean is they are important for ego and the sense of validation that they bring. There are many ways to rationally/objectively rate fiction. It’s a matter of subjective principle. Things that are good are not always popular. Things that are popular are not always good. However, getting an agent means that someone else, who is professionally invested in the industry, has decided that your book is worth the time and effort to get out there.
Anyone who is interested in getting published and is the type of person who is smart enough to look up a query agent is smart enough to do the research and know this. The longer I look into this, the more a sense I get that this is almost a crapshoot. Finding someone at the right time. On the right day who decides you’re worth it. In that sense it’s like anything else. Maybe it’s a lot like falling in love.
Querying feels like wandering aimlessly and hoping that you have the right direction, without knowing if you actually do. Reading and researching about querying and how to get an agent is, to say the least, strenuous. Tedious. But if in the end I can get an agent, I will feel validation. I know that securing an agent isn’t the end, that is only the beginning. But it’s also a start professionally. The moment when the hobby and dream becomes something attainable.
That’s what self-publishing lacks. The acknowledgment that the effort you put in means you produced a reasonable product.
I know that there are 100 different reasons why this is true. But it’s an ego driven sentiment. That pride in some measure of a definitibe success, instead of the arbitrary one defined by posting fanfiction where self publishing works. Even if that self published work is popular.
So I want an agent. For pride. For recognition. For myself.