The reason I’ve chosen the path of self-publishing and why I’m still looking for a literary agent.

Many people often ask me why I’ve chosen the path of self-publishing. It’s a very hard question, but after so many months the time has come to answer and describe my thoughts. As many of you know, Antara is a book written and illustrated by me. There isn’t any similar style of book in the market. There are children’s picture books and graphic novels, but scarcely someone would come across an illustrated novel. The rarity of this kind of book has prevented me to find a literary agent to represent me. If in the US there are 1000 literary agents, only 30 of them would represent author/illustrators, and the ones I’ve contacted rejected my book because that kind seemed unusual to them. A lot of people say that excuse was unfair, and yes, I believe the same thing as well. But life is unfair many times (so I’m not going to nag about that). In the process, I tried to contact a few publishing houses directly but that turned out to be impossible; No one of the large publishing houses accepts unsolicited submissions.

Therefore, there was but one solution, to self-publish my book, so that Antara wouldn’t wreck. Sometimes I read articles where some are against self-publishing, but they would do the same thing if they were in my position. In no occasion would I let my dream fade. I worked very hard for Antara; the illustrations took me almost 2 years, I wrote the story in Greek and I paid for the Greek-to-English translation myself, and all of this because I didn’t want my effort to be wasted.

Some would-be writers ask me what they should choose, self-publishing or traditional publishing. Many self-published authors would reply that they don’t know, I’m going to propose traditional publishing. What for? Self-publishing definitely has some pros, but there are times that I feel like I’m going to burst and abandon everything; in the end, however, I always come to my senses. Since Antara was published, I work hard on a daily basis to promote my book totally by myself, and this is exhausting and difficult. No, I’m not nagging about that, I’m just noting that the promotion is the most difficult aspect of self-publishing. It needs a lot of continuous nerve, time and effort. So if anyone asks if I’m in favor of traditional publishing, I’d say ‘yes’, simply because I’d like someone else to undertake the burden of promotion and other things in instead of me. I’d like a professional editor to correct my books, and I’d like a literary agent to promote my name and my work, because it’s impossible to do everything by myself. I would just like to focus on writing and painting; that would be much better. That’s why the path of self-publishing is a difficult one.

All of the above have led me to a huge dilemma for my next book. I’m thinking to begin writing a new story, and I really want to do it. However, the question arises: should the third book be illustrated or not? As I’ve explained, the reason that most agents rejected Antara was the book’s category and the kind of my illustration. So, if I start sending queries to agents, I will have again the same results, and I don’t want to get through that again. But if some people bought Antara, they did because of the illustration, that’s mostly what made the book special, and that’s what many reader reviews say. Therefore, I’m truly torn on this issue, and I don’t know what to do. The only thing I can do is to mention that even if I chose the difficult path of self-publishing, I’m still looking for a literary agent or publisher to make my life easier.

I hope everything goes well.

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