It appears that it will be impossible to get a good agent like yourself, even though some knowledgeable people have told me that my story is definitely worth a book. I was wondering, therefore, if you would recommend that I self publish through someone like iUniverse?
I guess before making the decision to self-publish you need to decide why you want to publish. Do you want your book available in a bound format for friends and family or do you really hope to break into the marketplace and begin a publishing career? If your plan is for the latter, then self-publishing will not help get you there.
Typically I do not recommend self-publishing. It’s not the way to begin a publishing career and not recognized by publishers, editors, and agents as a reputable beginning. However, if your thought is that you want to publish your book to be read primarily by family and friends or to use as a tool for your business, then go ahead. Just be aware of the restrictions that self-publishing can have. You won’t get mass distribution into bookstores across the country, you likely won’t get foreign or other subsidiary rights sales, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll get publicity beyond very local sources.
All of that being said, there have obviously been success stories now and then of self-published books that have done well. However, if you take a close look at those stories you might realize why. Typically they were nonfiction books for which the author had an amazing platform and/or was able to sell enough through workshops or seminars that brought publishers to the book. And when I mean sell enough I mean selling thousands and thousands of copies. In the case of fiction it is typically books that the author worked very, very hard to get into the limelight and probably spent a good deal of money and time to promote and get the book into stores.
And yes, I’m sure you’ll all come up with an exception to the rule, but I’m going to stick to the rule on this one. While it can’t hurt your career in the very long run to self-publish, I think it’s best to be aware of what you’re up against. If agents and publishers aren’t jumping all over your book, you have to consider that maybe this is not the book that’s ready to be published.