My book launched about a month and a half ago. My initial response to that is rather cliché: where did the time go? It really does only feel like a couple weeks at most. But that's not unique. Time really does keep slipping away, at an ever increasing rate as I age. But this seems like an appropriate time to think about the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing.
I would have to say the biggest advantage is that I keep more of the money from every sale. The publisher, CreateSpace, keeps their share and that's it. I get the rest. No sharing with an agent. I know from reading other blogs that the author's share per book is much lower for agented writers.
The other advantage is that I have control over everything. No one is arguing with me over the cover of the book. No one is telling me I need to change the ending or hurry up and get pages in to meet a deadline. I have complete autonomy over the creative process and if the book succeeds, it's because the book as I envisioned it is well-received.
But there are drawbacks, obviously, and each is connected with an advantage. The first is that, while I keep a larger percentage per book, I have to imagine that an agent would have helped me sell more books by now. My numbers have been decent considering I've done it without outside help (though I have had mad assistance from Maria "Pepper" Delgado). I'm happy with exceeding 120 books sold in just six weeks, but I am now reaching saturation among family and friends and face the challenge of reaching beyond them without the connections afforded me by a professional representative. I was hoping more folks who had read and enjoyed it would review it for me, but that's just not happening, so I need to find some way to reach out to the public and that's on me.
The other disadvantage is that having autonomy is two-edged sword. While I have read a lot of good detective fiction, as well as fiction in general, and know what I like, the problem is that I only know what I like. Agents and publisher know what many, many people are likely to enjoy, so they could help me mold my work to reach a wider audience. While I think what I'm putting out there is good and I have a sense that people like it, having a professional opinion would be helpful.
All in all, I'm happy with the situation as it is. Would I consider an offer from an agent? Yes. But I wouldn't automatically leap on it. If they threw enough money at me I'd have to think about it, but it would have to be a good bit to pass up knowing that if I made it, it was because I really was a good enough writer and I worked hard enough at it to sell my books. And that would be a really good feeling.
But to all you agents out there--I'm listening.