“…Then, why are you looking for an agent for your next book?”

Offline at Barnes and NobleMatthew, you say you like independent publishing. Then, why are you looking for an agent and publisher for your new novel, The Ghosts of Reseda High?

Because, why not?

I don’t see a conflict between independent and traditional publishing. One doesn’t eliminate the other, and a growing number of authors are learning to use both successfully. As I wrote in my post, “Independent publishing is not for everyone.” It’s also not for every book. The Ghosts of Reseda High is one of those books.

When I decided to write a young adult (YA) novel, I knew I was getting into a competitive genre. Harry Potter and Twilight showed how successful YA books can be. Today, YA is probably second to comic books in providing Hollywood with a steady source of stories (as well as providing Shailene Woodley with a steady source of income).

With most things teenage, tastes in YA can change quickly. Post-apocalyptic fiction has nearly run its course, and its cousin zombie fiction has overstayed its welcome. If you want to write a vampire romance, don’t. Some agents specifically state on their submission page, “No vampires.”

YA leans more towards paper instead of eBook. Teens prefer paperbacks that they can toss in their backpack or purse, take with them to the beach or pool, mark up for notes, and share with friends. Also consider that most teens need to bring a book to class for independent reading. If a student brings an iPad or Kindle Fire, how can a teacher trust that the student is actually reading a book on it and not updating their Facebook?

To succeed in YA, I need the advice and revisions from editors who know the field. I need a quality book design and an eye-catching front cover. I need to be able to print enough paper copies to make them affordable. I need this book to be translated so it is available in other markets. To accomplish all this, I need a traditional publisher.

I can do these things with independent publishing, but I would have to pay a lot out of my own pocket to do this with little chance of breaking even. The backing of a traditional publisher also carries more weight. As I wrote:

Furthermore, major publishers can still reach larger markets than independent publishing. A independently published author can be Amazon successful and get books into bookstores. But independently published authors can’t get books into every major bookstore chain, supermarket, and airport gift shop the way a major publisher can. Major publishers can mount massive advertising campaigns, arrange shelf placement at bookstores, and get writers on talk shows. Independent publishing can’t produce the success of a J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, or John Green. At least not yet.

My decision to find a traditional publisher for The Ghosts of Reseda High is a business decision, one that will give the book the best chance of commercial success. I know that I can write a book, publish it, get it in bookstores, and sell it. I’m now ready for my next challenge — create a book that can reach a wider audience. I believe The Ghosts of Reseda High is that book, and I believe a traditional publisher is the one that can help me reach that audience.

If you are an agent or publisher who is interested in the book, please contact me using the form below.