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Why I've Decided to Opt-Out of Finding an Agent for My Memoir, "Accidental Soldier"

Frankly, I always envisioned my memoir among some of the biggest publishing houses in the world. In fact, it's been my dream. I couldn't think of going any other route.
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It's official. I've decided to opt-out from finding an agent for my memoir, Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love.

Frankly, I always envisioned my memoir among some of the biggest publishing houses in the world. In fact, it's been my dream. I couldn't think of going any other route.

Even after receiving pittance of royalty checks for two of my academic books, which finally found a home after being dropped from a contract with Pearson for no reason. Even after the lengthy process of writing a book proposal. Even after going through arduous and painstaking peer reviews.

But then, last weekend while attending a conference for The Association of Special Sales, I met up with someone who specializes in strengthening Amazon platforms for author.He told me of a NBC correspondent for the Middle East who procured an agent but when the agent told him that it would take anywhere between 18-22 months, he dropped that representation and took matters into his own hands by self-publishing his memoir.

That author could easily be me.

And then it hit me. Do I want to put my fate in another agent's hands?

That's when the publishing decision of which I was so sure of took a major 180 degree turn.

I was following someone else's dream -- an outdated version of myself.

So here's why I'm officially opting out:

1. I don't have two years or more (I'm being generous) to wait until my book gets published. Waiting for an agent means I am stuck until I hear back from that agent. That can take six months or more. Maybe less. Then I have to wait for the book to get published and maybe there's more waiting time to get matched with an editor. In the time it would take for the book to be published, I could be promoting and selling my book all over the place. Yes, one may argue that it took 24 years to get the story out, but why wait an additional three years?

2. In today's digital age of publishing, I can create accounts with major distribution channels as I intend to research now hybrid models of publishing, and some of them have major distribution channels. As Brooke Warner says, "Once you decide that you're not going to publish traditionally--either because you can't or you don't want to--this whole other space of indie, partnership, self, assisted, artisanal, and more opens up to you."

And this is exactly how I feel right now.

Things are opening up for me.

But this also means I'll be forgoing the traditional distribution relationship because traditional publishers also have sales reps who would be preselling my books into trade accounts. Again, this post written by my editor, Brooke Warner sheds light on the distribution problem and as I'm getting a head start learning about the intricacies of these channels and the pros and cons, I'm learning how to also make more knowledgeable decisions.

3. Since I am my own entrepreneur, I can recoup my investment much faster. I can get into retail channels faster. I can get speaking gigs faster because I'll be a published memoirist. (oh, love the sound of that!) But this means I also have to build my author platform. Every. Single. Day. I will NOT (repeat NOT) be at the mercy of a publisher. Traditional publishing has left a seriously sour taste in my mouth.

So there you have it - 3 main reasons why I'm opting out and I'm using this space to publically announce it so I'm holding myself accountable.

Each time I pick up an issue of The Writer and scan the latest agents who are looking to take on new clients, I ask myself, "Dorit, are you sure the hybrid route is the way to go? Don't you think that your book's unique content deserves a stab at the big American publishing dream?"

But then I think again with my heart. I don't want to be living an outdated version of myself.

So now...I need to get busy. Very busy.

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