One of the hardest things for an "up-and-coming" author to do is choose which manuscript they think will be "the one" to get them at least a partial read, better a full request, and ultimately a contract. I have self-published four books and had an e-publisher for the fifth work, but even still, I know I have an uphill climb to go. I have five other manuscripts that I could shop (and even some people have said why not shop the novels you've already self-published?) but that's a tricky thing, isn't it? Nevertheless, I have NO idea which to shop. At least one that I'm considering has been to the second-ring of acceptance (the partial) but was ultimately passed over by an agent. One has a full request, which is a yay! , but I guess that means I can't submit that to an agent (although to be fair, that one is with a publisher also).Ironically, that manuscript has also been rejected by another publisher (but that publisher had also requested a full manuscript...hmm, I may have my answer!). Then again, this very same manuscript got rejected in full by another publisher (but they demand unsolicited queries to include the full MS, so it wasn't "requested" per se).
I then have two more manuscripts that I haven't really sent out yet, but I don't know how to label them. I think they both might be women's fiction, but I am not sure. The advice from authors is to just submit your strongest work, but the agents/editors want you to tell them what kind. One very nice lit agent said that my submission for RJC wasn't romance, but rather women's fiction. I can see what she meant by that, but for me, I am telling a love story. All of my stories are love stories...but they don't call IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK a romance even though Fonny is one of my favorite "heroes" ever. I don't know. It's like divining the future. The other complication is I'm actually doing very well with my self-publishing. . From all the articles I've read about "average" self-publishing sales, I'm doing twice as good--three times as good as those averages. Maybe the rules are different for AA writers? Word of mouth is huge, and I have a lovely crew of readers who do like to talk! And I don't know. I'm being pulled in several directions, but I don't want to "give up" and be content with the self-publishing. I'll just put my stuff out there and hope an agent likes it, I reckon. At the very least I know readers do!