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Well, I can tell you that I have had rejection after rejection from agents on a 58,000 YA novel I wrote, and I realize I am probably just going to have to bite the bullet and self-publish.

However, I don't necessarily see me having much chance of making money on my own. The key goal, the way I see it, should be to either interest a company in optioning movie rights to it (and presume the movie will never be made, of course; the idea would be to get a nice chunk of option money such that a good ROI on the book could be generated) or interest a publisher in taking the book on.

So, while I definitely would put my book up for sale, I would assume no one would buy it. But, what if I, in the interest of creating awareness, gave the book away? What if I advertised the book in a couple high-profile venues (like a Hollywood Reporter classified ad, that kind of thing), invited people to download the book for free, and perhaps ask for a tip/donation if a reader felt so inclined? Is anyone else thinking along these lines? So far as I can tell, others have used this model.
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Well, I can tell you that I have had rejection after rejection from agents on a 58,000 YA novel I wrote, and I realize I am probably just going to have to bite the bullet and self-publish.

The first thing any writer needs is honest feedback on a given work. The fact that agents have been rejecting your novel does not necessarily mean that the novel is unpublishable. The thing to understand about agents is that they are not investing themselves in a given work, per se, when they take on a new client, they're taking on a career.

The self-publishing route is a viable option. While legacy publishers bring both marketing expertise and a marketing budget to the table, more and more often writers are being asked to do more and more of this sort of work. Regardless of this, however, the best marketing tool is a well-written story.

So my recommendation would be, do all you can to ensure you have written a good novel. Friends and family can be honest, and it's easier to detect feigned enthusiasm from those you know, but I suggest you consider joining critters.org, an online writing critique group. Writing critiques yourself will give you an ear for possible problems with your own work, and while it can be hard to have people finding fault with your 'baby', better them than the reviewers, who may be even harsher.
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