Over time, things change. When I began work on my upcoming dystopian novel, I thought I would self-publish it under a pseudonym. Half a year later, I decided that I’d actually self-publish it under my own name. More than a year into the process, I’m considering whether to find an agent and try to publish it under a more traditional route.
The main benefits to traditional publishing include an advance and dealing with people who want my book to sell. By the very nature of an agent/principal relationship, an agent gets paid more when the principal earns more. Also, reputable agents will have ties to publishing firms, which can get writers more money for their work.
The disadvantages to looking for an agent mainly regard potentially less money in royalties. This only really makes a difference depending upon the copies sold. Sure, Amazon gives more money in royalties (generally) for self-published works, but selling a thousand copies might not even cover the money received from a standard book deal. Since I don’t have a million people emailing me daily demanding my novel gets finished, I don’t have to worry about this as much.
For people who might be wondering what route they should take, I found a couple good articles (here and here) which go into what average first book deals might look like. I hope they help other people as they decide which route they want to take to publish their writing.