When I first started writing (all of two and half years ago), I didn't go into it expecting to be published, I did it to see if I could write a book. It wasn't until I wrote the book, and was told it had potential, that the niggling idea came to life. A dream of being published was born.
After polishing it and polishing it, I finally got enough nerve to submit that first book to contests. Results were mixed. I polished it some more. Then I went to the Romantic Times (RT) Convention and actually pitched it. Shortly after, I started querying agents.
Writing the query for that book opened my eyes. Some thought my book sounded like Twilight (it's not Twilight – not even an adult version of it) and I realized that maybe my book wasn't all that unique. But how was I to know? It's not like I read tons of vampire romance novels. I'd only read a few.
I've read lots more now. I still think my first book has unique aspects to it and I have numerous ideas for a series. It's just that my first book won't make a good first book in the series. Neither will my second, since it's a sequel to the first.
So I wrote a third. One that could kick-start a series. It really was my best, yet. Even the query was easy to write! And while I've had requests (and some requests are still in process), somewhere along the way the urgency to get an agent has diminished.
It's not like I've given up my search for an agent. More like I've slowed down to consider. I've heard the reasons I should continue. I've heard the reasons it's not necessary.
Self-publishing is a tempting apple, but I'm not ready to go that route. It requires a lot of work and time. Time I would rather spend writing. Maybe once I have several books under my belt, it'll be time I can spare.
There's still a part of me that wants that agent, though. Someone on my side who loves my writing. Helping me get better, helping me fulfill my dream. I don't know if that part will ever vanish completely, but I know I don't need an agent to fulfill my dream.
In the meantime, I will keep writing. And I will continue to query, because you just never know. It's like the lottery. You can't win unless you play. And while I do dream of winning the lottery (so I can quit the paying job), at least my dream of being published is a whole lot more realistic. With or without an agent.