I recently delivered a workshop to a bunch of creative writing students at the college I work for about how to get published---I still feel odd about it seeing as I have not yet been published. Yet. Yet. In this workshop I I somewhat surprised myself by devoting ~90% of it to the priority and importance of obtaining an agent.*
Now, I don't know anyone personally who has an agent. My personal contacts in the publishing world would not impress anyone (I do hope to change this). I do, however, know people in a local writing group who are all about the self-publishing. They sit there and encourage me to do it, too. "Release your novel online via your blog. Put it up through Amazon. You'll get numbers and eventually you'll attract an agent and a publisher. Meanwhile you'll get your writing out there. Record your own audiobooks and distribute them." For some it's a siren lure. It's not for me.
I think I know just enough about the publishing world to know I don't know nearly enough, but that's fine. Agents do. I'm a writer, and while some people think they can and should do it all, I don't. I know where my strengths and my talents lie, and I will play to those. I will work on honing my craft, coming up with new stories, characters, and worlds instead of split my efforts. I know that I'll obtain an agent some day, and get to see my books on the shelves of the Big Box Bookstores.
*I received no money by agents for this post, and no agents were harmed in the making of this blog post.