So, my friend and I started writing a novel about a year and a half ago. We finished it in the middle of January of this year. Before sending out any query letters to publishers or agents, we wanted to get the opinion of some local literary scholars from Universities. We got feedback better than we would have ever possible imagined. So, in the beginning of March we started to look for publishers that would be a good fit. After narrowing down a large list to about ten publishers, we were ready to start sending out query letters when we found out that half of them we reported for being sketchy operations. After that setback, we decided against sending directly to publishers and set our sights on getting an agent. In the middle of March we sent out of first query letters. However, we wrote the query letter before we made a major change (renaming all of the characters) and forget to make the changes in the query letter. So, needless to say, our first "batch" of submissions we assume was pointless (we had all the wrong names). But, somehow we managed to get a follow up after our ninth rejection. Since that, we've sent out another few "batches" of submissions--probably around 30. We really have no clue what we are doing as we are first-time authors from West Virginia. Hardly anyone we know has any teeth or shoes and they definitely know nothing of writing books or even reading them. So, we assumed that our query letter was probably flawed. But, we got another response from an agent who doesn't represent fiction that said that our query letter was outstanding and she'd really like to help us, but she wouldn't be much help. So, now we are really confused. We understand that one person's opinion is one person's opinion. But, we asked a few of the local literary scholars about our query letter and they said that it was good as well. The first ten rejections really don't count since we messed them up so badly, but, after that, we're still at 8 rejections to two follow ups (plus the one from the original that is still a mystery to us). We don't think that is such a bad ratio, but, the problem is that, of the three follow ups, none of them have wanted to represent us after reading several chapters of the book. With all that being said, we already have literally thousands of people that our asking us: "When is your book being published? We can't wait to buy it." And, I'll be working a summer job that I'll meet literally thousands of people per week. So, self-publishing on Amazon seems really promising to us at this point. For one, we'd make more money per book selling our book for $5 on Amazon then we would if a publisher picked it up and sold it for $15. Also, our book is a young-adult book heavily influenced by pop culture. While we've had older people say they like the book a lot, we still just don't see very many people over 30 buying the book. That being said, teens and twenty-somethings don't go to book stores anymore. They buy books on Amazon and our book is very intelligent and the people that will like it have e-readers in vast disproportion to the general public, so we really don't think self-publishing is going to be a set back at all. Additionally, agents are typically in that older generation that just isn't going to like our book as much as the younger generation. It's fundamentally different from anything that's been written in terms of style--like Cather in the Rye was when it was written. We feel like it's an uphill battle getting an agent because we think that they just can't understand that this style of writing is appealing to a large group of people. However, before we make any decisions, we still want to send out a few more query letters and see what happens. But, before I leave for my summer job, we really want our book to be available just because I'll be meeting ridiculous amounts of people from all over the world and we think it will be great networking. So, we really want to either be positive we'll be published or self-published on Amazon by the June. What we want to know is: what would you do in this situation? Are we doing good in terms of follow-ups to rejections? Do you think we are making too big a deal about the challenges of getting an agent/publisher because of our writing style? P.S. you guys have been awesome to us so far and we really do value all of your opinions. Thank you so much!