wrestlervic saidSelf-publish, self-publish, self-publish.
Why on earth would anyone want to wait for some knucklehead to decide whether what you have to say is worth it to them? For you to give them all the rights, only receive maybe $10k to $20k up front (if you're lucky), and just pennies of any sale? To never own your book once they take it out of distribution months later? For them to expect YOU to do all of the marketing and them to profit the most?
Do not waste your time with publishers in this new era. Even the well-known authors are ditching them. Remove the middle man.
On that note, make sure your book is written well and you've spent months on editing and proofing and have had others read it too. Make your book good.
Don't ever tell another writer how to best market their work. What works for YOU, what YOU prefer to do for your own work should have no bearing on anyone else.
"Even well-known authors are ditching them." Name five.
The publishing industry exists because writing a book and selling a book are as similar as blacksmithing and neurosurgery. And to suggest that the publishing company are making huge profits off your work is laughable. Publishers take profit from your work because their paying for the cover art, paper, ink, binding, shipping, marketing, and shelf space at Barnes and Noble. The majority of published books don't even make a profit for the Publishing company, and they still put money in the hands of the authors. What percentage of self-published authors do you think make even close to ten grand?
OP: Congrats on getting the attention of a literary agency! Before you sign any contract, make sure you do your research. Have they sold titles recently? Are they a member of AAR? Search online for the top questions to ask an agent before signing a contract.
The bad news is, your work is never guaranteed to sell, either in self-publishing or traditionally. The good news is, it sounds like someone in the industry thinks your work has merit and that is a HUGE step forward.
The best advice I can give you is this. Write well. And then do your research.
EDIT: Oh. This was from 2011. The OP will never see this. Oh well. My point still stands.