Until recently, if you were a writer who had a novel or other work, there was essentially a single path to follow: you tried to find an agent who liked your writing, and who would be able to sell it to a publisher.

from https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/1/18285875/self-publishing-ebook-amazon-kindle-epub-book-how-to-editing-art-sales-strategy
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