That's a good question. It's not because I want more money in royalties. It's not because I desire more self control over my work. Simply put, I was rejected. Not that I really put an earnest effort into it. I only submitted a query to about 10 literary agents. Most responded, and were polite, feeding me positive remarks - i.e. a bunch of crap - that my idea is promising but they just don't think the project is for them. That's fine, because my book is not for them. It's for a very specific market.
To be honest, I took the rejection quite well. It didn't feel nearly as bad as getting rejected by a girl or even from the varsity basketball team. Heck, I've felt worse getting rejected entrance into a downtown LA hipster bar that I didn't want to be at in the first place. I'm not the dress-to-impress type. If anything, rejection felt liberating.
So why send in queries to a literary agent? Basically, I just thought that was the process. Also, I wanted to get some professional criticism in regards to my work. I can only take so much of my friends and family's praise before I really want to hear from that one Simon Cowell cynic who tells me, "Jeez, this sucks!" Perhaps I'm misled, but at least then I'd get some genuine critical feedback and could think of ways to make the manuscript better.
But now that I've been shunned from the Corporate Literary World, I've cast my lot with the patrons of self publishing - the blue collar publishing industry, the schwag of literature as some book critics may lead you to believe. These are MY PEOPLE.
In many ways, self publishing is rather advantageous for someone like me. I can work at my own pace. Of course there's a timeline I'd like to follow - hopefully get the book up on Kindle within a couple months - but if I don't meet that expectation who cares. I also get to decide how heavily I want to be involved in the process outside of the actual writing. Do I want to make my own cover? Yes! Am I going to format the book? Yes! Will I be the one promoting the book? Nobody else will! There are people and businesses that can help expedite this process, for a fee of course. Again, the decision is all mine.