There are so many steps to getting a novel out into the world after you get your book deal or decide to self-publish (and a million other steps once it is out in the world) that it can easily take up all your time.
I adore my agent. He's one of the wisest and nicest men I've ever met in my life and I trust him completely. Still, I was nonplussed. Why shouldn't my book start with the point of view of a woman in her fifties?
As long as the old best-seller system keeps declining, making it much, much harder for new writers to break in, alternatives will have to emerge. The only advice that I can give is self-promotion and going where the readers are.
An idea has taken root in certain quarters that publishers aren't necessary any more. And for that matter, who needs bookstores? It's a seductive idea, but it gnores the fundamental realities of the book business.