I wrote and self-published a MG fantasy book that did relatively well locally: It's in elementary school libraries, at the local public libraries, and as a student teacher I enjoy giving lessons on the writing process. Of course, the kids are always asking for a sequel. The kids read and love the book. It has about 25+ professional illustrations and a professional cover. The book checks out all the time at the libraries.
The first story had a satisfying ending, but it's also left open for sequels. Yes, I have a sequel in the works. I'm halfway done. It's the best writing that I've ever done. It shines more than the first book.
But I have these doubts:
1) I self-published the book because I failed to impress agents. I sent it to 100 agents at first. One said it wasn't what she was hoping for (I think the upcoming sequel and its detail is exactly what she was looking for).
2) As a self publisher, I wanted to see how much money I would make from the first book. I knew if I went self publishing after agents that I would't make hardly any money. I didn't have time to market the book on my own. At most I make about $10/month, even with it on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, etc. Thus, my doubt is if I send my sequel to agents, will they really care to look at it? The first book was thrown out (defined as self-publishing). I'm just glad I did my agent search first.
My main question then: If the first book didn't sell well due to going the self-publishing route, is writing the sequel worth it from a business perspective toward agents? I have another story in mind that's separate, so I'm weighing in with what is more worthwhile money and agent-wise. I keep thinking agents won't want to read a sequel when they know the first book was rejected by agents and it got put into the self-publishing world.
Thoughts are welcomed.