I attempted to get an agent for (my novel) but they were only accepting things not previously published. Is that normal?
Actually, that’s not always the case anymore. Authors who have self-published, who have a good track record for sales, are a lower risk for agents and traditional publishers than new, unknown authors. More agents and traditional publishers are latching onto successful self-published authors. One example? Fifty Shades of Grey! There are many other as well.
It doesn’t make any sense for any author to spend years trying to land a traditional contract with zero sales under their belt when they can self-publish, prove there’s a market for their book, and then more easily land a traditional contract.
But, some authors end up earning so much through self-publishing that they later turn down offers from agents and traditional publishers.