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  • Susann Camus

Self-Publish or Find an Agent?

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

When I began writing See Me: A Jeannie Johal Thriller, I had no thoughts about how I would like the book to be published and promoted. More than two years later, as I was finishing the sixth and final draft, I learned that it would upwards of two years to find an agent and get the book published through a traditional publishing house. That seemed to be an inordinately long time, especially after having spent two years in writing mode.

I was fortunate to stumble on an ad for PitchFest/ThrillerFest a few weeks before the conference was scheduled. I promptly registered and made my way to New York. It was my first time in the Broadway district, and I was overwhelmed by the hectic traffic and bustling crowds. It reminded me of arriving at a busy intersection in a Central American city and learning that local drivers do not believe in traffic lights, signs or signals. Speed rules! The Uber driver laughed when I told him I was from eastern North Carolina by way of Vancouver, Canada. He boasted that he was among the best drivers in the world and had to be to survive driving in downtown New York. I believe him.

To prepare for PitchFest, I wrote and rewrote an elevator pitch so that I could deliver it in about 1 1/2 minutes to rows of agents seated across multiple rooms. I met with six agents, most of whom were businesslike yet gracious. I sent the full manuscript to two of them at their invitation. I only heard back from one, who declined to represent me, but encouraged me to keep writing.

As the result of this agent's constructive critique, I revised the beginning, tweaked a few sentences, and added a new chapter to tie up loose ends.

See Me: A Jeannie Johal Thriller, is now for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The writing process was lengthy, self-publishing my novel was a scary process even though I had lots of help, and now the activity of promoting the book is upon me. At ThrillerFest, I learned that I needed a website, so here it is, months after the book was published, but still not too late. I hope.

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