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  • Writer's pictureCatharine Riggs

The Thriller Roundtable's Question of the Week

What's one myth about being an author you'd like to debunk? See my response and join in on this week’s Thriller Roundtable at

As a recently published author who chased her goal for many years, I think the myth I’d most like to dispel is that upon obtaining an agent, a writer’s dream will be fulfilled. I’m not here to dampen anyone’s spirits but it’s a crucial piece of information I wish I had understood. Because during the years I attended writers’ conferences and spent my hard-earned dollars to make a pitch, I (wrongly) came to assume that if I were lucky enough to sign with an agent, all roadblocks would dissipate.

In my case, after many years of submissions and a sprinkling of fairy dust, I signed with the agent of my dreams, Rebecca Scherer of JRA. She’s everything I want in an agent: smart, professional and well-read with a keen understanding of the industry. And yet, although we received positive feedback, we failed to sell the manuscript that had sold Rebecca on me.

At the time I was devastated. I felt dejected and confused. I had achieved the goal of obtaining an agent, what more could I have done? And then I slowly learned a truth that was hard for me to accept - the odds of selling a book to a major publisher, even after obtaining a respected agent, is nowhere near one hundred percent.

Am I saying this to discourage yet-to-be-published authors? Absolutely not. But what I will say is they need to be ready to pivot in the event their manuscript doesn’t sell. In my case, I spent a few weeks wallowing in self-pity before I got back to work. I wrote the first draft of What She Gave Away in three months and within six months we signed a two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer with an option on a third. The closely linked sequel, What She Never Said, was released this past month.

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