July 13 – 19: “What is the added-value of agents in the self-publishing model?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5AgentFest continues this week on the Big Thrill! We’re joined by Kimberly Cameron, Helen Heller, Alec Shane, Beth Phelan and John Raab as they discuss the burning question: “What is the added-value of agents in the self-publishing model?”


Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Associates

cameronKimberley Cameron loves finding new voices. She was the co-founder of Knightsbridge Publishing Company with offices in New York and Los Angeles. In 1993 she became partners with Dorris Halsey of The Reece Halsey Agency, founded in 1957. She opened Reece Halsey North in 1995 and in 2009 the agency became Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She resides and works from Tiburon, California and France.




Helen Heller, The Helen Heller Agency

hellerHelen has spent her career in publishing and specializes in thrillers and major front-list fiction. She likes a big story well told and handles a number of internationally bestselling and multiple-award-winning authors. Helen is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.





John Raab, Suspense Publishing

Raab, John - Picture as of 11102014Bio: Born and raised in Ohio, I relocated to Los Angeles, California in 2007. It was that same year my wife, Shannon, and I created Suspense Magazine, which spawned Suspense Publishing onto the literary scene. Currently publishing #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Paul Kemprecos, along with publishing award winning authors Joseph Badal, the writing team of Gary Williams and Vicki Knerly, and Tom B. Sawyer, who was the executive producer of “Murder, She Wrote”. Suspense Publishing is also a partner of the ITW, CWA, HWA and IACW organizations.



Beth Phelan, The Bent Agency

Phelan, Beth - picture as of 05112015Bio: Beth Phelan is originally from Fall River, Massachusetts but now lives in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of New York University, lifelong reader and dog person. After holding positions at Waxman Leavell Literary (then called the Scott Waxman Literary Agency) and Howard Morhaim Literary, Beth joined the Bent Agency in 2013 where she is continuing to build her list. She can be found at bethphelan.com, thebentagency.com, and on Twitter at @beth_phelan.



Alec Shane, Writers House, LLC

Shane, AlecBio: Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he has worked directly under agents Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower since 2009. In that time, he has worked on and provided strong editorial feedback for a large number of Adult and Young Adult titles of all ranges and genres. Alec is now actively seeking out clients for his own list.



  1. As agents, we do much more than just sell your manuscript; we manage your career. That includes making sure that the marketing, publicity, social media, and everything else that goes into making a book a success goes as smoothly as possible. When an author chooses to self-publish, all of the muscle and resources that come with a publishing house are gone, and the author is more or less on his/her own when it comes to making sure their book stand out in the massive sea of self-published books. Having an agent means having someone who can help you navigate that maze and make sure that the work you are putting in to get your book seen and read isn’t going to waste. A lot of authors are kind of lost when it comes to effective marketing and PR, and so agents can be helpful there.

  2. I think that an agent can do a lot for your indie career, depending on where you want to take it. We’ve evolved a lot, became more editorial and more aware of the digital marketplace and all its potential.

    So an agent can be a business partner for you, if you’re having trouble with that. We know that a lot of your time is spent making your books amazing, so the paper shuffling and nudging and fighting can be left to us. Agents can also help editorially. You can indie publish some books while your agent handles your other titles that might be more appropriate for print. Or you can indie publish all of your titles while your agent finds publishers to translate them and sell in other territories.

    I think that a lot of savvy agents are always thinking of what they can do to push an author to the next level, and that means something different for indie authors than it does for traditional. It all depends on what you want and where you want to take your career.

  3. Over the past few years I’ve moved from a traditionally published author to a hybrid. My domestic novels are indie published while my agent at Trident Media Group handles all foreign contracts. I’ve been lucky to have my thrillers translated into 24 languages, but it would be impossible for me to contact and negotiate new contracts with those publishers. This is where I feel an agent is invaluable for an indie-published author. Foreign rights represent a significant percentage of my income; something I couldn’t manage on my own.

  4. As an agent, as beautifully said in some of the above comments, we are part of your team, and can help advise and plan as you develop your career, even if you should decide to self-publish. We also represent your subsidiary rights to the book, and can sell foreign, film rights, etc. I do suggest to authors that we TRY to sell the book to a traditional publisher first, as most of the writers I represent don’t want to spend as much time as it takes to design and market their book. We stand by your choices and help when we can!

  5. Do agents/authors find success selling foreign rights for self-published or out-of-print novels?

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