Author Katie O'Rourke about her new novel A Long Thaw
I came across Katie O'Rourke way back in 2012 on Authonomy and interviewed her on this blog about the release of her debut novel Monsoon Season. She had a fascinating story to tell about how an editor discovered her work on Authonomy and approached her about publishing it. Monsoon Season went on to become a bestselling ebook with a traditional publisher but she recently decided to self-publish her latest novel. Katie tells us more about her new novel, her decision to self-publish and her advice for new authors working with publishers ...
Please tell us about your new book A Long Thaw?
Abby and Juliet are cousins who were close as children but they become separated by a divorce in the family. When they reconnect in their twenties, they have spent the past decade living very different lives and the book deals with the ways we are changed by our experiences as well as the ways we are unchangable.
Your debut novel Monsoon Season was a bestselling ebook with a traditional publisher. Why did you decide to self-publish A Long Thaw?
The shortest version is that I didn't like the way my publisher was handling my work. I don't regret signing with them because it gave me validation and it was an essential part of the learning experience. What I came to realize is that I like to be in control of how my books are represented and sold. I like to be involved in the process and get immediate feedback. Money is not the most important thing to me.
What advice would you give to new authors about working with publishers and agents based on your own experiences?
It's so hard to give advice because the industry is changing so much and it seems like there are different paths and it works so differently for each person. I saw a published author talk about how her agent basically queried her after she'd given up on finding anyone to represent her. You can't very well follow her path! I recently read where a former MFA professor wrote that anyone who gives advice on how to break in to publishing is lying because no one knows what's going on right now. That felt true.
Based on previous experience, I would not work with a publisher unagented. That's me. I know authors who do this and are happy, but it didn't work for me. I found that without an agent, I didn't have an advocate. It's a business and the publisher's job is to advocate for the publisher.
I think the best thing anyone can ever do is decide what you want. Do you want readers? Do you want money? Do you want to see your book in stores? Have it reviewed by the New York Times? Find an audience, even a small one, who really loves it? Depending on your goals, there are different ways to get there.
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