Sharon: Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Losing It?
Cora: There was no one thing
that inspired LOSING IT, unfortunately. I love reading about awkward situations
(because I’ve lived through plenty of them). I really wanted to read a book
with a heroine like Bliss. We see girls like her in books, but she’s usually
the funny best friend. I, personally, had never read a romance novel with a
girl like her as the main character. Some of the things in the book are
inspired by my own college experience. My friends read the book and recognized
lines or events that really happened when we were in college (I promise…
Garrick was not one of those real things).
Sharon:How did you feel about your decision to self publish?
Cora:At first, it scared
me. There still is, unfortunately, a stigma associated with self-publishing.
But I knew in my gut that it was
right decision for this particular book. And by the time I hit publish, there
were already so many bloggers and readers on Goodreads and twitter were excited
about the book that I wouldn’t have changed my decision for anything. That
being said, I am IMMENSELY happy that LOSING IT and two companion novels (one
about Cade and one about Kelsey) have been picked up by Harper Collins in the
U.S. and Ebury/Random House in the U.K./Australia. As nice as it to have
complete creative control over a project when self-publishing,prefer to spend my time writing, rather than
the business side of things.
Sharon:What did it take for you to make Losing It a success?
Cora:I started to answer
this question by telling you about writing the book and making the cover and
blog tours and all of that, but the truth is—everyone does those things and it
doesn’t guarantee a book will be successful.
The number one thing
that made my book a success was readers. They got excited about the book, and
told their friends. They read the book, and told their friends. Those friends
told other friends. They posted on blogs and Facebook and Twitter. You, as
readers, wield so much power, more than any of you probably know. If you like a
book, and want the author to succeed and to keep writing, the best thing you
can do is tell another person about the book. Leave a review on Amazon or
iBooks or wherever you bought it. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but reviews
REALLY do sell books. So, if you want to read more New Adult books like LOSING
IT, the best thing you can do is to show publishers with your money and with
your mouths, that this is something you want, something you believe in. The
power in publishing belongs to the readers as much as the big corporations.
Sharon:What would you say to others considering to self publish?
Cora:I would say it’s a very
personal decision that must be made with the specifics of each novel in mind.
It’s not for everyone. If you’re not willing to put in the money and time to
make your book stand out and look professional, it’s not for you. You are quite
literally doing the work of an entire publishing company alone when you decide
to self-publish. And if you half-ass it, readers can tell. In particular,
self-publishing is a good choice for people publishing books that fall into a
very particular niche that publishing as a whole is not addressing—like New
Adult books. Or, maybe you’ve written a YA paranormal about vampires. If that’s
you, you’ve no doubt heard from dozens upon dozens of agents and publishers
that the paranormal market is over-saturated, and publishers just aren’t
buying. Yes, that may be true. But there are readers out there who would still buy vampire books. Those
readers will look to self-publishing when publishers don’t provide the kind of
book they want.
Sharon:Tell us a bit about your journey since your published your
Cora:Oh, boy, it has been a
journey. A whirlwind of one in fact. I self-published LOSING IT in mid-October
2012. By day two, it hit #1 on the Barnes and Noble Bestseller List. In that
first full week on sale, it also hit the New York Times List and the USA Today
Bestseller list. By day three, I was receiving emails from agents and
publishers (both foreign and U.S.). I spoke to several agents, some of whom had
contacted me, and others I had contacted. After a lot of stress-eating, I chose
an agent, who then immediately went out on submission with the book to
traditional publishers. Hurricane Sandy hit New York a few days later, which
slowed things down, but eventually my agent came back to me with multiple
offers. Each publisher that offered was AMAZING, and I would have been happy to
work with any of them, but I quite happily chose William Morrow Books, an
imprint of Harper Collins.
LOSING IT stayed on the New York Times list for four
weeks in a row, during which time, we worked on getting the deal ironed out
with Harper Collins. It went off the bestseller list for a week, but then
jumped back on it the first week that Harper Collins took over control of the
eBook. Around that time, we started getting offers from foreign publishers. So
far we have signed deals with publishers in the U.K., Spain, Turkey, Greece,
and Korea. It’s pretty mind-blowing to think that my little book that I wrote
in three weeks time, was going to be read all over the world in multiple
languages. I also can’t wait to hold a physical copy of the book in my hands.
Harper Collins actually moved up the U.S. release, and now that dream will come
true on February 26th! When we sold LOSING IT, we also sold two more
books, so I’ve also been working non-stop to get those books written and off to
Sharon: I want to talk to you about New Adult for a little bit. A lot of
publishers are starting to have NA imprints. Why do you think NA is starting to
Cora:The simplest answer,
as I addressed above, is that the readers have spoken. They’ve made quite clear
that they’re interested in reading NA, so publishers are jumping on the
bandwagon so to speak. I also think it has a great deal to do with a generation
of readers that spawned the boom of the YA market, who are now growing up. It
has never made sense to me that readers had to go from reading about sixteen
and seventeen-year-old characters who are just figuring out who they are to
reading about thirty-year-old characters who have steady jobs and their lives
all figured out.
I hate to break it to
you teens, but life is not that simple. It gets messy and complicated before
all the pieces get put together. You might figure out who you are when you’re a
teenager, but then it becomes a matter of finding where you fit, finding your
place in this world. And that, to me, is at the heart of New Adult. Art is
supposed to imitate life, and your early twenties are a time of excitement and
turmoil and fear and newness that deserve to be immortalized in fiction.
Sharon:What do you have to say to knockers of NA?
Cora:Not much. I think the
sales numbers speak for themselves. Some people don’t like the name; others
don’t like the narrowing down of books to such a specific age or category. The
truth is—I’m a fan of whatever helps sell books. I will support whatever method
gets and keeps people reading.
My first year in
college (back in 2005-2006), I remember searching avidly for books about
college-aged protagonists, and they were nearly impossible to find. There
certainly weren’t enough of them to satisfy an avid reader like me. So, I went
back to reading YA, and I got a lot of crap for reading “teen” books when I was
no longer a teen. If my college-self could time travel to today and take a look
at the burgeoning genre, she would be in heaven.
Sharon:What's next for Cora Cormack?
Cora:Next up is a companion
novel called FAKING IT that follows Cade Winston (a secondary character in
LOSING IT). It’s due to release this summer in the U.S. and in the fall in
UK/Australia. It will be followed by a companion novel about Kelsey (another
secondary character from LOSING IT).
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favourite Food: Baked Potato. Bring on the carbs!
Favourite Animal: I have to say Cat or my kitty named Katniss would be
Favourite Colour: At the moment, teal.
Favourite Drink: Dr. Pepper. Otherwise known as… heaven in a can.
Favourite Book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Favourite Place to Write: While traveling—planes, trains,
buses, whatever the mode of transport may be.
You can find Cora on Twitter! Check her out, her tweets are cool.
Sharon M. Johnston is an author and public relations specialist who lives in sunny Queensland, Australia.
She has been a Pitch Madness host for the past few years, and is also a Pitch Wars mentor.
Her New Adult Sci Fi Romance, DIVIDED: An Open Heart Novel Book 1, is out now with City Owl Press.
We are ten writers passionate about Young Adult literature in all shapes and sizes. Check out our About Us page for details on all of our amazing contributors! Don't hesitate to contact us with questions or comments.