Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There's no Faking It with Cora Carmack!

Today I'm talking to Cora Carmack about New Adult, self publishing and her best selling book LOSING IT.
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 novel.

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 my editor.

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 take off?

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 sad/murderous.

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.


  1. Thanks for stopping by Cora!

    This is perfect: 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.