The Road to Self-Publishing - An Interview with Heather McCorkle

Today brings another interview - this time with Heather McCorkle and why she made the decision to forge her own path:

CF: Tell me a little about your thoughts on nontraditional publication and
 diversity (in publishing)

HM: Non-traditional publication, or self-publishing and small presses with different publishing models, wasn't always something I've believed in. I read a few self-published novels that were awful, then I gave up on the idea. There is no gatekeeper, no quality control to make sure the novels are up to par (save for in the small presses). Then over the years I started reading a lot of really bad traditionally published novels, some from the Big 6 publishers. My belief in them started to wane. Thankfully, times are changing and choices are opening up to writers that have never been available before. When I found Abbott Press and realized they would have quality control and a mark of quality offered to the best novels by Writer's Digest, I knew change was coming, a very good change. 

CF: What motivated your decision to self-publish?

HM: I used to be a hardcore traditionalist. I felt a traditional publisher was the only way to go. But after two agents and two failed manuscripts on editorial submission, I started to realize something. Good books, even great books, were passed up because they didn't fit the publisher list for that year. I also realized that traditional publishers are out a year to two years from purchasing to publication on novels, which puts them in a precarious position when it comes to trends (which is part of why good books get passed up). I got a lot of, "We loved this but we already have a paranormal novel in our lineup," and "Beautiful writing but the trend is on the way out." The worst part was, I discovered a large portion of them didn't want to look at rewrites because they just had way too many submissions to worry about a reread. 

CF: What do you love about this journey so far? What is the hardest part?

HM: I love how much control I have over the process with Abbott Press. Every creative decision is mine to make, though they do help guide me along the way. With a traditional publisher I would have almost no say over my cover, the interior layout, how and when it releases, etc. It made me feel so free. The hardest part is standing up to the self-publishing haters (especially since I used to be one). And the fear. When it's all in your hands there is a lot of fear of failure that grips you. But I will have wonderful marketing with Abbott so that helps alleviate a lot of it.  

CF: Has the idea of diversification changed your opinions on traditional publication? Why or why not?

HM: Absolutely. Traditional publishers take 90% of an author's profits. That used to mean something, great PR, marketing, exposure, not so much anymore. Ask agents and publishers, most of them will tell you to be prepared to do a lot of your own marketing. So what is that 90% going for? The designer name on your binding I'm afraid. Yes there is a lot to be said for designer names, but in the end Amanda Hocking didn't need one.

CF: What advice would you give writers about this "new world" of publishing?

HM: Shed your prejudices, explore your options very thoroughly, and be prepared. If you are going to go with a small press or self-publishing then be ready to do your marketing, have a great platform already, an excellent online presence. And above all, only put out quality work that has been professionally edited by someone other than yourself. And remember, don't condemn traditionalist, they got us where we are today. 

CF: What is next for you?

HM: Even as I prepare for the August debut of my YA urban fantasy novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll, I'm revising the sequel. My novel is the first in a trilogy and I plan on releasing them all (another perk you won't get with the traditional choice!) as well as a tie-in standalone novel. You won't see quick releases within the course of a few months though. I'm taking my time on these babies, revising them thoroughly, and having them professionally edited. I'm guessing seven months between each release. Best of luck to all of you, no matter what road you choose to follow!

Thank you for stopping by Heather. Now it's your turn - any follow up questions you'd like to ask???


  1. Hi Heather! Great post, and I must admit, these last few weeks I've become much more open to self pubbing for exactly the same reasons.

    Question: tips on finding a good editor?

  2. Oops, and great interview Christine!

  3. Lydia, that's fantastic! The best advice I can give on finding an editor is to get referrals. I wrote a post on my Critique Sisters's blog a few weeks ago with a few recommendations. We'll have to chat!

  4. Great interview. I love all these changes happening! So exciting for the authors!

  5. Thanks for a great interview, Christine! I agree with so much said here. We need to shed our prejudices and look at things with an open mind.

    Best of luck to you heather!

  6. Laura, thank you! Yes, definitely exciting things happening and Christine is awesome for spotlighting them.

  7. Amie, thank you so much! It's an exciting new world in publishing and I can't imagine a better time to be breaking into it. Thank you for having me over Christine, it has been a pleasure and an honor.

  8. What a fantastic interview! That's amazing traditional publishers take 90% of profits. I know you put a great deal of research into this decision, and it shows. I'm excited to watch the success of your books and can hardly wait to have one on my shelf.

    Christine, it's nice to meet you! And thank you for sharing your blog with such a fabulous lady.

  9. Love that advice, Heather: shed your prejudices, explore your options, and be prepared. Great interview, thank you, Christine!

  10. Karlene, thank you!!! I did put a lot of thought into the decision and it was by far the toughest I've ever had to make. More and more though, I'm convinced it was the right one.

    Linda, I'm glad you liked it. Thank you! :)

  11. Heather, You know I'm behind you all the way. I'm so glad you made the decision and can't wait for your books to be available. You're so right to not rush the process. And the thought you have given and the hard work you're putting in now will pay off in the end.

    Best of luck to you!!!!

  12. LK, I'm glad too! Thank you so much for your support and for being such an inspiration to me.

  13. Great interview. It's so interesting to hear how Heather made the decision to self publish. It sounds like a well thought out plan. Good luck with your debut.

  14. Thank you Natalie! It definitely took a lot of heavy thinking. :)

  15. I'm proud of you, Heather! I think you will go far. You also have an awesome support system of friends who will happily pimp your books! :)

  16. That's so sweet of you Lindsey! Thank you so much. :-) You're next my friend!

  17. Thank you Christine for posting this wonderful interview. Heather, Thank you as well, I passed on your info. from your blog as well as this interview to a writer friend of mine who has struggled for years to get her work pub (thru traditional means). I'm hoping she ventures out and explores nontraditional publication. Thanks again Heather & Christine.


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