So, you’ve finished the backbreaking work of writing, polishing, and packaging your novel for release. Then, you got through the soul-crushing process of pushing through the agenting process, before you finally find the publisher of your dreams. Happy ever after? Hardly.
If you’re investment-banker-turned-writer, Polly Courtney, your frustrations have just begun.
Thanks to mismatched expectations, battles over titling and cover design, and being pigeonholed into a genre the author did not intend to be stigmatized for, the release of Miss Courtney’s latest book, It’s a Man’s World, gave way to a moment in the spotlight that wasn’t entirely a happy one. Publicly ditching her publisher, HarperCollins, Polly Courtney decided to stand up to what she perceived as unfair treatment.
Here’s her story.
CQ: You’ve gained a whole lot of attention for ditching your publisher, HarperCollins, at your latest book’s launch. Can you tell us about what led up to this decision? Did you make it spur-of-the-moment, or was this something you were considering doing before?
It was not a spur-of-the-moment decision; it was the culmination of three years’ pent-up frustration as a result of repeated errors in packaging and marketing. Of course, I had considered the possible consequences in advance. I knew that the result would be a backlash from the traditional publishing industry, but I don’t regret my decision. If the emails I’ve received from other authors, readers, designers and even small publishers are anything to go by, it would appear that this is indeed an industry-wide problem and that many are suffering as a result.
CQ: Your book, “It’s a Man’s World“, was allegedly given a degrading title, cover, and “chick lit” label. How would you have called, covered, and categorized it if you had full control?
CQ: What inspired the story of your novel? Do you perceive any parallels between your own experiences in publishing and Alexa’s in the world of lads’ mags?
CQ: What do you believe is the role of women’s literature in the publishing world these days? Does it benefit writers in pursuing this niche, or is it too narrow and sexist to make it worthwhile?
CQ: What will happen to “It’s a Man’s World” now? Will HarperCollins continue to sell it, or are you making other arrangements? What’s the best way to obtain it today?
CQ: You mentioned that a lot of writers are experiencing similar conflicts with their publishers. What’s the best course of action to reconcile this, in your opinion?
CQ: You are returning to self-publishing – however, Amazon, Smashwords, and other self-publishing venues are referred to as “the new slush-pile”. How do you intend to make yourself noticed among the throngs?
CQ: How did you get started as an author? With an engineering degree and investment banker background, what experiences led you to try something else? Was it a difficult transition?
CQ: You write about strong women overcoming adversity. Who is your favorite MALE character in literature, and why?
CQ: What advice would you offer young writers just starting out on their journey?
Where Can We Find You?
Where Can We Find Your Books?
For some crazy reason we can no longer find “It’s a Man’s World” on Amazon, so here’s a direct link to Polly Courtney’s page about it. And here are several of her other books: