In a world where even Uma Thurman can get dumped by her husband, it’s hard to take some decisions personally, but you still don’t brag about not being wanted anymore.
I kept quiet for a couple of years after Random House dropped me, just days before publishing Doc in May of 2011. But when Ron Charles of the Washington Post Book World asked, “I assume Random House will be publishing Epitaph?” I had to tell him, “Well, I certainly expected to stay with Random House for my whole career, but I’m with Ecco at HarperCollins now.” And the story came out.
A number of award-winning authors have recently experienced a similar abrupt abandonment. Jon Clinch is among them. His first novel Finn was an American Library Association Notable book, won the Philadelphia Library’s Athenaeum Award, and was listed among 2008’s best novels by the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post. His second novel Kings of the Earth was named the best of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List on Oprah Winfrey’s magazine “O.” But he, too, found himself reconsidering what a writer can reasonably expect from a publisher.
When he read about my experience at Random House, he wrote an insightful piece about the current atmosphere in the book industry. It’s called Looking for the Next Big Thing. Read it and weep.
In the meantime, I am very happy to be with HarperCollins’ Ecco imprint. As Ron Charles said, “It’s a great place for you. They have really good taste.” Epitaph is likely to be out in the fall of 2014.