Katherine Prairie, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveler with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, British Columbia, quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the Essential Proc SQL Handbook for SAS Users, published by SAS Press in 2005. Thirst is her first thriller.
Judy: Tell us a bit about THIRST.
Katherine: Deep in a Columbia River valley rocked by violence and tightly controlled by a U.S.-Canada military force, geologist Alex Graham is on the hunt for silver. Her plans are derailed when she joins the search for a suspected toxic spill as the victim count rises. But the lethal contamination is no accident.
Judy: You’re visiting today to talk about setting up your own publishing company. Tell us about what led you to do that, and also your plans for accepting manuscript submissions in the future.
Katherine: I really wanted to be traditionally published. I pitched and queried agents for a few years and although I had many full manuscript requests, I didn’t get a contract. I hired a developmental editor to ensure my manuscript was in the best possible shape, worked up a marketing plan and kept going, but I also started to approach small presses. It was that decision that led me down the indie path because I realized that I was already halfway there.
I looked at self-publishing through CreateSpace and IngramSpark but neither would place Thirst in bookstores, something I wasn’t willing to sacrifice. On the other hand, there was no question that a publishing company opened doors unavailable to a self-published author in terms of distribution and marketing. So I decided to take the plunge.
My husband and I registered the company and set to work on bank accounts, tax accounts, credit card processing contracts, export licenses, ISBNs and copyrights, and hired a designer for the company website. Stonedrift Press Ltd. now officially existed, but the work had just begun.
I found a top-notch printer and hired a professional book cover designer, an illustrator for an interior map and a copyeditor. I fine-tuned my marketing plan and built up my website and social media presence. Next I leveraged my technical background and learned to layout my print book and generate my e-book formats in Adobe InDesign. I arranged for pre-release reviews and collected endorsements for the cover. All-in-all, it took almost six months to get the book out the door.
It was the right decision for me and I’m proud of the book I published, but I can see advantages to working with other authors. With a framework in place, we may accept submissions from other mystery/suspense/thriller authors and operate as a collective, a publishing umbrella that allows authors to control their project, but benefit from group marketing efforts and distribution. We’re moving slowly on this front, but if this concept is of interest to anyone reading this, I’d encourage you to watch for details on the Stonedrift Press website or Facebook page, or sign-up for our mailing list.
Judy: Thanks for such a thorough recap of your journey so far, Katherine. To get to where you are, you must have received a LOT of advice. What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?
Katherine: The best advice I’ve been given: Just tell the story. It’s a reminder not to get hung up on creating the perfect sentence during the first few drafts.
Judy: If you were able to sit down to dinner with another author (dead or alive), who would be it be, and why? What would you eat and where would you go?
Katherine: I’d like to sit down to a seafood dinner with Michael Crichton on a tiki torch-lit lanai overlooking Kauai Na’Pali coast. The scenery alone reminds me of prehistoric setting of Jurassic Park, one of my all time favorites which should come as no surprise since I’m a geologist! I love how Crichton merged science with thrilling stories and I’m sure he’d offer good advice to to an author attempting to do the same.
Judy: What’s next for Katherine Prairie?
Katherine: I’m currently working on my second Alex Graham novel.
Judy: Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. Good luck with Thirst, your sequel, and your publishing company.
Find Katherine Prairie at: