Monday Meet-Up for January 11, 2016

Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.
Kate Motaung

1.      Please tell us a little about yourself, and how you became an author?

I started blogging in 2011 when my mom was on her last lap battling terminal cancer. Writing became an outlet for me; free therapy, so to speak. Though I began writing for myself, the sideline hobby morphed into a deep desire to be a blessing to others. I started submitting articles to various publications, and eventually ended up writing a book as well.

2.      What do you wish aspiring authors knew about the book industry? (Maybe things you wish you had known, or things you had learned the hard way…)

Landing a book deal is not the “be all and end all” of the writing life. A person can have a rich and rewarding writing life without ever penning a full-length book. It makes me sad when I see people who view publication as the only goal worth achieving. I fear those writers will be sorely let down, if and when they have a book with their name on it. Publication is an honor and a privilege, but it shouldn’t be a writer’s sole obsession.

3.      What are some of your projects that have been released that you are excited about?

I’m really excited to share that my first book will be releasing in the spring of 2017 with Discovery House. Feel free to follow along on my blog for updates! I also have a short e-book on Amazon, called Letters to Grief. My prayer for the e-book is that it would be a blessing and an encouragement to all who have known grief.

4. How important are literary agents? Should an author secure an agent first?  

The vast majority of publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, which means authors will likely need a literary agent in order to get their work in front of an acquisitions editor. Having said this, it is possible in some circumstances to obtain a contract without an agent. Writers should also realize that literary agents are helpful in the long run, for navigating terrain beyond the contract. When looking for an agent, it’s helpful to research the agency to learn what types of projects they’re looking for, who they currently represent, and what their guidelines are for submission.

5.   Is self-publishing just as good as traditional publishing? What actions should an author take before making this decision?   

There are pros and cons to both ways. Before making a decision, a writer should weigh the benefits and disadvantages of each option, and consider which method would be best for that particular project. I outlined some of the pros and cons in a blog post which can be found by clicking here.

6. What is the most important piece of advice that you can think of to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. It can be so discouraging to receive a string of rejections. As hard as it is, don’t take it personally. Let the rejections fuel your desire to keep going. Even if you’re the only person to read your work, be faithful to use your gifts to the glory of God.  

Thank you, Kate! We look forward to your debut book! Until then, everyone can purchase Kate’s e-book, Letters to Grief.