A double life in publishing: Interview with Yasmin Kane, publisher and literary agent

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A literary agent for 14 years, Yasmin Kane set up her own publishing house, Three Hares Publishing, in 2014. A firm believer that you need to move with your times, Yasmin strives to be at the cusp of change in a continuously evolving and fast-paced industry. Her agency, Kane Literary Agency, specialises in thought-provoking YA and children’s fiction, whereas Three Hares publishes adult, YA and children’s fiction. 

1) You’re Publisher at Three Hares Press: how did you come to start your own company, and what drives your publishing?

Three Hares Publishing was set up in 2014. I had been an agent since for 10 years at the time and around 2010 there was a lot of discussion surrounding the role of an agent, self-publishing was taking off and I was receiving a lot of submissions which I felt were worth publishing.

2) You’re also a literary agent: how does this work with your identity as a publisher?

It works well as I tend to keep things separate and wear two hats. I was already an established agent and Three Hares has its own distinct identity and list.

3) What are the challenges and opportunities facing small publishers at the moment?

The perennial issue of getting enough PR / marketing for debut authors. You publish titles you really love and believe in, it’s about getting those stories into the hands of readers. Thinking outside the box and being creative about getting books out into readers’ hands.

4) What book or books are you proudest of working on or commissioning?

I love all the titles I have worked on at Three Hares but England’s Lane by Emma Woolf is very close to my heart, mainly because I was involved in editing it; by the final stages, you wear the story like a second skin. At the agency I am also very proud of a YA novel, The Definition of Us by Sarah Harris, published in July; we have had fantastic support from Little Brown, an brilliant team who really got the story.

5) How do you see the publishing industry changing over the next few years?

What is ironic is Amazon spent years eating up the publishing market by taking it online, then started opening bookshops (mainly in the US!). I still receive submissions from people who have self-published; I think ultimately, most writers want to do what they love doing, creating and getting on with the craft of writing. Ideally, they would like a publishing house to take care of the day to day admin. However, one size does not fit all and there are plenty of writers who love to self-publish and it works well for them. A while ago there was talk of the role of the agent becoming more managerial in nature; to a certain extent it already is. I feel there is room for everyone and no doubt there is new technology not yet invented which will change the landscape further. You cannot keep a good story down, it will always find its readers! I love that my job has diversified to include a lot of film / TV interest, I am approached by a large number of production companies. The exciting world of audio beckons too.

6) Do you have a motto that sums up your approach to publishing (or life in general!)?

I have learnt to work with books I truly believe in; it is very difficult to push stories you cannot connect with. Work hard, believe in your list and keep going, you never know what tomorrow will bring, in my case.

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