Recovering from the Stigma of a “Failed” First Novel, featuring Ethel Rohan

Feb 26, 2024

Ehtel Rohan

It’s important to learn from the challenges of a failed book rather than allowing it to define your career. The publishing industry can be harsh and unforgiving to writers in this situation. Unforgiving as in agents abandoning the writer or publishers turning away future work, not because of its quality, but because of the one book that didn’t sell well. This week, we’re joined by guest Ethel Rohan, whose story serves as a reminder that regardless of how brutal this industry can be, perseverance and reinvention can lead to triumph, and Ethel’s story is testament to that truth. This episode is a great reminder to keep moving forward through the challenges.


Ethel Rohan is a San Francisco-based Irish author. She’s an award-winning essayist, novelist, and short story writer. Most recently, In the Event of Contact won the Dzanc Short Story Collection Prize, the Eric Hoffer Short Story Collection Prize, and the Gold Independent Publisher Book Award for Best European Fiction (IPPY). She has published widely beyond her books, including work in The New York Times, World Literature Today, The Washington Post, The Irish Times, PEN America, Tin House, and Guernica. Ethel’s second novel, Sing, I, is forthcoming in April.

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