The Eleven Commandments of Book Selection at And Other Stories
- We publish contemporary writing that is mind-blowing, often ‘challenging’ (Maureen Freely) and ‘shamelessly literary’ (Stuart Evers) – opening a space for exploration and discovery. It’s up for debate. Look at the authors we’ve read and published to get a feel for And Other Stories’ tastes.
- Our focus is on fiction and related writing.
- ‘Contemporary’ means written in the last 40 years or so. There are a lot of good writers to catch up with from other literatures. Books can have slow fuses.
- We focus on new publications, but don’t exclude great books published only in another English-language country. Publishing is about getting people to read books more than about the printing of books. A US publisher without a UK base will not have had the chance fully to promote an author here.
- We publish world-class writing, not ‘world writing’. Our 2011 and 2012 lists concentrate on translations because there are so many amazing writers currently not available to UK readers. We’re reading a lot of English-language fiction too, and will publish what we love, such as Deborah Levy’s novel Swimming Home.
- Suggestions and tips are encouraged – send them to the core team via the Contact page.
- Reading groups keep our lifeblood pumping (ie books!) – initiate one and choose its titles with the core team (via the Contact page).
- We spread the love. Names of authors or books generating excitement in reading groups (not necessarily unanimous) should be suggested to the core team for inclusion in the next acquisitions meeting.
- Acquisitions meetings provide the hustings for potential And Other Stories titles. Regular acquisitions meetings – open to everyone on the mailing list – discuss titles that have been appreciated in reading groups or have come via other suggestions, and move towards decisions about publication. As well as these meetings, there will be other meetings where people can have a say in the publisher’s direction. In all, there is roughly one meeting per month.
- Final decisions are made by the core team – ultimate responsibility and blame rests with the publisher, Stefan Tobler. And Other Stories is a balancing act: a publishing house that must act as the core team deems best, and yet whose direction and choice of titles is guided by its active supporters’ intelligent, normally civilised, and always passionate debate.
- Not rules but rules of thumb. It is not a crime if And Other Stories publishes a poet or a book of non-fiction or a book many readers dislike. There’s always an exception to the rule.