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Editor Interview: Twelve House Books

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Verve

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: None that I can think of at the moment.

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Bradbury, Bierce, Le Fanu, Dickens, Stoker, M.R. James, Thurber, O. Henry, Flannery O'Connor, Hemingway, Dickinson, Plath, Eliot, Yeats, Saki, Dr. Seuss, Poe

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: I look for the writer who really understands writing and literature. I'm not looking for any particular style or throwback to another era, but for excellent writing--a fantastic grasp of the English language, a powerful (and even astonishing) voice or voices. I will not, however, consider what is today being called "inclusive" themes and subjects. It is tragic that the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans has been misconstrued as a censure of certain human practices over other equally vitiating practices. A close reading shows that the letter is, after all, an indictment of the whole human race and our fall from what we were designed to be.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Be tolerably read in the English language writers such as--but not limited to--Hemingway, Bierce, Poe, Le Fanu, Stoker, Dickens, Plath, Wordsworth, Machen, Yeats, Wordsworth, Blackwood, and, yes, even Lovecraft.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission opens by greeting the editor or guest editor. It then describes the book project and gives a one-paragraph synopsis. Following that, the entire ms. is requested. Be friendly, open, expectant, and vibrant. Twelve House Books publishes beautiful, well-edited works. Be impressive, knowing without any doubt that you have something unique to offer to the world that no one else ever born has been given to share.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Too much sloppy writing submitted, and not enough literature--even if it is pulp literature (the brilliant Raymond Chandler springs to mind). If you are a writer, you will read as much as you write. Too, it is important to greet the editor by his or her surname. A little formality goes a long way. Follow the guidelines. Every publisher does them different.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: A cover letter is important because it establishes an immediate relationship between editor and writer. Previous publication credits are interesting, and can even be impressive, but have little bearing on whether the submitted ms. is accepted for publication or not. Unless you are a literary luminary, of course. But most of them have been dead for a good while.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: The first two or three pages is usually enough to make a decision upon. A good writer is easily spotted.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: After the submitter has proven his or herself to actually be a good writer via the first few pages of the ms., a full reading of the work occurs in order to make a decision of either acceptance or rejection.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: Reading, writing, editing, looking over submissions, website updating, anthology development, and book cover design are all in a day's work. All submissions are replied to within a 2-3 day period, if not much sooner.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: There would be no Twelve House Books without digimodern (post-postmodern) technologies.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: The deepest possible substantive edits, and several of them, are done for each work, whether it be a collection or a novel or a submission to an anthology. Poetry is generally left alone unless there is a glaring error. The author approves the final edits only when they are substantial. Minor edits are done without approval.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Nope.