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Editor Interview: Slant Books

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

A: Timeless literature.

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

A: We a small but growing indie literary press. So we like to think of ourselves as a very young version of the venerable Farrar, Straus & Giroux -- broadly speaking a "belles lettres" publisher that has a solid core of literary and intellectual books but which also puts out high-quality work in genres like mysteries, thrillers, young adult fiction, and so on.

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

A: Richard Rodriguez, Annie Dillard, Cormac McCarthy, Marilynne Robinson, Christian Wiman, Toni Morrison, Carolyn Forche, Linda Hogan, Chigozie Obioma, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Louise Glueck.

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

A: We don't get on every bandwagon. We look for writing that will stand the test of time. We care deeply about craft as well as vision. Literature should probe the mysteries and ambiguities of the human heart--it should challenge, unsettle, and transform us, not reinforce our own ideas. Slant titles are also meticulously edited and carefully designed, from the text typeface to the cover.

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

A: Familiarize yourself with our list but don't assume anything is off the table.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: An extremely fine piece of writing accompanied by an extremely short cover letter!

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

A: Not much. We're not finicky.

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

A: Keep it as short and sweet as possible. We focus on the submission, not your resume.

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

A: That's an impossible question to give a single answer to. It all depends on the quality of the writing, its appropriateness for our list, and so on. Writers shouldn't worry about this -- they should look at the quality of the publisher's list and trust that the publisher is dedicated, meticulous, and objective in the way they process submissions.

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

A: Just the standard evaluations any publisher has to make: is this book right for our community of readers, etc.

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

A: We're a mom and pop shop, so many hats are worn each day, but we're proud of that: we are involved in every aspect of publishing and give close personal attention to every book.

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

A: We're a both/and rather than an either/or publisher. We're committed to staying with print but we want to meet readers where they are, so that means an equal commitment to electronic media.

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

A: Needless to say, this varies. But with any given submission there is certainly the possibility that we will propose substantive, developmental editing if we believe that is in the book's best interest. This particular "mom and pop" have nearly 80 years of editorial experience combined, which is why a lot of authors come to us. There is always give and take between author and editor. In the end, we arrive where we need to be.

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

A: Absolutely--and we've begun to collect some of those awards!