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Editor Interview: Double Dagger Books

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

A: Military/Security themes

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

A: There are a lot of niche publishers in the military and security-themed space, past and present, whose work we read with great interest. Osprey is one that comes to mind, but we love to be surprised by books on subjects that fascinate us from small publishers who took a chance on something.

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

A: Our favourite writers are some of the folks whose work we publish. Dr Charles Oliviero, Dr Bernd Horn, Matt Hardman, Michael Dorosh, Michael Goodspeed, John Barnes, Christopher Lyke, and Sean Claxton, to name a few. Thinking more broadly, who do we love? John Keegan, Bernard Fall, Anthony Lloyd, and many others.

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

A: We began publishing in 2022, with a goal of publishing the books that we like to read. We know that there is a commercial market for these books, and it is one that is not being served very well by the existing marketplace. Smart military fiction and non-fiction can be hard to find. We're digitally native, nimble, and willing to take a chance.

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

A: Give us your best shot with the submission - be clear when you tell us what your book is about, and give us a sample that really shines. This may not be the first chapter - if it's chapter thirty-three, we know that there will be things we don't understand. We're looking at the writing, not the plot. We'll look more deeply at the work if we ask to see the whole thing. That's really the only goal of a submission - to get us to want to read more.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: In fiction, it would be a story that uses the military as a departure point for a really interesting story about the human condition. Think "For Whom the Bell Tolls." For non-fiction, we like something that catches our interest and hasn't been done before (maybe a novel point of view on an old subject), by someone who has done their homework. We like our non-fiction readable rather than academic, but short works that are heavily illustrated (around 12k words) fit well in our "Bulletin" series.

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

A: They send us material that doesn't fit our criteria, or that is just a sample without a summary to help us understand the whole work.

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

A: We are interested in a biography of the writer, but cover letters are not necessary. Previous publications help us understand where you are in your journey as a writer, but if you don't have any, that's cool too. Building a relationship with a writer and growing along with them is important to us.

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

A: This really depends. Sometimes we know in a sentence. We typically read at least a few pages. Oftentimes, though, the reason something isn't right for us might not have anything to do with the writing - it might be the subject, length, audience, etc.

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

A: Our acquiring editor can make the call based on their read of the material. Sometimes this can move very quickly.

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

A: Reviewing submissions takes less of our time than working with the authors we have signed. They are our priority.

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

A: This is front and centre to how we see this business. Embracing technology is key. Hanging on to "traditional" practices has not benefitted writers or readers. Adapting to the current marketplace and using new technology to our advantage allows us to give authors all of the advantages that used to go along with the "traditional" model - long term relationships, respect for mid-list authors, fair royalties and advances.

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

A: Publishing is a collaboration between the author and our team. We provide substantive editing - soy edits, line and copy edits, and proofreading. The author always gets to approve all edits, as they are done in collaboration with them.

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

A: Yes! And we're always interested in talking with authors about the prizes that they are aware of in their niche that we should add to our list.