My good friend Sophie Lewis (freelance publisher and literary translator from French to English; translator of Stendhal’s On Love for Hesperus Press and various books for Pushkin Press) explains the story behind the new publishing venture And Other Stories:
“Heady experience”… “utopian stuff”… “well thought-out and radical”… “shamelessly literary”.
Who’s that attracting all the old-school praise? And Other Stories! We’re a publishing collective that you can join, if you like the sound of what we’re doing.
Launched earlier this year by translator Stefan Tobler, And Other Stories is a Community Interest Company, which in our case means that we’re a not-for-private-profit publisher. We gather circles of people, virtually and physically, who are also into reading powerful and unusual literature from around the world; we track down books in some of the languages that we can read between us (Spanish, French, German, Lithuanian, more soon); we translate samples and pass them around; eventually we pick the best, the novels and stories that we think good enough to demand full translation and publication in English.
We’re already near the end of this process with our first book – about which I can tell you nothing because the fine print is being worked out in Frankfurtas you read this. But soon you’ll hear all about it and the other three books we’re planning to publish next year.
Apart from our democratic editorial process, another feature that distinguishes us from the mob of publishers currently going down the pan is our subscription-based sales method. As well as choosing what we publish, you subscribers are the first to receive copies, contribute to our website and general decision-making, attend all our talks and parties for free – and should be proud to be supporting one of the most economical, outward-looking and broad-minded publishers in existence (please notify me of any competitors and I will move quickly to wipe them out). But truly, if you’d like to subscribe, please look here andotherstories.org/join-us and get in touch with Stefan.
And Other Stories really is an exciting new venture. It makes a fascinating combination of the traditional: the joy of simply meeting and sharing great literature; the Victorian satisfaction, verging on smugness, that comes with subscribing – and the avant-garde: the literature itself is certainly not about best-selling or crowd-pleasing taste, and looking beyond the Anglophone world seems radical in itself these days. This is why I’m involved.
But I almost forgot to add – it’s good fun getting into publishing, if you don’t have to worry about sales meetings, pleasing the marketing dept, being overruled by editors higher up the chain, etc. I’m hosting a party at my place on Tuesday, for our first author. That’s a first for me too.