Very Literary: The Well Chosen Book
Meg Storey has been an editor at Tin House Books since 2005 and the copy editor of Tin House magazine since 2011. Also and editor there, Tony Perez writes about Food, books and basketball.
What’s your book publishing mission at Tin House? How, when, and where did you begin?
Meg Storey: As an offshoot of Tin House magazine, Tin House Books follows in the magazine’s tradition of publishing literary fiction and nonfiction, including novels, short-story collections, translations, reprints, and memoirs. Tin House Books began in 2002 as an imprint of Bloomsbury and became an independent publisher based in Portland, Oregon, in 2005.
How is the book business integrated with the collateral efforts (magazine, workshop)?
Tony Perez: Every Wednesday morning we sit around the conference table (most of us in person, some of us by way of Skype avatars) to stay apprised of what’s going on. We pass along stories, poems, and novel excerpts to the magazine editors, and they frequently send writers our way. Our authors often read and lecture at the Tin House Writer’s Workshop as well, which is a great opportunity for them—it’s not often that a debut writer from a small press gets the chance to read in front of a captive audience of several hundred people. The best example of our integrated nature might be long-time magazine contributor and workshop faculty member Karen Shepard. We’re publishing her new novel, The Celestials, in June, which feels like a tremendous coup for us.
Any especially high and/or low points in the company’s history?
Meg Storey: We have been discouraged that our short-story collections have not sold as well as hoped, especially given Tin House magazine’s strong history of championing short fiction. It is also disappointing when a book receives great press but that doesn’t translate to great sales. But our high points have outnumbered the low ones, including the success of our reprint of the 1970s DIY classic Possum Living; having When I Forgot on the front cover of the New York Times Book Review; the selection of Bright Before Us and The Listeners for Powell’s Books’ Indiespensible subscription; and Christopher R. Beha’s conversation about faith with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, following the publication of his first novel, What Happened to Sophie Wilder.