Brian Lindenmuth is one of the founders of Snubnose Press, a natural offshoot of his other endeavor, Spinetingler Magazine, the bible of online crime writers, and a recognized (and praised) media outlet for all the majors in print.
MONKEY JUSTICE is a collection by Patti Abbott, a writer destined to be remembered as one of the great short story writers in this golden age of shorts. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Patti on several stories as an editor.
Below is a conversation with Brian Lindenmuth, Patti’s editor and publisher on this project, about MONKEY JUSTICE and Snubnose Press. — Elaine Ash
Elaine Ash: How did the project MONKEY JUSTICE come about?
Brian Lindenmuth: Monkey Justice came about as a convergence of a few things. Spinetingler had accepted a story of Patti’s a long time ago and the publication date got pushed back. So I asked her if I could consider it for the Speedloader collection depending on the other submissions. Spinetingler ultimately did publish the story (Father’s Day).
We were getting ready to announce Snubnose Press so we were trying to figure out what some of our next projects were going to be so that we could have them be a part of the announcement.
Somewhere, on her blog maybe, Patti had expressed a desire to have a story collection e-published but said that the tech side scared her and she probably wouldn’t ever do it. Knowing that I was looking for titles to include with the launch announcement I spoke to Patti and told her that I could help and we could publish the collection under Snubnose.
She agreed and Monkey Justice came about. Patti is one of our best short story writers and getting a collection of her stories out there was important because if anyone deserves a collection it’s Patti.
How about the selection and editing process for the book?
I actually left a lot of the story selections up to Patti. I asked to select the stories that she would most like to see in a collection. Patti told me that she had some stories that were perhaps more…literary…and really wanted them to have a chance to be seen. Once I saw the group of stories that she had pulled together I had no complaints.
In fact because Patti has such a wealth of material to choose from I realized later in the process that one of my favorite stories of hers actually wasn’t in the collection. Oh well, there’s always room for another collection…:)
To be honest about the editorial process. I wasn’t going to go in with a heavy hand on stories that had already been published and the others were tight. So other then copy editing and punctuation this had a light editorial hand.
How were the title and artwork chosen?
My current philosophy on titles for e-books is that shorter is better and that really long doesn’t work. In many respects I think that The Instrument of Their Desire is Patti’s strongest story. It’s one that she is well known for because it’s a great story and because it was the inaugural story for Beat to a Pulp.
[ Note from Elaine: The Instrument of Their Desire is included in Monkey Justice. In my opinion, this is the story that defines Patti as a writer and I’m thrilled to say I was Editor at Large for BTAP when this story launched the e-zine.]
But as a title I felt it was maybe a bit cumbersome, that it was a lot of words for a title of an e-book that may only get seen in thumbnail size. So we went with a title that was shorter. For me the title is evocative and makes me wonder what it means and what exactly is monkey justice. A title that makes a potential reader curious isn’t a bad thing.
Our art director Boden Steiner read the collection in manuscript form and came up with a series of images, items and motifs that repeated themselves throughout the stories. He the distilled them into a single image that became the cover. Patti had expressed some concerns over the cover of another project that she was involved in and had nothing but praise when she saw the final product.
Snubnose gives a nicely detailed explanation of why a writer should sign with you. Mentioned are higher royalties and active promotion. Can you explain these a little bit more, please?
We don’t pay an advance and split royalties on all books sold. Our royalty split is one of the highest in the industry, in favor of the author and higher then the industry average. So while each contract is different they are all very pro-writer. With two of the three Snubnose owners being authors would you expect any different 🙂 ?
Thank you, Brian! A business profile of Snubnose Press (and others) is in the works for Ashedit, as well as advice on how to separate the wheat from the chaff when selecting an e-book publisher. — Elaine Ash