Time To Make the Sausage

I don’t talk much about how the sausage is made, publishing-wise. As a long-time hoover-er of books and short stories, who folks are published with or how it happened is something I don’t give a single crap about. That’s not to say that there aren’t presses I’m not partial to—Tin House Books, for instance, who published the wonderful Pamela Erens novel The Virgins a decade ago, and whose books always feel good in my hands. It’s just that a good book is a good book, and the biggie big houses are capable of publishing crap just as easily as micropresses. As a writer, though, I am interested in the sausage-making. In horror and speculative writing, in particular, it feels very much like small and medium-sized independent presses are where all the really interesting things are happening. And that makes sense: it feels like it might be more difficult for huge publishing houses to take risks, whether that’s on content, writers, or formats—especially right now when a certain segment of the U.S. seems hellbent on banning books and fun and authenticity. It seems like they’re trying to live out their own personal Footloose from the side of the bad guys. For that reason and many others, I’m really excited that A Misfortune of Lake Monsters has found a home with CamCat Books.

I genuinely don’t know what to call CamCat—a small publisher? A smallish mid-size publisher? What criteria makes the distinction? What I do know is that they’re putting out some really excellent books, horror and otherwise, that are getting attention and winning awards. Their latest pub is Citizen Orlov by Jonathan Paine, a comic suspense novel about a fishmonger-turned-secret-agent…which received a starred Publishers Weekly review (one of many of CamCat’s books that has). Ash Bishop’s Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc—think Men in Black, sorta-kinda—won a 2023 Audie Award® for science fiction. The Photo Thief by J. L. Delozier (detective fiction) is a finalist for the Best Audiobook category for the 2023 ITW Thriller Awards. And CamCat took four gold awards and three silvers at the Independent Book Publishers Associations awards this year, too–including a gold for The Girl in the Corn by Jason Offutt. One of their horror novels, The Taxidermist’s Lover by Polly Hall, even made The New York Times (and I think there’s another more recent book that received a mention, too, I think).

The point of all this is to say I’m in really good hands at CamCat, and that’s a good feeling to have when it comes to sausage-making. I’m currently awaiting the start of the editorial process for A Misfortune of Lake Monsters, but even during this quiet period CamCat has been great about being in touch and keeping me updated. Everything that happens feels very deliberate, and everyone I’ve worked with is super competent. And, of course, in the lead-up to editorial, I have a dozen or more CamCat books to read—because they’re just all that awesome!

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