Cobalt: Tell us a little bit about Mud Luscious Press. How did you get started? What do you publish, in a nutshell? Do you publish books that can fit in a nutshell?
J. A. Tyler: Mud Luscious Press started as an online quarterly in 2007 and grew a little bit each year, adding in handmade chapbooks in 2008, our Novel(la) Series in 2010, our Blue Square Press imprint in 2011, and most recently, our Nephew imprint series. In a nutshell, we publish work that makes use of poetic language but that still tells a story, that still has a through-line narrative.
Cobalt: How do you obtain the manuscripts you publish, and how many of your authors are previously unpublished (no prior books, that is)?
Tyler: We obtain manuscripts through both an open reading period (our next will be summer of 2013) as well as through our own invitations to those whose work we find and love. We publish both experienced authors like Norman Lock, who has numerous books, and Robert Kloss, whose debut novel The Alligators of Abraham released in winter 2012.
Cobalt: Let’s suppose that you’ve just read a manuscript, love it, and are making that phone call (or sending that email) to the author. How does your end of that conversation typically go?
Tyler: Mostly, at that point, we are just hoping to hear that the author is excited about the prospect of publishing with us as we are at publishing their work. We also want to make sure they aren’t crazy, so that is a tiny part of the conversation.
Cobalt: Tell me about the Nephew Series, a collection of shorter, smaller books with a beautifully simplistic design. Also, what other imprints are under Mud Luscious, and how do they function differently from the main press?
Tyler: Thanks for that about our Nephew Series. It began as a means to publish works that are longer than a chapbook but shorter than a novel(la), but were works that we really believed the world couldn’t live without. We also house Blue Square Press, an imprint run by Ben Spivey and David Peak. BSP falls under our umbrella– we collaborate on ideas, trade tips and hints – but they run everything on their side from manuscript selection to printing and distribution.
Cobalt: Speaking of design, what is the design process for the books published by Mud Luscious, and where does the author fit into that process?
Tyler: The bottom-line is that we want each author to be super happy with the finished product of his or her book. If they have an artist they like, we seek them out. If they have an idea but no means to achieve it, we provide the designer. If they don’t have any clue what they’d like, we get several mock-ups and go from there.
Cobalt: Barnes & Noble recently said that the craze over e-books has started to shift back to print (loosely paraphrased). Have you embraced e-books (Kindle, Nook, etc.) at Mud Luscious? If so, how has that experience been?
Tyler: We have just struck up a partnership with Dzanc Books’s rEprint Series, which will produce the entire Mud Luscious Press catalog in ebook form. We don’t have the expertise or reach that Dzanc does in this e-realm, and we are elated that our readers will now have ebooks as an option if they like.
About J.A.: J. A. Tyler’s most recent book is Colony Collapse, out now from Lazy Fascist Press. His work has appeared in Redivider, New York Tyrant, Diagram, and others. More on his writing can be found at www.chokeonthesewords.com.