Our first Publisher Interview comes from Australia’s Pure Slush:
Pure Slush was established in December 2010, and publishes fiction and non-fiction online and in print. Though it is based in Australia, Pure Slush accepts work Worldwide. This interview was answered by Founding Editor, Matt Potter.
We have been fortunate enough to both meet and work with Matt and find his no-nonsense attitude to publishing refreshing. We learned a lot. Here is what he said:
How did you get into publishing as a career?
Well, define career! It is something I have always wanted to do. Writing became editing online became editing in print and thus, publishing. But I have worked on the fringes of publishing for a long time, years in fact, usually through my day job in promotions / community services.
What qualities do you think make you a good publisher?
Attention to detail and knowing how to bring out the best in writers.
Most of the books I have published through Pure Slush have been my ideas. Pure Slush’s latest book The Merrill Diaries (July 2013) by Susan Tepper, was my idea. Susan talked about sending me an MS, and I said well, actually, what I really want to read is The Merrill Diaries. (Susan had already written about the character Merrill in two stories in gorge: Pure Slush Vol. 4.) So it was calculated: I thought Susan would like the idea, and it was something I would want to read.
With Wild, Gill Hoffs was talking about publishing her own book, and I said, let’s do it together. We like working together and it’ll be better with both of us involved, and Pure Slush can release it and we should call it Wild. With Glass Animals, I said to Stephen V. Ramey, if ever you want to publish a collection … and with Dusty-Anne Rhodes, I said, you’ve sent me so much non-fiction, we should just do a collection together and call it Hard.
Flatter a writer enough (in the right way) and they will do (almost) anything! Ha! But it helps to play to their strengths and help them work around their weaknesses. And suggest titles for their work that are relevant and they will like!
In terms of your job, what aspect do you like least?
Reading boring stories and having to offer some response … though that is easy compared to stories that are not well-written or need a lot of work but the idea behind the story is good or interesting. Then I want to work on the stories.
In particular, I have most difficulty working with writers who are married to every word (a lot of younger women writers are like that – “Okay, take out all the adverbs while I bleed to death at my writing desk!”) and writers who think they are Ernest Hemingway (i.e. a lot of older male writers) and have a macho need to prove themselves. I work to make stories better – that’s the biggest part of what I do – and if you can’t see that, well then, sayonara.
I also loathe working with writers who are disorganised and promise the moon and don’t deliver. I’m a social worker too, so I’m used to hearing peoples’ stories and seeing through the bullshit.
These writers truly drive me nuts.
What has been the highlight?
Working with writers from all over the world, meeting some of them in person, and putting good work out there that readers enjoy and get something from.
Why do you think authors should submit work to your magazine/imprint?
Because they want to. Because Pure Slush does good stuff. Because Pure Slush is zesty and heartfelt and fun and interesting, and because I’m interested in getting the best from people and doing good work.
What are you looking for in terms of submissions?
Fun. Intelligence. Heart. Communication.
And I am not looking for hip, cool, jargon, latest trends.
Which qualities do you look for in an author?
Heart, intelligence, humour, reliability, flexibility, and talent.
What are your most common reasons for rejecting a piece of work?
Too hip for its own good. Too many adverbs. Bad use of verbs. Inaccurate, long-winded actions. Poor timing and pacing. Missing words. Misspellings. Poorly-thought out character reasonings and reactions. Entire use of indirect / reported speech. Too many characters. Chronological actions written out of order.
How do you think publishing will progress in the years to come?
Despite my diatribe, I am no expert on publishing.
What are the key points to consider before submitting work to you?
Is it formatted well, and does the story start in the first sentence?
For our members, what do you think is the most important quality to possess?
For being a member of your group? Ha! Well, persistence and on open ear.
If you could give them any advice, what would it be?
If I tell you there’s an issue with something, I’m not telling you because I love to type.
Regarding the group, what would you like to see us do in the future?
I’m not sure.
Are there any questions we didn’t ask in this interview that you would’ve liked to answer?
If you would like to know more about Pure Slush or to read their submission guidelines then these are the links you need:
Pure Slush homepage – http://pureslush.webs.com/
Pure Slush Store – http://pureslush.webs.com/store.htm
Pure Slush Themes and Submissions – http://pureslush.webs.com/themessubmissions.htm
We would like to thank Matt for this interview and wish him all the best with his future endeavours.
Also, we would like to wish our members luck in any submissions they decide to offer them.
Hopefully, it’s the start of a great relationship.