“I enjoy seeing stories that are only on paper, or just an idea, come to life. We have a commitment in our editorial department to making the book as an object a special and unique item, collectible for the words as well as the images and the design.”
Why did you become a book publisher? I am a writer and editor. I never thought of becoming a book publisher until a very special moment. Publishing began for me with an opportunity to release the first English translation of a book by my great-aunt Claire Beck Loos. It is a unique, vignette-style biography of her former husband, the eccentric and influential modern architect Adolf Loos. The book was originally published in 1936 in Vienna, where Loos did much of his work. Loos is enjoying something of a resurgence of interest now, and for a traveling retrospective on Loos that went to London, as a family we decided it was time Claire had her due. She died a premature and tragic death during the Holocaust in Europe. So this was, in a way, a kind of posthumous justice we could give her, since much of her work has been quoted historically without attribution, and many scholars knew only the tiniest fragments about her life. She was a photographer, who produced several of the well-known portraits of Loos in his later years.
What do you like best about publishing? I enjoy seeing stories that are only on paper, or just an idea, come to life. We have a commitment in our editorial department to making the book as an object a special and unique item, collectible for the words as well as the images and the design. Our books have been called noteworthy in this respect, and our most recent title won a design award. This is the autobiography of Paul T. Frankl, the influential and prolific modern American designer, whose memoirs had never previously been published. Frankl died in 1958 leaving the manuscript and many drawings and images that had never previously been seen. Design scholar Christopher Long found this text while researching his big Frankl monograph, and he brought it to us after seeing the Loos book. Our future books all have unique angles like this. We specialize in "finds."
What do you publish? Primarily non-fiction books as well as long-form articles on art and architecture. We have a special interest in modernism, exile studies, and Central Europe. Our long-form articles are published every few months on our website, www.TheNomadicJournal.com.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? Word of mouth. We mostly sell direct to audiences through lectures, exhibitions and events. These unique books have very specific followings. Some of our future titles will have wider markets, at which time we look forward to hearing from our peer-networks what has worked best for them!
How do you define a successful title? A successful title is one that moves people to write to us and tell us how much they love the book. A number of interesting people to the DoppelHouse Press community this way. They find the book, then they find us. I love going through our files and reading all the heartfelt notes and congratulations. Our second book, Escape Home: Rebuilding a Life after the Anschluss, brought people out in large numbers. Our future authors have come to us because of what they've seen and who we are at our core values.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. We only have three titles so far, and I'm proud of all of them for different reasons. Escape Home is the one I'm closest to, however, because I worked on it as an editor and coauthor with my father. He was writing it for seven years. I worked on it for the last four of those. We discovered so many things. He started with a 75 page memoir and by the time we finished our research in 4 countries and multiple archives, we had a 550 page book.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Book acquisitions and production take more time than I initially realized. Thus we have a lot of things in process, but only three books to sell. This means we are in a bit of a waiting game, especially when there are so many moving parts -- translators, designers, editors, contributors, and authors.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Don't overcommit. Do one thing well, and then the next thing well, and then the next. One foot in front of the other.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? That will depend on our books in 2015. We have four titles ranging from fiction to critical texts on art and architecture. Finding the right distribution partners is key, as well as funding partners for the larger projects in the works for 2016 and 2017.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I am also a visual artist and fanatic about space. I have several projects in the development cycle right now, which means I'm applying for grants, going to conferences and doing lectures. I also like to be outside, not at the computer. Which is where I'm headed right now....
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