Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books, is one of our favorite publishers of late. We even did a special panel with three of their authors in June, including Terry Shames, Mark Pryor, and James Ziskin. We caught up with one of the brains behind the outfit, Editorial Director Dan Mayer, to talk about their books and direction for the future.
MysteryPeople: Describe your goal for every Seventh Street Book.
Dan Mayer: Obviously, I’m hoping every title is successful and finds an audience. I’d love for each book to bring something special to the genre. And I also want the publishing experience to be a good one for all the authors.
MP: You are mainly known for introducing new writers to the genre. What attracts you to fresh talent?
DM: I think it’s a combination of luck and timing. We are a relatively new imprint, so it’s not that unusual that many of our authors are just beginning their writing careers. And as a small publisher, I don’t have some of the pressures that an editorial director might feel at one of the big publishing houses. I understand that it may take more than a couple books for the author to find an audience, and I’m willing to wait it out.
MP: You also show that a paperback original can be just as high quality as hardback. Why is that the format to go with for you?
DM: It’s our publishing model to publish in trade paperback. I also believe that it’s a format that has a longer shelf life than hardcovers or mass markets.
MP: Which author has surprised you the most with their work?
DM: I’m fortunate that all the authors I work with are incredibly talented. Still, it’s exciting when an author you’ve published and come to know surprises you with a change in direction. For example, we’ve published Mark Pryor since our very first release, The Bookseller, and even though we’re five books in to the Hugo Marston series, Mark brought us this incredible, totally different standalone—Hollow Man—a most welcome surprise.
MP: Is there a sub-genre in crime fiction that you’d like to have for Seventh Street that you don’t already have?
DM: I have a whole list of things I’d like to pick up: a cozy series, a historical series set during World War II, a British crime series . . . I could go on and on. Interestingly, I’ve had a few conversations recently with editors from other houses, and we’ve all agreed that we want to see more female protagonists.
MP: What are some things readers can look forward to from Seventh Street in the future?
DM: Well, we will continue to nurture and develop the authors and books we already have in our catalog. Writers like Mark Pryor, Terry Shames, James Ziskin, Lori Rader-Day, and Allen Eskens—to name just a few (and honestly, not naming all of our authors is very hard for me!)—have incredibly bright futures ahead of them. We’re proud to be part of this journey with them.
We will continue to bring new writers into our fold. This fall we have a number of new additions to the Seventh Street family—Stephanie Gayle (Idyll Threats), Jennifer Kincheloe (The Secret Life of Anna Blanc), Robert Palmer (The Survivors)—and each book has a unique premise and setting that has excited the bookselling community.