Don’t get me wrong, I like the big publishers just fine. But recently, I’ve started liking smaller, independent publishers a lot more. Increasingly, they’re the ones taking more risks and publishing more interesting books than their bigger counterparts. Here are 3 I love.
If you check the Twitter bio for Lanternfish Press, it says they’re purveyors of the rare and strange. I’d also like to add cool and fun, for their interesting books. Last year, they published one of our new favourite books, The Quelling, by Barbara Barrow. The Quelling, which is about two clever, beautiful, but violent sisters who have spent most of their lives in a locked psych ward, was one of the best books I’ve read recently. Stan Lee apparently liked The Quelling as much as I did, because he couldn’t keep his paws off it when I first brought it home after purchasing it from the Baltimore Book Festival. I liked Addie, the older sister, the best. Stan Lee was mum about who he liked best. I'm planning to order more from them after signing a lease, including Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark, by Charlie Eskew.
Zumaya Publications is also a really fun publisher. They frequently post pictures of the extremely handsome feline bossman, Pip, to social media. They’ve published some pretty cool books, too; my favourite of theirs is The Crown of Zeus, by Christine Norris. At some point, you have probably gotten sucked into a good book, at least figuratively speaking, but in The Crown of Zeus, the main character literally gets sucked into a book. I liked this book a lot, in part because there was a lot of Greek mythology in the book. Medusa makes a brief appearance. Stan Lee liked it, too. They also publish a lot of historical fiction, which we’ll be stocking a lot once I’ve signed a lease for a brick and mortar store.
Ashland Creek Press is another really fun publisher. The humans at Ashland Creek Press post a lot of pictures of their feline staff members to social media, and I really like seeing the pictures of their cats. I think my cats like the humans at Ashland Creek Press almost as much. Spencer apparently liked Forgetting English, by Midge Raymond, one of the co-owners, a lot; he said since it’s short stories, it’s perfect for reading in between naps. I think he also liked the author because she's a confirmed cat person, too. Personally, I liked another book they put out, called The Green and The Red, by Armand Chauvel, because it’s about the struggles of a restaurant owner and set in a small French town. (I have a thing for books about small businesses and books set in other countries, so this was perfect for me.) Stan Lee must have liked The Tourist Trail, by John Yunker, the other co-owner at Ashland Creek Press, a lot, because he couldn't stop rubbing up against it every time he saw it.