Welcome to the Dodo Ink blog! We’re really excited about the reaction we’ve had since we launched Dodo Ink earlier this year: now, we want to let you know a bit more about us.
The name Dodo Ink comes from Sam’s habit of drawing dodos on copies of her novel The Quiddity of Will Self at book signings, but it also has a deeper meaning. With advances dropping off, broadsheet coverage shrinking and ebooks on the rise, literary fiction is starting to look like an endangered species. We have seen excellent authors struggling to get published, as a ‘risk-averse’ industry heads for the middle ground. Editors have to justify themselves to accountants and marketing departments, and authors are advised to dumb down their material for public consumption.
With Dodo Ink, we want to prove that there is still a passionate and dedicated readership for risk-taking novels. We will publish the sort of bold and original fiction that too often falls through the cracks. We will edit our publications the way we would want our own writing to be edited, creating great prose without losing sight of the ideas which made them exciting in the first place. We will look for innovative ways to bring our books to the public, and build up a community of passionate readers.
We feel that we have the opportunity to create something unique with Dodo Ink. This is the first time that novelists and bloggers have come together to run a publishing imprint, and we want to pool our experience with Alex's creativity and talent to create a list which readers can fall in love with. By focussing on three or four novels per year, we can pour all our energy into each book, rather than putting out ten titles in a month and hoping that one or two will take off. We will get our books into the hands of bloggers and reviewers, organise events, and design exciting cover art for each one, and we will work with sales, distribution and publicity experts: again, this is how we would want our own books to be treated.
We admire the off-beat energy of Canongate, the strong identity of Dedalus, and the eclecticism of And Other Stories, amongst others. We believe that a strong independent publishing scene is vital for the future of British literature, and we want to be a part of it. As passionate readers ourselves, we want an alternative to reading group choices and supermarket selections.
Our first publication, Dodge and Burn by Seraphina Madsen, is an electric, psychedelic road trip novel. We discovered Seraphina through James Miller, her Creative Writing MA tutor, who described her as the most talented student he has ever taught. From the first paragraph, we knew that we had to publish this book. It is the perfect introduction to Dodo Ink: a novel which confronts the world on its own terms, light years away from the cosy mid-life crises of mainstream literary fiction. You can read an extract of Seraphina’s story here; we hope you’re as excited about it as we are.
If Dodge and Burn is the novel which defines what we want to achieve with Dodo Ink, then The Eleventh Letter is the book which inspired us to launch our own imprint. We read the manuscript in 2013, and were immediately entranced by this off-kilter ghost story. Alternating between a psychotherapist’s rooms in present-day Harley Street and 1970s Italy, The Eleventh Letter is a supernatural murder mystery with a deep insight into the psychology of memory and doubt, putting us in mind of Susan Hill and David Lynch. This is a fascinating literary novel which gets under your skin and lingers in the mind.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be using this blog to let you know more about the people behind Dodo Ink, and our authors. We hope you enjoy reading the extracts in the Books section of the site; we’re on Twitter and Facebook too, if you’d like to chat, or ask us anything.
Managing Director, Dodo Ink