With the success of three of our recent titles that came to us as unsolicited manuscripts, we have decided we had better open our doors again and encourage more.
In late April of 2013 Anne Holman of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake read Charlie Quimby’s Monument Road in what we call “pre-galley galley” form. She liked it so much she and store owner Betsy Burton helped run it up the flag pole with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and get it on the ABA’s “Indies Introduce” list. Later, after THP’s Kirsten Allen went to New York with Charlie for Book Expo America, the title was also added to the ABA’s prestigious “Indie Next” list. Monument Road came to us unsolicited and without an agent and is our best seller to date.
Almost 18 months ago, Scott Graham wrote us a textbook-classic cover letter for his submission of Canyon Sacrifice. I read his delightful manuscript but I wasn’t planning on Torrey House doing commercial fiction like Scott’s mystery. Scott followed up with a phone call that he was coming to Salt Lake from Durango to ski along with Andrea Avantaggio from Maria’s Bookshop in Durango and did we want to sit down for a coffee. Later, while Andrea was snowed in at Winter Institute in Kansas City, she called me to say she loved the manuscript and could easily sell it. In May this year, Andrea held the launch of Canyon Sacrifice at Maria’s and thinks they may have sold more copies that lovely night (Kirsten and I attended) than they had for any other launch. The title has already gone to a second printing and Kirsten and Scott are working on his next project, Mountain Rampage, due out in June 2015. Scott came to us unsolicited and without an agent.
A few months before we received Scott Graham’s submission we received a quiet, understated, but powerful cover letter and manuscript from Braden Hepner out of Rexburg, Idaho. I sat down with his novel and read it straight through. The writing moved me to the point I was bugged about it and I declined the submission. But the characters and scenery stayed with me and I had to go back and read the manuscript again. No wonder the words wouldn’t let me go. The manuscript was just flat good. We called Braden back and went up to Rexburg to see him and his family and sign him up. Later, with a lot of shoe leather on our publicist Anne Terashima’s and Kirsten’s part, cowboy boot leather in Kirsten’s case, working up and down the streets of New York and Chicago, we got the trade press to take a look. And they loved it. Two starred reviews are out for Pale Harvest, one from Publishers Weekly and one from Kirkus Reviews. Braden is a find. He came to us unrepresented and unsolicited.
We have a philosophy of putting the wood behind the arrow where things are working. Charlie, Scott and Braden are delightful authors and their titles are assets to our growing list. If you think you have something as good as their work, send it on in. -Mark Bailey