Meet the Publisher: Andy Remic, Anarchy Books
Posted on June 19th, 2012
Andy Remic is a (super duper) busy man with much on his plate and his finger in many pies (mmmmm, a plate of pies…). He’s the published author of a string of high-octane, all-action sf-techno-thrillers including War Machine, Biohell, Quake and Warhead, as well as the blood and gore-drenched fantasy saga The Clockwork Vampire Chronicles. He’s also a publisher in his own right with the wonderfully noisy, spectacularly spiky and hugely colourful independent press Anarchy Books.
We asked Andy a few questions about Anarchy Books and this is what he had to tell us:
The Robot Reader: How did Anarchy Books come about? What made a published author decide to become a publisher of other authors?
Andy Remic: I kind of… fell into it. Which sounds crazy and improbable, but is true. I’d written a novel called Serial Killers, Incorporated, a really nasty hardcore thriller about a hedonist who becomes a biographer to a serial killing serial killer ring. And I’d also written SIM, a weird SF book, my take on what I think Orwell or Burgess would have written if they’d attacked straight SF head-on. Both books, for various reasons (which becomes apparent if you read them), were outside my normal genre writing remit, or ‘core’, and as such not viable for publication by my usual publishers. So I thought – what the hell, I’ll publish them myself!
At first, I was just going to put them out through normal channels like Amazon and Lulu, but I was chatting to a few friends and fellow authors at a con, and they said “Hey, I like the sound of that, I’ve got something you can publish as well!” Then I was approached by a band called th3 m1ss1ng who had worked on some tunes for a short film I was making, and we discussed them writing a soundtrack album to go with my novel Serial Killers, Incorporated. At this point, because it was no longer just me, I realised I needed a publishing house framework on which to hang the blossoming projects, and as I was writing a book called Theme Planet about Anarchy Androids…. well, Anarchy Books was born from that pit of grizzled chaos.
TRR: What’s the philosophy and ethos behind Anarchy Books? What sets Anarchy Books apart from the other publishers on the block?
AR: Our ethos is to do something different, and to combine different media based on a single concept for the ‘entertainment junkies’ out there. There’s a lot of publishing houses and small press organisations knocking about (some are run by my friends!), so I wanted to do something a bit different. Being a fan of Michael Moorcock, and knowing he used to collaborate with permed rockers Hawkwind back in the 70s, I thought Hmmm what a great idea – novels and music. But why stop there? So I came up with the concept of creating different media which feeds into one another, so a novel, specifically written soundtrack album, and maybe even a game or indie film, all feeding from one another’s energy and ideas and core concept. That’s the plan. Only time will tell how successful this symbiosis will be.
TRR: What sort of authors and what sort of fiction are you most interested in publishing?
AR: Anything and anybody, if I’m brutally honest. A good book is a good book, no matter what genre. Obviously my own personal roots are SF and fantasy, but recently we published a mainstream ‘geo-thriller’ A Jar of Wasps by PC Format‘s tech writer, Luis Villazon, and Young Punks by Paolo Sedazzari, which is a punk coming-of-age story told via interviews, very much in the mould of Irvine Welsh. And we also published Fynoderee, a gentle fantasy story set on the Isle of Man, and The Office of Lost and Found, which is very much in the style of Douglas Adams’ wonderful comedy fiction. I suppose the only criteria is that the book is well written and tells an interesting story.
TRR: If you could publish any three authors – blindingly obvious megastars aside – who would they be, and why?
AR: For me personally, it would George Orwell, J. R. R. Tolkien and David Gemmell – because they were all masters of their field, and I love their works with a passion. Alas, none of that will ever come to fruition because of the obvious!! But… megastars? What are those? Haha. Oh, you mean very rich people who are on the telly? No. I would rather cut off my own head and fry it in garlic butter than publish Jamie Oliver, Peter Andre or Gok Wan. (Well, we were thinking more along the lines of J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin or Charlaine Harris, but fair comment! – TRR)
TRR: What are the most rewarding elements of running your own publishing house and what are the biggest challenges?
AR: The biggest reward is publishing a debut novel. That’s cool. Giving another wannabe writer a leg up the ladder to recognition and having his or her work read. That’s a big buzz for me personally, and something we will pursue with more vigour when there are more minutes in the day (yes, I am super duper busy). Challenges? Being (super duper) busy all the time, and being dragged away from writing my own books by publishing other peoples! Sometimes, I wish I’d just stayed in bed and watched Red Dwarf with Jack Daniels.
TRR: What would be your advice to anyone else thinking of starting their own publishing operation?
AR: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! Don’t do it! (Well, only if you must). Yes, as a writer I had absolutely no understanding of just how hard editors and publishers work. I always moaned about how sometimes, as an author, I was the last to discover something like cover artwork or cover price (I am a moaning old goat, as it happens). I never took the time to step back and look at the bigger picture – that a publisher (and minions) deal with lots and lots of authors. Their time is spread like spider web strands amongst The Many. Real advice? Running a publishing house is very hard work and time consuming, but also very rewarding. And one day you might stumble upon another J. K. Rowling and buy yourself a new Ducati 1198.
TRR: What does the future hold for Anarchy Books?
AR:We’re going to keep moving forward, doing our own thing, looking for interesting books and albums and games to publish and subverting the whole publishing industry from the inside out! Bwahaha! Anarchy, baby! Anarchy! Well, not really.
Oh yes! We’re moving into children’s books over the summer, and also currently working on a certain parody of a certain Big Name. Watch this space. ;-)
Go Here for More Information:
Anarchy Books: www.anarchy-books.com (and at The Robot Trading Company)
Andy Remic: www.andyremic.com