Independent publishers with titles selected for this year's Man Booker longlist, published yesterday (25th July), have expressed their delight over the inclusions, though one indie publisher remained circumspect about the impact its title's inclusion would have commercially.
Salt editorial director Chris Hamilton-Emery said: "I'm having heart failure. It's unbelievable. We've joked about it happening so many times, and we've joked about it happening with this book. I'm most pleased for Alison Moore [author of The Lighthouse] and it's part of a new list we've been developing. It's a dream really. We started moving into literary fiction. It has been a very tough 12 years for Salt, and this is just fantastic."
And Other Stories publisher Stefan Tobler said: "I and the And Other Stories' team are all celebrating in far-flung locations, jumping up and down for joy!" He added: "To see Swimming Home longlisted for the Booker is brilliant news for us, a brand new publisher, less than one year after launching our first books. With Down the Rabbit Hole's Guardian First Book Award shortlisting, it is a welcome vote of confidence in our editorial decision to only publish books based on literary merit. And we're excited that more readers will find out about our collaborative form of publishing and our subscription model, which is what lets us publish."
Newcastle-based Myrmidon Books publisher Ed Handyside - whose book, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng has made the longlist - called the Man Booker Prize "one of the two significant level playing fields in publishing", alongside the "much maligned Amazon". However, he said that "what it means commercially for Myrmidon remains to be seen".
He said the publisher had expected more interest from retailers when its title Craig Smith's Cold Rain was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger, but found "that retailers had not the slightest interest in either promoting what is objectively the best in British crime fiction or in stocking or selling the product of a small press, however critically acclaimed their titles."
"It still galls me that some chain retailers unashamedly have a policy of only dealing with the biggest publishers rather than sourcing the best books for their customers-wherever those books happen to come from-but such is the UK book trade," Handyside added.
However, he said: "Naturally we're very pleased. We're pleased for Salt and And Other Stories too. I think, like many smaller publishers, we try to be stoic about it all; we've all been conditioned to a rather Kiplingesque response to both triumph and disaster. We're accustomed to the fact that some in the trade and media are given to ignoring us when we don't achieve anything particularly outstanding and simply patronising us when we do."
Nicholas Pearson, publisher of Fourth Estate which has three titles on the longlist, said: "I'm happy. I'm not always happy, but I'm happy today. We never expect [to have a title on the longlist]. We are basically pessimists over here, we do it to protect ourselves." He said it was "fantastic" since the three HarperCollins authors on the list-Hilary Mantel, Nicola Barker and Sam Thompson-were all at different stages of their careers, with Mantel "pre-eminent", Barker "writing brilliantly for all these years" and Thompson "just out of the traps".
On the likely commercial impact of the longlistings, he said: "It can only help, can't it? It's not a piece of cake out there for literary fiction."
Doubleday publisher Marianne Velmans, speaking of the inclusion of The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, said: "It's a great tribute to her, and an exciting piece of news for us all." Author Joyce said: "I'm delighted, excited, honoured-all in wild measures."