Interview with Mallory Smart, Editor-in-Chief
How did Maudlin House start?
Maudlin House was built on a MacBook and enough coffee to drown an elephant at the tail end of 2013. I had been a passive participant in the literary community at that point and had decided that I wanted to dive in. So often people are willing to just sit on the sidelines and wait to be invited into a space or be given permission to participate. I just didn’t have that kind of patience or will to wait. I just wanted to do. That need for immediacy and something new is something that I really instilled into Maudlin House. I wanted to created something was fresh and real.
Most of the early days were spent making connections and building the first website. Things moved slowly then because I was still learning how everything worked. These days things change quickly with us. We want to stay current on all things at all times.
Tell us a bit about Maudlin House. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
Maudlin House was made for the now. We want to reflect life and feelings. Personally, I’m extremely influenced by social media in general and the way it’s changed the way we write. I love twitter, snapchat, and all the loud, immediate emotions that come with them. My aim is to publish and showcase literature like that. Maudlin House acts as a kind of social commentary that goes beyond genre and form.
As for aesthetic, we go for a clean look. Originally we were full on minimalists, but as we grew changes had to be made. But we still like to avoid clutter. It’s easier on the eyes.
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
We have so many great books coming out soon (we’re biased of course)! We just published chaps by Dalton Day and Shannon Cawley. Logan Ellis is forthcoming. Our first full length novel, Good Grief by Nick Gregorio, will be coming at the end of the summer alongside a short story collection by Bud Smith.
Maudlin House will continue to publish chaps but we’re looking to concentrate in full length novels and collections.
We used to ask, “What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?” We’re still interested in the answer to that, but we’re even more interested to know what you think needs to change.
There are so many exciting things happening in lit right now. We’re in a time of big change mainly because of the constantly changing online platforms and you know, politics. People are being driven to put their voices out there more than ever before and to curate others.
There’s not much I would change about that. I would only encourage these presses to keep at it and to also widen their nets. I notice a lot of small presses folding and I also notice a lot presses constantly only publishing the same people.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Maudlin House?
How do we cope? With lots of coffee and constant mindfulness. As for fees and costs, it’s simple, the press should pay. Authors shouldn’t have to work for free and they certainly shouldn’t pay for it. I know that the actual physical act of publishing a book can get expensive but that’s what we as publisher chose to do. We cover all publishing costs and read manuscripts for free.