Article published on January 27, 2018.
I first heard of Meerkat Press on 4th July 2017 when I noticed on Goodreads that this small publishing house was offering review copies of Retrograde, Kat Hausler’s novel about a woman suffering from retrograde amnesia. As this was a subject which interested me, I immediately sent off my request and was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this remarkable debut novel (published in September 2017). Little did I know then that this was the serendipitous start of an ongoing contact with Tricia Reeks, one which would lead to me being introduced to two more outstanding novels, both by Keith Rosson (The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City) as well as Behind the Mask, a wonderful anthology of short stories about superheroes (edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson). This hundred percent success rate not only made me want to learn more about this publishing house, but also to spread the word about their publications.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Meerkat Press was established in 2015 by Tricia Reeks. Her background is business management and ten years ago, she started a tennis company; although this continues to operate, she soon realised that it didn’t satisfy her growing need to be creative. She enjoyed writing, became very interested in short fiction, decided to compile an anthology and the idea of establishing a publishing company grew from there. She speaks with passion about her and her team’s enjoyment of creating “things you can touch and treasure – books!” so it is clear that she has now found an outlet for her creativity.
The team at Meerkat consists of Tricia, who is responsible for handling acquisitions and marketing; Margaret Reeks (her sister in law) who, apart from dealing with day to day administration, is also an editor and proof-reader; Elliot Thorne who helps out with social media and Kyle Richardson, Bernadette Geyer and Cran Herlihy, all of whom are freelance editors. From authors and agents they accept submissions for a wide range of genres. Speculative fiction is a favourite of several of the editors so they tend to select a number of books covered by this umbrella genre. However, their primary goal is to discover books they love and to do a good job for the authors they choose to publish. Although based in the USA, with authors (and editors!) from a number of other countries, including Germany, the UK, Australia and Denmark, they justifiably regard themselves as being multi-national. Their books are available in both print and digital formats but they have sold more print books than e-books since Meerkat was established.
Tricia tells me that since 2015 they have published eight books and that as they have no ambition to become big, their aim remains to publish around four books a year. Their first for 2018 is Keith Rosson’s Smoke City, due to be released on 23rd January, followed in March by Meet Me in the Strange, a magical YA fantasy by Leander Watts, author of Beautiful City of the Dead and Stonecutter. The strong impression I have got from all my contact with Tricia over the past few months is that a major priority for her and the team is to ensure that they offer their authors a really personal service and good support.
At the moment they are working on a children’s picture book, written by a family friend who is a folk artist and storyteller, and this should be published in 2019. This is a new direction for them but is one which is already generating the sort of enthusiasm and commitment that underlies their approach to every new project they take on. In her modest way Tricia points out that establishing Meerkat is her first experience of publishing so she is “kind of learning as I go”. Having now read four of the books she has published and found each one of them remarkable in their individuality, my only response to this is that, as a relative “new kid on the block”, she must be a very quick learner!
When I asked Tricia why she chose the name Meerkat Press she explained that she loves meerkats, particularly for the way they are so close in many pictures of them. It was that image which made her think of teamwork, an essential element of any successful publishing business. I happen to love them because they always look so alert, intelligent, curious and full of fun – in fact, a lot like the team at Meerkat Press!
If you haven’t yet read any of the books from this small, independent publishing house then I hope this short introduction will encourage you to do so – I know that I am eagerly anticipating all future publications because I feel confident that I can expect books which will be as thought provoking as they are enjoyable.
EDWARD STANFORD SHORTLIST: Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
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