Interview with Otto Penzler, Owner of Manhattan’s Mysterious Bookshop and Press

Interviewer: Anna Faktorovich, PhD

Otto - Office

Otto Penzler is the president and CEO of He’s also the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City and is regarded as the world’s foremost authority on crime, mystery and suspense fiction. Penzler founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which he later sold to Warner Books (1989). He reacquired the imprint in 2010 and it now publishes original books as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic, and both original works and classic crime fiction through, in partnership with Open Road Integrated Media. He was the publisher of The Armchair Detective, the Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years. He also created the publishing firms of Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library. He currently has imprints at Grove/Atlantic in the United States and is the Head of Zeus in the U.K., publishing such authors as Thomas H. Cook, Andrew Klavan, Thomas Perry, Robert Olen Butler, Charles McCarry, and Joyce Carol Oates. Penzler is also a prolific editor, and his most recent anthologies include Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (Vintage), In Pursuit of Spenser (BenBella) and The Best American Noir of the Century (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), with James Ellroy. Since 1997, he has been the Series Editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), featuring guest editors Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, James Ellroy, Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Joyce Carol Oates, Scott Turow, and Robert Crais. He also was the co-series editor (with Thomas H. Cook) of the annual Best American Crime Reporting (Ecco/HarperCollins). Other mystery anthologies, containing all original stories, include Dangerous Women and a series of seven sports-themed books, including Murder Is My Racquet, (tennis), Murderer’s Row (baseball) and Murder on the Ropes (boxing). Penzler has won two Edgar Awards for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven—the group’s highest non-writing award—in 2003.

The Big Book of Pulps

Faktorovich: What kind of work did you do before starting the Mysterious Press in 1975? Did you have to save a lot of money to start the press, or did you start with small print runs that did not need a significant investment? Did you start it as a natural progression to what you were doing before or because you had a sudden desire to switch to this line of work? In your WSJ interview, you describe how after college you worked as a sportswriter for the Daily News, and then you co-wrote your first book in the early 1970s, Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, which shortly thereafter led you to start the press. Your first book is listed as having been published in 1976 by McGraw-Hill (it won one of your Edgar Awards in the following year). Was part of the reason for starting your own press that you could not find a publisher for this 436-page book after all that work writing it? Did starting a publishing company help you to sell yourself as an editor and author?

Penzler: I had been a sportswriter, writer of The Reasoner Report for Harry Reasoner, and a free lance writer. I had no money of my own but sold shares to friends and my brother to raise some money to start The Mysterious Press and, yes, started with small print runs. It was not a natural progression but had been a dream for some years. There was no difficulty finding a publisher for the Encyclopedia because it was commissioned by McGarw-Hill: The contract came first, then the book. Mysterious Press had no connection to that book other than helping to give me access to mysterious writers.

Faktorovich: What drove your decision to sell the Press to Warner Books in 1989? And then why did you buy it back? The re-purchase suggests that it was a fiscal decision to sell the press, rather than something you wanted to do to have more free time or the like. Were you having difficulties running the press independently before the sale? At the same time—since you were successful enough to be desirable to Warner—what kind of marketing, sales, and the like were you doing to make the press successful in the competitive publishing market in the early days? The Press’ website states that it was reincarnated primarily to make its early books available via the ebook format, since the original hardcovers and softcovers are now out of print (with Grove/Atlantic focusing on publishing only new releases). Have you had success finding buyers for the ebooks; do you think this is a growing or a shrinking market?

Penzler: Warner and I had a disagreement about compensation and profit-sharing. Several other publishers were pursuing me so I sold the company to Warner—the biggest mistake of my professional career. I loved working with Warner and its president, Larry Kirshbaum, who remains one of my closest friends. I assumed, incorrectly, that all co-publishing arrangements would be as comfortable. More than a quarter of a century later, I wanted to start a new company devoted to publishing e-books and wanted to use the Mysterious Press name again and, since it was essentially moribund with Hachette, David Young, president and CEO of Hachette North America, generously agreed. When I made an agreement with Grove/Atlantic, Morgan Entriken, the president and CEO, wanted to use the MP name as well. The e-publishing company, which has been focused almost exclusively on reprints, is totally separate from G/A, where MP is an imprint publishing only new books in hardcover, paperback, and electronically, while I own 100% of the E-books have been extremely successful and, while that marker shrunk a bit two or three years ago, is has levelled off. Fortunately, publishing good mystery fiction, our sales have remained strong and continued to grow year-to-year.

Faktorovich: Then, what motivated you to change the press’ structure into being an imprint at Grove/Atlantic? Are there market pressures on small publishers to merge with the giants to survive (in the US or internationally)? Do sales rise exponentially when a publisher becomes an imprint of one of the Big Five/Four? Is it more difficult for an independent to be reviewed or accepted into festivals and the like? Is distribution, sales processing and other aspects of publishing taken over by the bigger company when a merger takes place, and if so is this a part of the attraction towards merging? Do you receive help with design and editing, or have you continued to do these steps in-house?

Penzler: After I sold the Mysterious Press, I used the name Otto Penzler Books and became an imprint at Macmillan, which was absorbed by Simon & Shuster, then briefly with Carroll & Graf, before finding a good home as an imprint at Harcourt, which was then absorbed by Houghton Mifflin to become Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I have never had the resources to compete for major authors, produce large print runs, and spend enough money for marketing and promotion on my own so have been with larger house ever since I joined Warner in 1984—nine years after I started the company. There are plenty of reasons why smaller houses merge with, or are bought by, large houses, but money is the major factor. A small, independent publisher rarely can afford to pay substantial advances, print enough books and market them so that an author can make a decent living. It’s not impossible, just as it’s not impossible to win the lottery. Grove/Atlantic handles most elements of the publishing process. I do all the acquisitions and edit all the books. I also work with the art department on the covers, am able to help a bit with promotion and foreign sales, but G/A handles contracts, production, distribution, sales, marketing, and subsidiary rights.

Faktorovich: Did you publish The Armchair Detective in its initial or final seventeen years (it ran 1967-1997)? There is a huge gap between the early issues that look like they were printed on a hand press and the later issues that are closer to modern glossy magazines found in chain stores. If the reason the magazine finally closed was a lack of subscriptions, why didn’t it return to its earlier simpler and cheaper roots instead of closing down? Is it natural and fitting for all magazines to close within a few decades, having run their course, or do you think magazines only gain respectability as they age?

Penzler: I took over The Armchair Detective when its publisher decided to close it down because it lost money every year. I thought it was too important for the mystery community to lose so risked taking it over for its debts. It was a cheaply produced labor of love in its earliest years, then was taken over by a small West Coast publisher, who ran it for about two years, I think. When I published it, I wanted to make it bigger and better and, as you suggest, it became far more professional. As my bookshop became more successful and more time-consuming, so did the publishing company. I had less and less time to devote to the magazine. Additionally, I was going through a devastating divorce and was barely able to function so gave the magazine to the woman I’d hired to run it. She ran it for about a year and then, strangely, she simply disappeared one day. Not a word to a soul. Went home at the end of one day, never showed up at work again. Answered no phones, responded to no mail. I’ve never heard from her or her husband again to this day.

Faktorovich: Were Otto Penzler Books and The Armchair Detective Library imprints of your Mysterious Press? Did you start them in the gap when you lost control of this primary business? Why would somebody want to start more than one publishing company? Is there a tax benefit? Is there an opportunity to market the different presses very differently, selling books that might not fit into a single umbrella?

Penzler: After I sold Mysterious Press I couldn’t use the name any more, obviously, so simply named my new publishing imprint after myself. There was no gap between the sale of MP and the deal to start OPB, except for the three years Warner hired me to consult immediately following the sale. It was essentially a non-compete agreement, though Macmillan was waiting in the wings. The Armchair Detective Library was a modest-sized company that I started on my own and ran for a few years, mainly aimed at libraries, with limited, signed editions for collectors. It overlapped other publishing imprints. Competing on a large scale requires involvement with a bigger house and its resources. Most people wouldn’t want to have more than one company. There is no tax benefit—or, if there is, I should fire my accountant because I’ve never seen one. A smaller company with smaller print runs is, of course, less expensive to run and, with a clear target audience, less risky.

Faktorovich: How can you keep up with running imprints at Grove/Atlantic in the United States as well as Zeus in the United Kingdom? Do you have to fly between the two frequently? How many hours per week do you typically work? Are you stressed about missing a major play at one of your business (when your other presses, bookshop and the like are added in) because of the quantity of items on your plate? Do you trust managers at each of these ventures to carry the torch for you or do you micro-manage? Is there a trick to juggling so many diverse enterprises?

Penzler: As noted, Grove/Atlantic does most of the heavy lifting in the U.S., and Head of Zeus in the U.K., where the Mysterious Press is an imprint, does even more. My major involvement is guiding most of the books I publish in the U.S. into the U.K. imprint. I see the top management at the London and Frankfurt Book Fairs, and we e-mail or talk on the phone regularly. is largely run by the outstanding publisher I was smart enough to hire about five years ago. I am a techno-idiot, so Rob Hart is my liaison between me and Open Road Integrated Media, which distributes and markets my e-books, as well as performing other invaluable services, such as handling digitization and royalties. My typical work week is 70-75 hours. I deeply trust most of the people with whom I work but I remain closely involved without micro-managing. I used to micro-manage the proprietary publishing in my bookshop, but during the past 18 months or so have turned much of it over to Charles Perry, my managing editor, who does a fabulous job. There is a trick to juggling so many diverse enterprises: Hire great people.

Faktorovich: Given your business success, why are you still regularly editing anthologies for top publishers? Do you enjoy editing for fun (rather than doing it as a job)? Do you like reading mysteries by great writers? Do you enjoy being in control of picking who is included in anthology that represents the best in a genre? It’s difficult for me to imagine volunteering to edit any book if I ever win the lottery in publishing, as you have, but I hope you can inspire me with your reasons to do it, so I can tell myself to copy your motivations.

Penzler: Business success can be measured in more than one way. Over more than 40 years, I think I have established both Mysterious Press and Mysterious Bookshop as being really good at what we do. Financial success is far more elusive (especially after three divorces, two of which were brutally expensive). Editing anthologies is not the best way to make a fortune but I do get paid to do them and, frankly, need the money. I also write articles and have written a column for a Japanese mystery magazine for 35 years in order to be paid. I do not edit for fun. I do it to earn a living. Which is not to say some of it isn’t fun—it is. Would I do it for free? No. I do love reading mystery fiction. Let’s be clear. Yes, I work a lot of hours but I’m not a coal miner or a farmer. My job is heavily weighted with reading, which isn’t exactly onerous. I love planning the anthologies, making lists of which stories to consider (I’m mainly referring here to the “Big” books I edit for Vintage), hunting them down, and starting the reading process. After reading 250-300 stories on a single theme (Christmas mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, locked room mysteries, rogues and villains, etc.) I get tired of it and the last 100 or 200 stories I read become a chore. Finding the estates, drawing up all the contracts, and some of the other bits needed to finalize the books are no fun at all. Overall, it’s worth the tremendous drain on my time to produce books that I know, in all humility, are the best of their kind EVER!

Faktorovich: The Mysterious Press’ website includes a very interesting listing for a Best eBook Original Mystery Novel Contest with a prize of $25,000, which should have been announced at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair. Did you only run this contest for that on year? You extended the deadline from April to June for it. Did you have difficulty finding enough submissions? One of the limitations to the contest was that the work had to be submitted by a certified agent, rather than by the author. Did you receive a lot of inquiries from authors unable to meet this rule? Why did you make this specification – have you had problems with un-agented submissions violating plagiarism or other laws? This is one of the few contents I’ve found that do not charge submission fees. If you did charge such fees, would there have been a greater motivation for you to continue this contest annually?

Penzler: By my rough calculation, one in four adults in America is writing a mystery. I was concerned that all of them would submit their books to the contest. Requiring that it be submitted by an agent guaranteed that at least one person thought it professional enough to represent it. With the hundreds of thousands of self-published books available as e-books, the prospect of thousands of manuscripts for us to read was too daunting. We did run it for only one year. It was so much work to examine the many submissions that we had, and then promoting the winner, that we didn’t think we could gear up for another one so quickly. Some contests that charge fees are little more than scams. I didn’t think it professional to charge an agent to submit a book for publication. We wouldn’t consider doing it for Grove/Atlantic, of course, so it wasn’t a consideration. In the 42 years of my publishing life, I have never published an un-agented book that I hadn’t requested.

Faktorovich: Four years after starting your Press, in 1979, you also started the Bookshop, which you credit as being the “oldest mystery specialist book store in America.” The romance and mystery genres started gaining their current dominance over the publishing world in the 70s, so it makes sense that your bookshop gained this distinction. What indicators did you see that mysteries were taking over the publishing world, which others missed that early in their progression? Did you start the bookshop because it was necessary to sell your own books in a primary New York City location (rather than relying on other bookshops and giving them the bulk of the profits)? Would you recommend to current publishers to similarly start a physical bookshop to sell their books (and profit from selling other publishers’ books)?

Otto - Bookstore

Penzler: I started the bookshop in 1979 because I had been running the Mysterious Press out of my Bronx apartment. It was fine to handle this when it wasn’t successful but, once I started to sell a lot of books, I found it too hard to keep up. I did this solo, remember, meaning I sent letters (each singly hand-typed) to collectors, libraries, booksellers, etc. trying to sell my books. Then I took the orders, typed invoices, collected payments, wrapped the books, took them to the post office, as well as all the fun parts—editing, negotiating contracts, writing flap copy, copyediting, proofreading, etc. I wanted to move into a place with an extra room for an office to get some secretarial help. When I found I couldn’t afford the rent, I bought the building on 56th St. with a partner with my life savings of $2,050. Now I had a building in mid-town Manhattan and thought it would be fun to run a bookshop. I knew nothing about how to do it but, having been a book buyer and collector for years, it didn’t seem that complicated and I knew I was smarter than some of the folks I’d encountered in bookstores, so I just did it. I had no idea that mysteries were taking over the publishing world (in fact, in the 1970s, they weren’t) and it had little or nothing to do with trying to sell Mysterious Press books, as a single store can’t have a major impact on an entire print run. And, no, starting a bookstore to sell books you publish is out-and-out stupid.

Otto - Bookstore Desk

Faktorovich: How can an author apply to be one of the chosen books on your “The First Mystery Club” list? I recently published a mystery of my own, The Burden of Persuasion, and I publish several mystery novels by different writers with Anaphora. I have tried applying to the giant book clubs, but obviously never received any replies, so I’ve become disillusioned regarding this book club idea. I haven’t researched these types of small bookstore clubs, and I wonder if I am missing a significant sales opportunity. How common are these types of book clubs with small to mid-sized independent bookstores? How difficult is it for a relatively new or unknown writer to be accepted into this club? Do you or your colleagues choose books for the club based on reviews? The site states that most authors go on to win major awards. How can you possibly process enough books to figure out who is going to win an award? What sources tip your club organizer(s) off regarding the likely future winners? Are writers who are local to New York City and frequent your bookstore more likely to see their book in a club’s list? Should writers contact small bookstores to introduce themselves and invite buyers to buy their book for the regular shelves or for book clubs?

Penzler: Authors can’t “apply” to be selected for our First Mystery Club, or any of our seven clubs. The closest thing to applying would be to send a galley and hope one of us in the store finds time to read it. Last year there were more than 1,400 new mysteries published in print format. I don’t know how many other stores have clubs but mine was the first. It would be impractical to try to run clubs like ours in most cities, as all our books are signed first editions. Every first mystery is by an unknown author, unless he or she is established in another field. Mostly books are chosen because we’ve read them, though sometimes advance reviews will lead us to the books. Sometimes the sales representative from one of the larger houses will bring it to our attention, and this also occurs with smaller houses who reach out to us. We don’t “figure out” who’s going to win an award; we select really good books and then they go on to win awards. There is never advance notice of this. Geography does not determine who will be selected for our clubs, though it’s important that the author will be in New York so we can get the books signed. We do sometimes ship books to be autographed but this is expensive, cumbersome, time-consuming, and can result in damaged books, so we prefer authors to show up. It makes sense for authors AND their publishers to let stores know about their books and that they’d be willing to come by and sign books. I do not encourage self-published authors to do this, nor anyone published by any Amazon imprint, as we don’t support a company that wants to put us out of business.

Faktorovich: Your bookstore had three major readings in the past couple of weeks with authors released from top publishers. If an author published with a small independent press approaches you regarding doing a reading, are you welcoming to anybody in the mystery genre or are you picky regarding whom you invite? If nobody comes to a reading, is a neutral endeavor, or is it a fiscal loss (due to every exerted on putting it together)? Is there a negative side to doing as many readings as there are days in a month? Have you ever done readings of your own introductions or the like in your bookstore, why or why not? You sold your mid-town Manhattan location after twenty-seven years and moved to Tribeca. Did property values in that area finally grow so high that a sale became too tempting? How did you hold off as long as you did?

Penzler: That’s a lot of unrelated questions in one paragraph. We probably do about 100 events a year and largely rely on the author to bring in a crowd of his/her friends, family, colleagues, etc. My customers will show up for certain authors but our most successful readings/signings depend on the author bringing in people. We have been forced to charge a fee to cover costs, which we charge large and small publishers. Too many authors or their agents or their publishers promised big crowds and we spent hours moving furniture, setting up chairs, buying wine, beer, soft drinks, etc. and staying past closing time and three people show up because the author didn’t help promote the event. I’ve never done an event for one of my own books because people can get signed books anytime. My partner reached retirement age and wanted to cash in on selling the building. I couldn’t afford his half, so we had to move. Midtown rents were unaffordable, so we moved to Tribeca when it was reasonable. I’m not sure what will happen in three years when our lease expires.

Faktorovich: Your interview with the Wall Street Journal from August 11, 2017, includes a photograph of you in your 60,000-book personal library that you built in your Kent, Connecticut home. You are wearing withered and yellowed sneakers, and the sleeves of your shirt are casually rolled up. In contrast, the library reminds me of the shelves out of Yale or Harvard libraries, with two floors of classically decorated wood. Why did you invest in this project, when the same investment could have bought you a near Barnes and Noble-sized bookstore in a Connecticut suburb? Is this just for fun or do you practically need to store this volume of books because you make a living from selling special editions of books long out of print that have to refrigerate for decades before they become valuable? In the WSJ article you explain that this library was designed by your architect friend, Ted Kvell, when you turned 40, and started “to make real money.” You probably spend nearly all of your time in this great space, so do you just leave your New York apartment unoccupied for very long stretches? Does this create glitches with the pipes? Do you have to hire somebody to house-sit?

Penzler: Don’t conflate my personal collection with the bookshop. I have rarely sold a book from my collection. Those are tan sneakers, not yellow, and they are not withered. I didn’t put on a suit and tie to have my picture taken. I’d been collecting for more than 50 years and built the house to hold my collection. My friend Ted designed the house but I largely designed the library, with a start from Ted and lots of conferences with the cabinetmaker who built it. It was largely modeled on the Bodlean Library at Oxford. The collection has been entirely for fun. I spend half my week in New York, half in Kent. It’s too frenetic in NY so I go to the house to do all my reading, editing, and writing.

Faktorovich: In the “Introduction” to The Best American Short Stories you write that “quite a few authors had never had a book published before their stories were selected for inclusion in one of the annual volumes.” The website for this anthology series invites submissions in various categories in addition to mysteries. What volume of submissions does each of these generate? The guidelines say that works should not be sent in the few weeks right before the deadline because this would cut down on the time available for readers to review them. How early in the year is the best time to submit work to this anthology? Can short stories that have been published in a collection of stories by a single author qualify for this anthology? What tricks do you use to stay interested and alert as you read the numerous pieces that are submitted? In the 2017 “Foreword” to BAMS, you explain that Michele Slung usually reads “3-4,000 stories every year” to come up with fifty she thinks are the best that she forwards to you to choose 20 to publish. If each of these stories has 5,000 words, this would add up to 20 million words or 200 books. Which periodicals does Slung favor for this reading marathon? What other sources does she use? Are you concerned that she might have a narrow set of preferences that might be improved (in terms of widening the pool) if you invite other editors to join her in this selection? The overwhelming weight of the decisions involved in projects like this is the reason I haven’t attempted an anthology myself, aside for the periodicals I publish with Anaphora. I’m curious how you view it.

Penzler: I have no idea what the website says but every introduction to BAMS explains the guidelines. The best time to submit is immediately after the story is published. I don’t know (or care) what the volume of submissions is for the other “Best American” series. The numbers I attribute to what Michele reads is approximately correct. She does not read every story from beginning to end. If it’s poorly written, this is evident after a couple of pages. Any story, whether from a periodical, an anthology, or a single author collection is eligible if it was first published in the calendar year (now 2017, for the volume that will publish in October 2018). Michele doesn’t favor any periodicals; she looks at them all, if we can find them. I have no concerns over her range of preferences. She has enormously catholic tastes and sends me anything she thinks might be worthy, even if she doesn’t love its because our tastes don’t totally coincide.

Faktorovich: In your “Introduction” to The Best Crime Stories Ever Told, you explain that the bulk of the stories selected for this anthology are from the “first three decades of the 20th century.” Why do you think the peak of crime fiction happened a century ago (Arthur Conan Doyle), and why were some of your own favorite crime books (Wilkie Collins) written still earlier? Given the ease of accessing advanced criminal research via modern search engines, why wouldn’t modern mysteries surpass those earlier attempts? Are publishers deliberately screening out of publication books that might be more complex and engaging than these canonical books because they have calculated that a larger percentage of the population wants a lower reading-level?

Penzler: Tastes change. The pure detective story, essentially a puzzle, is less successful these days when readers are perhaps more sophisticated, caring more about WHY a murder was committed rather than WHO committed it. In many ways, the modern crime story is superior, with more attention paid to characterization, style, and psychological insight. Why would publishers screen out anything? If they think it will sell, they’ll publish it. Publishers tend to follow taste rather than create it.

Faktorovich: In this same “Introduction,” you go on to write: “The detective fiction written during the past half-century or more has, for the most part, focused on character development far more than ingenious murder methods, clues, red herrings, tight alibis and the other accoutrements of early detective fiction. Today, it is far more concerned with the ‘why’ a crime was committed than the ‘how.’” This is the reason you give for the later attempts to not have been included; classical mysteries cared more about the “how” and on building surprising criminal plots, and this is the yardstick the editor of this particular volume, Sayers, preferred. Having edited dozens of anthologies in the mystery genre, do you find these types of restrictions limiting? Is it narrowminded to exclude all psychological mysteries from an anthology that attempts to find the “best crime stories”? You go on to say that this particular collection avoids stories that are resolved with help from a “long-lost twin brother” who “committed the crime.” Are there some styles that might be able to pull of this trope, or are these types of formulaic acrobatics always dooming stories to the mediocre status? Is there a book or a critic you rely on to separate out the traits that make up the elements needed for a mystery to be labeled as the “best”? Can making such value-judgements be diluted into a science of acceptable linguistics and structures, and if so, what is your summary judgement in this regard?

Penzler: Can you remember that this anthology was edited by Dorothy Sayers? My anthology, The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century (meaning the 20th century, as evident when it was published), does include more whydunnits and psychologically complex stories. And, yes, Sayers had good taste and eschewed gimmicky stories with twins, hidden panels, etc. The critic I rely on to make a value judgment about what is the best is, well, me. Anyone can have an opinion. Not everyone’s opinion is equally valid. If someone has little background or experience in reading mystery fiction, their opinion doesn’t matter to me, any more than mine would in providing an opinion on a work of metaphysics.

Faktorovich: What advice do you have for somebody who is considering starting a publishing company or a bookstore? What are the most dangerous hurdles to avoid?

Penzler: Best advice is to think twice. Start with a lot of money since most businesses go under within two or three years because they are under-capitalized. Biggest hurdle is thinking it’s not going to take over your life. If you do it right, it will.

Faktorovich: Thank you for participating in this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss, or do you have any concluding remarks?

Penzler: I wouldn’t have chosen any field other than books to make a living—and a life.

The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries


2 Responses to “Interview with Otto Penzler, Owner of Manhattan’s Mysterious Bookshop and Press”

  1. Dawn March 19, 2023 at 1:13 am #

    I landed on this interview randomly from a Google search for something else connected to Otto’s bookshop. I was excited at the prospect of reading an interview with him. It was difficult to read your interview, though, because you ask myriad questions all-in-one each time. Otto did a wonderful job, nevertheless, answering your questions in a structured way. You can tell he’s a talented editor!


    • Anaphora Literary Press March 19, 2023 at 1:17 am #

      Answering several related questions together is the standard format of scholarly journal interviews. Search out some scholarly journals in your nearest digital library collection, and take a look at their interviews, and you’ll see that short choppy questions and answers are only found in pop magazines. It would be awkward for both Otto and me as the scholarly interviewer to ask about Otto’s favorite color or the like.


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