Hanover Square Press: Bringing Fresh Stories to Life
It’s been said that every new story starts the same way—with a blank page. Publishing itself is no different, and even the most legendary publishers started at the beginning with a blank slate, a newly hired stable of editors, and a hunger for bringing the best new works to the public. Such is the enviable task of Peter Joseph, editorial director of Hanover Square Press, a new imprint that will be bringing fresh stories to readers early next year.
With an impressive stable of writers already lined up and a highly experienced editorial staff on board, Hanover Square is aiming to tell stories that readers are hungry to absorb, said editorial director Peter Joseph, who shared some of the firm’s goals and interests with The Strand.
Starting Hanover Square Press
Although the imprint is new, Hanover Square Press brings decades of industry experience to its writers, said Joseph, who is a longtime veteran of Thomas Dunne Books. “One of the things about working at a place like that is it’s a big house, there are a lot of editors, so when you publish a lot of books, there’s a lot of responsibility to the editor. You have a chance to gain a lot of experience, so I learned a lot, both in acquisitions and also in being able to strategize how to publish the books that I was doing.”
It wasn’t long before Joseph’s experience made him a top choice to handle editorial duties at the new publishing house. “Last year, my name had started to come up when publishers were thinking about someone to put together an imprint. Harlequin’s goal has been to start a few different imprints, such as Park Row Books and Graydon House. They were looking to expand further and brought me on.”
Joseph started by asking John Glynn, previously an associate editor at Scribner, to help acquire titles. When it came time to decide on a name for the new imprint, Joseph found a name that encapsulated what he and Harlequin were looking to accomplish. “The name comes from Hanover Square; there’s so much history there; it used to be called Printing House Square in the early 19th century,” says Joseph. The square was a hub for publishers, booksellers, and great print in general, making it the ideal namesake for Hanover Square Press.
Finding Compelling Stories
The new imprint’s main goal is to find unique stories that readers have never seen. “A lot of great novelists, whether they’re writing thrillers or writing more general fiction, have a really clear idea of a unique concept for each book,” Joseph says. “That’s really what excites me, the chance to inhabit a world or place that you would never get anywhere else.”
One of those unique stories is The Black Painting by Neil Olson, slated for release in 2018. The literary mystery revolves around a suspicious death, reviving the mystery of a stolen Francisco de Goya painting. Another piece slated for release next year is Tomorrow by Damian Dibben. The book follows the life of an immortal dog as he travels through the courts and battlefields of 19th-century Europe in search of his master.
While the unique, compelling stories that writers bring to the table are a huge draw attracting readers to Hanover Square Press, it’s often the voices of the authors themselves that the publisher is seeking. “The other element that we really look for is the author’s voice,” says Joseph. “I’m a bit of an insomniac so if I really like a book, then I’ll stay up all night reading it. Knowing that I couldn’t stop reading it, coming into work excited to tell everyone about it the next morning—if a book can generate that sort of response with me, then I think it can generate that with other readers as well.”
A Focus on the Future
Among Hanover Square Press’s most unique features is its singular focus on every title, giving each individual book a generous amount of care.
“Part of the goal here is to be able to be part of an imprint where you know that you’re able to really focus on every single title,” says Joseph. “There’s not more than one title coming out on the same day; there’s often only one book a month in many cases, so there’s a real opportunity on the authors’ end to know that they’re getting a great amount of attention from their editors, from sales force, as well as marketing.”
It’s no question that the coming year will be a crucial one for Hanover Square Press and one that the new publisher is looking forward to with great optimism. “I can tell that everyone here in the company is reading the books, thinking about the books, and thinking about ways to introduce them to people out there,” Joseph said.