Founded in 2015, Repeater publishes weird and radical books from the badlands of popular culture – taking on a wide-range of topics across politics, philosophy and culture, as well as critically-acclaimed literary fiction.
We spoke to Tariq Goddard, Repeater’s Publisher, about going his own way, disastrous book launches and his Ralph Lauren modelling session. Read on to find out more…
TG: Crudely, to get into print titles that might otherwise never have been written, by individuals who may not think of themselves as authors, and to modestly affect and influence the times we live in on account of what we publish.
TG: Dispensing with an obligatory hardback edition was simply about keeping pricing down and the anecdotal evidence that our target and core audience tended to not buy them, so by ignoring that, we’d be propagating a useless convention. Lacking a background in publishing, our team tend to not share the collective unconscious of publishing, namely it’s tropes, taste and conventions, which makes going our own way very easy. A great deal of what we do has always been a calculated gamble, relying mainly on new authors and lacking a long backlist, though in order to sustain our success we have adopted some traditional publishing practices, like working with reps!
TG: A combination of having to love a book enough to consider it a cause, a feeling that if the author did not write it, its subject would be ill-served, an originality of approach and an ability to make and see connections others cannot.
TG: Narcissistically enough, my own novel, Nature and Necessity, Mark Fisher’s The Weird and The Eerie, a book I had to encourage out of him, paragraph by paragraph, as his confidence wasn’t equal to writing it unassisted, Peter Fleming’s The Worst Is Yet To Come, as it was literally conceived over fireworks, and Grace Blakeley’s Stolen as it was my first and most successful attempt to tap into a new generation of writers, to follow our first wave.
TG: Books with high production costs would probably put us off, children books, graphic novels, cookery and home improvements, anything too technical or academic, but that still leaves us a lot of wiggle room! And whilst I will happily publish a book with which I disagree if I think it needs putting out there, I almost certainly would no longer publish a book that is the total opposite of what I actually think.
TG: He was a great generalist, who was able to characterise an era through its cultural artefacts and political mistakes, in a style that you do not need a degree to understand. His aim of bringing ambitious writing that would normally be relegated to the margins or underground on the grounds of being either too weird or intellectual, into the mainstream, is still our modus operandi.
TG: Obviously the FBI no longer have a monopoly on surveillance, which is now a daily and largely uncontested fact of our existence, so in that sense the book is as timely as it is historical. I also think the bullying hectoring tone of McCarthyism, the tacit appeal to matters unconnected with the actual subject of inquiry, the presumption of guilt on nebulous grounds, and the virtue signalling self righteousness we are immersed in daily, demonstrate the connection between McCarthy and our own time.
TG: An author deciding to read their entire book instead of doing a Q&A, while I needed the lavatory but was trapped onstage with no escape route, wasn’t a classic. Or another deciding to passionately engage with the politics of the middle east, in front of an audience who thought they were going to hear him talk about his memoir of rural England. These still pale next to my slot at a literary festival which took me into the basement of a leisure centre in a provincial town, past a swimming pool and ice rink to finally to get to the “library”, where a dozen people where waiting for me with a rider of a can of Fosters and a banana. It was a nice reality check of my market worth.
TG: A bizarre moment in the history of British publishing when writing was the new rock n roll and I thought photo shoots for fashion labels would compromise my integrity less than the other media-whorish activity that was on offer.
TG: Tommy Sissons’ A Small Man’s England, The Repeater Book of the Occult and the rapper and producer Lee Scott (of Runcorn’s) debut novel, Swan Songs And Glories.
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