I’m excited to announce my very first indie publishing house interview with Chupa Cabra House Publishing. A few months ago, I was approached by the publishing house’s owner, Timm Tayshun, for an eco-horror anthology project called Growing Concerns. I’d worked with Timm before in the community-organized short story anthology Writers’ Anarchy, and loved his work, so was more than happy to jump on board as a staff editor.
One of my favorite things about the house is its wild, unapologetic style. With anthology calls from horror to weird western to “whackazoid circus”, there’s just enough strange to pull curiosity out of even the most conservative of readers. Timm was kind enough to accept my request for an interview for Imprints today. I hope you all enjoy.
AH: Tell us about Chupa Cabra House.
TT: Chupa Cabra House started a long time ago in the 90’s as a record label and ‘zine. I came up through the punk rock/DIY scene and that whole ethic of making your own things and doing stuff for yourself and your community has informed my whole outlook on life, politics and art. We released a handful of cassettes (remember those?) then a handful of cd’s (remember those?) and xerox’d cut and paste hyper-local music and culture magazines. I moved on to different kinds of music and kept the Chupa Cabra House name, releasing a record by my hip hop group BLUNTSWORTH, then two solo albums and a few EP’s under my long time stage name Timm Tayshun (you can listen to some of my ridiculous music HERE). I pretty much only sell CD’s at live shows because I wanted to concentrate on the literature aspect of Chupa Cabra House and not water down the message by trying to hawk them on the website. I’ve always been a reader and writer and basically fantasized about releasing books, comics and printed material under the Chupa Cabra House name for a long time.
AH: Chupa Cabra House seems to have a very specific reader in mind– what kind of reader would enjoy CCH’s offerings?
TT: To be completely honest, the work released on Chupa Cabra House is only focused on keeping one reader happy, me. In the broader sense I hope it appeals to horror fans, sci-fi fans and just about anyone who enjoys speculative fiction. I don’t think it’s important to have Chupa Cabra House be associated with a particular niche or genre because my main goal is simply to expose great writers to the world. I buy books based on a lot of things, but what company publishes it plays very little, if at all, in my decision. I want there to be a “creative” middle class. If an author could have a relatively small but excited fan base (say 5,000 to 20,000 people) who would be willing to spend 10 to 20 bucks a year on an author’s work it would be possible to support themselves and their families while providing the world with art. I realize that may be naive but a guy can wish, right? I read widely and I want to publish widely.
AH: You’ve got a couple of new publications coming out soon. What are they, and what are they about?
Bad Sunset by Alex Johnson is coming out October 31st. He is a really prolific and great Bizarro fiction writer and he’s going to blow up and be regarded as a classic author one day. It’s my honor to have three of his books coming out on CCH. In addition to Bad Sunset, we are publishing Pudding Spook Apocalypse in the spring and he also brought us Axes of Evil, a heavy metal horror anthology project that he’s curating and editing.
In November there is a themed anthology called We Walk Invisible coming out that has a really strong group of stories from both established and new writers.
Also in November we are releasing a book of short stories by Marc Shapiro. It’s called High Strangeness and it’s really full of weirdness. Mr. Shapiro is a very good promoter of his material and it’s teaching me a lot about being driven with promoting your work.
We want to release one or two books a month from here on out, and as of today we have releases of anthologies, nonfiction books and novels well into summer 2014. Always looking for more! Send stuff to email@example.com
AH: Where will these projects be available for purchase?
TT: Amazon, ChupaCabraHouse.com, various conventions and from the trunk of my car.
AH: What would you say separates Chupa Cabra House Publishing apart from the rest of the pack?
TT: I want to develop real relationships and friendships with writers and expose their work to as many people as I can. I’m not in this for the money (in fact, if I ever break even I’ll throw a party). We aren’t a big press and we never will be. Ideally I would like to see authors “grow up” and leave the Chupa Cabra House for a bigger, better publisher if that’s what they want in their career. My experience is I don’t listen when people tell me I can’t do something. I get off on seeing projects come together and take on a life of their own.
AH: My inside sources tell me you’re a graphic designer as well. Do you do all of the graphic design for your label?
TT: Yes, I do most of the graphic design and layout. I do use other cover artists or photographers though, depending on what the author envisions for his or her book. I’m aware of what my limitations are and I won’t overstep them just to produce a book cheaper. I’m also the main editor, slushpile reader, webmaster, shipping department, customer service department, HR and agent. I also like to fit writing into that. It’s taking a hit lately, though. My day job is graphic design and I also have a live sound business. I stay busy.
AH: Chupa Cabra has a couple of imprints (with another on the way). Could you discuss them, and why you dislike the word ‘genre’?
TT: While I understand the need for the word “genre” for actual book consumers, I feel like not very much work fits into just one category any more. Great books encompass horror, romance, fantasy, magical realism, urban erotica, memoir, all kinds of things. Let’s hype authors and let them do what they want without feeling like they are trapped doing something over and over.
Our imprints are basically split into three areas.
Short Story Culture, which is anthologies and story collections by a single author. I’m super obsessed with short works of both fiction and nonfiction, always have been. There is just something magical about being able to read a complete, no frills story in half an hour or less.
Lay Siege to Empires is our fiction novel and novellas imprint.
I also want to publish long form non-fiction. Still trying to figure out a name for that before the book called How to Shave Your Face Like a Motherfucking Boss by Slummo comes out later this winter. There a few other projects in the works for this line as well.
I’d like to put out graphic novels as well, but I have nothing in the works yet.
AH: Anything else you’d like us to know?
Thanks for the interview, Alex.
Thank you Timm! If you are looking for an awesome place to submit your short fiction, novellas, novels or nonfiction, check Chupa Cabra House out today!