What is Pembroke Press?

Since publishing The Bleeder, people have been asking me about my publisher, Pembroke Press—and, more to the point, how they might get their own scribblings published by Pembroke as well.

As it happens, Pembroke is an extremely selective publisher (some would say exclusionary), and, to date, has only agreed to publish my work under its label. When I wrote to the publisher and asked him why this was, he said, “You mean there are other people who waste their time writing?” I said yes, and went on to ask him if other writers could submit their work for review. “They can,” he responded, “but it would be a complete waste of their time, because I would just delete it.”

To understand this rather gruff response, one must understand Pembroke’s origins and management philosophy. Pembroke Press is named in honor of the spirit and character of the Welsh Pembroke Corgi, and as such it is the only publishing company entirely run and managed by short-legged dogs with an attitude. In order to get the attention of Pembroke’s management you have to feed them, and in order to do that, you have to be there at 5:30 in the morning, when the office opens. Furthermore, the only way to get Pembroke Press to publish anything is to threaten NOT to feed management at the appointed times, and to be able to carry through on that threat.

Unfortunately, feeding management is no guarantee. Corgis, as a rule, hate publishing almost as much as they hate reading, so getting them to do anything constructive during office hours is a challenge. Taking them to the dog park helps, but after that they’re usually ready to call it a day, and the next morning they hardly ever remember how nice you were to them the day before. So then you have to get up and do it all over again. It’s exhausting.

Not many people would put up with this kind of behavior from their publisher, but I do, because the alternative is listening to a bunch of cranky, demanding editors barking out random orders all day long. So go ahead and submit your work if you want; just know that Pembroke’s management has no interest in publishing books, even mine. I just happen to be the company’s caterer, so they throw me a bone every now and then to keep the chow coming.