I learned today that Lou Anders is leaving Prometheus Books. Anders is both the editorial director and art director of Pyr, and imprint of Prometheus. Anders is leaving to focus on his writing career. I wish Lou and Pyr nothing but the best, with good fortune to follow on both sides.
In my mind, Lou Anders IS Pyr. I understand that there is and was a team in place making everything happen, but Lou was the face of Pyr, a public advocate for the fiction he was publishing, and he was the editorial director. It was his vision and guidance that drove the sort of fiction published at Pyr. The reason I am familiar with and fans of James Barclay, Justina Robson, Kay Kenyon, and Joe Abercrombie is because I was introduced to them by Lou Anders. There are another dozen or so writers I haven't read yet, but they are on my radar simply because Lou published them. They have to be good. Not only did he publish good books, as art director, his books looked good, too. They looked sharp. They looked like something you'd want to pick up.
Books selected by Lou would, from the first year, be nominated for the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Hugo, World Fantasy Award, Compton Crook Award, The John W Campbell Memorial Award, Sideways Award, Philip K Dick Award, and the Locus Award. Among others. The art that he selected would be nominated for and win the Chesley Award. Short fiction he edited would invariably be nominated for awards, and Lou himself would be nominated for the World Fantasy Award and win the Hugo and Chesley Awards. It isn't an exaggeration to say that if Lou Anders published a book, I could assume right off the bat that it was going to be worth checking out. Lou Anders built the Pyr brand and knowing that a book was published by Pyr, I'd give it a second or third look.
I almost wrote that it is sad to see Lou leave Pyr, but that would only be the selfish thought of someone whose reading life has benefited from and been enriched by the work that Lou has done with Pyr. Lou Anders is leaving to focus on his own writing. His first novel, Frostborn, has been published and has been well received and if leaving Pyr gives him the opportunity to fully embrace and chase his dream and his personal goals, then that's the right decision and the right call.
I have never met Lou Anders, though I hope one day our paths cross and I can buy him a beer and sit down and talk books with him for a few minutes, but he has my sincere best wishes in this next stage of his career.
On his blog today, Lou has some poignant words about Kermit the Frog.
Somewhere along the way, it became less about his own dreams and more about facilitating others' dreams, about accruing and enabling a group of like-minded individuals to reach their own potential.
As an editor over the last ten years at Pyr, Lou Anders has done exactly that. While the nuts and bolts of editorial work is largely invisible to the reader, to a very real point, the job of an editor is to facilitate the dreams of others and to enable them to reach their potential. And like Kermit, he has been remarkably successful at bringing those voices forward and making them known. He has been the public face of a company's brand. Now he is stepping forward himself, making his own dream a reality, pushing his own vision and stretching to tell his own stories.