An Interview With Publishing Company, LESSER GODS on Their Latest Books On TAYLOR SWIFT AND ZAYN MALIK
Posted On 30 Sep 2016
Earlier this month, the book publishing company, Lesser Gods, released two new music collections; “Inside Taylor Nation: True Encounters With Taylor Swift” and “Zayn: A New Direction.” Both books are by noted music biography writer, Sarah Oliver.
Lesser Gods is the first U.S. imprint of Amsterdam-based Overamstel Publishers. Based in New York City, Lesser Gods publishes books by and about musicians, across a variety of genres.
Their debut Fall 2016 list includes something for music lovers of all stripes, including a coffee table photo book of Pantera, an oral history about H.R. of Bad Brains, an anthology of rock ’n’ roll’s best drug stories, and biographies of the world’s leading pop stars! Their mission is to identify and publish extraordinary stories about the artists and music that have meant so much to so many of us.
Here is the opening from “Inside Taylor Nation: True Encounters With Taylor Swift”:
Taylor Swift plays more shows in the US and spends more time here than anywhere else. So Swifties in the US have more stories than Swifties from any other country in the world!
Here is the opening from “Zayn: A New Direction”:
2015 was to be a huge year for Zayn, although he may not have known how much his life was going to change at the start of the year. In January he got to enjoy some family time before he had to say goodbye and jet off to Australia, where the tour was starting in February.
For more information on Lesser Gods visit: http://www.lessergodsbooks.com/
All Access recently had the pleasure of interview the publishing company, Lessor Gods about these two book in particular. Here is our following interview with a member of the team there, Jacob Hoye:
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about what we’re doing.
First things first, how did the Zayn biography and the Taylor Swift fan-book come to the Lesser Gods publishing family?
We started a year ago and our mandate is to publish music titles. When I was overseeing MTV Books we never did unauthorized biographies of artists for fear of upsetting them or their management, but it’s always been an area of interest to me as a publisher and a fan.
As Tom Petty said when he worked with Warren Zanes on his biography, Petty, unauthorized simply means the artist didn’t have to approve it and, if done right, ideally the reader gets something closer to the truth. We love authorized books as well but fans wanting a clearer picture on the back stories of these artists will be quite happy. I think David Nolan’s Ed Sheeran: A+ is quite remarkable. He uncovered some great details from Ed’s childhood that were not known and brings people closer to understanding Sheeran’s journey from a bohemian childhood to being one of the premier songwriters and pop stars in the world.
Why do you think books like these do so well today? Why are people so interested to learn more about pop artists today?
Even in this age of information, where artists are communicating via social media all the time, there’s still a sense that we only know what they want us to know. These books look beyond the myth.
What can true Taylor Swift fans expect from “Inside Taylor Nation”? What will they discover about the pop star from reading it that they don’t already know about her?
This book is more about the culture around Taylor Swift and the devotion she inspires and engenders in her fans, especially the super-fans known as Swifties. The general reader will get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of this culture and fellow Swifties will revel in the intimate encounters people have had with Taylor Swift.
Do you know how closely the writer, Sarah Oliver, worked with Taylor fans on this book? Was it difficult to pick and choose which fan stories to include?
It was a collaborative book with a good number of Swifties from around the world. She had no shortage of great stories from which to choose and really had some tough decisions to make as to which were featured in the book.
When it comes to “Zayn A New Direction,” what will Zayn fans learn about the musician?
Fans get a full, eye-opening look into Zayn, from his childhood to his dating life to his stardom. He grew up as a painfully shy child of Pakistani and British heritage. Zayn loves performing, making music and pleasing his fans but struggles at times with the mountain of interviews and promotional work involved. He also struggles with anxiety, as we know, and this book sheds some light on that. Author Sarah Oliver, a 1D expert who appeared in the documentary One Direction: All for One, includes a lot of fans’ perspectives and is able to give Zayn fans exactly what they want.
How do these two books compare with the other books that Lesser Gods is publishing?
These biographies are just one component of our program. They are intended to appeal to younger readers who, fortunately, still read and buy books. But they are not short YA books giving readers a surface level story. They dive deep and treat both the artist and readers respectfully. We’re also doing deep dives into some rock acts like Pantera and The Strokes. We have titles by photographers who’ve known both bands their entire careers and have amassed significant collections of images that are remarkable for their intimacy and insight. We’re also doing a book with a young rock star, which is shaping up to be a kind of coming-of-age memoir. We’re incredibly excited about this one as he is both incredibly smart and uniquely charismatic. We should be announcing that one in the near future.
Will Lesser Gods continue to publish these kinds of music-based books and biographies? A Miley Cyrus biography is coming up next I believe in 2017…
Absolutely. We’re looking to do a balance of biographies and autobiographies along with some visual histories. Miley is on tap for Spring/Summer 2017 as well as an astute biography of James Hetfield of Metallica and a mesmerizing book about ’60s icon Dusty Springfield, which is a really heartbreaking story.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about Lesser Gods and the books it chooses to publish?
We’re driven simply by our passion for music. A good song is a good song and a great artist is a great artist regardless of genre. Over time we hope to have a dynamic list that has a title for everyone. When people wonder if there’s a book on their favorite artist, we hope they’ll come to our site to see if we have it.