The U.S. edition of journalist Naomi Klein’s latest book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (June), bears Haymarket Books’s logo instead of one from the bigger houses that typically publish her books. How Klein, a Canadian journalist and activist, went with the small left-leaning press has to do with the speedy nature of the book's publication...and the luck that sometimes determines who publishes what.
Although Klein has a solid relationship with current U.S. publisher, Simon & Schuster (which released her 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate), she wanted to go a different route with No Is Not Enough. The book, which outlines how progressives can resist the Trump administration's agenda, was something she explicitly wanted to publish with an independent press. Enter Haymarket, a Chicago-based house that specializes in leftist titles.
“No Is Not Enough is a movement book. I wanted to publish it with a movement publisher,” said Klein, who, with this book, had her first experience publishing with an independent press in the U.S. Klein's long-time publisher, Knopf Canada, published it in Canada, and Allen Lane published it in the U.K.
Haymarket, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last fall, is the publishing and distribution arm of the Center for Economic Research and Social Change, a Chicago nonprofit with a socialist bent that is dedicated to education on social justice issues. Haymarket publishes 20-25 titles annually, and counts among its top sellers books like Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, Noam Chomsky’s Hopes and Prospects, and Angela Davis’ Freedom Is a Constant Struggle.
Klein, who said she is a longtime admirer of Haymarket’s list, has known the publisher's editorial board member Anthony Arnove for years. She praised Arnove for his ability to “bring important critical ideas to a broader readership,” citing Haymarket’s success in the marketplace with Men Explain Things to Me, which has sold 120,000 copies since its publication in 2014. “It’s not about making money for him, it’s about getting the ideas out there," Klein said.
After deciding early in the year to write No Is Not Enough, and to publish it with a mission-driven house, Klein bypassed her agent and contacted Arnove directly. Aside from finding a publisher that supported her message through its list, Klein also wanted a house that could get her book to market quickly.
“I wanted the book out before the summer, when I thought people might finally have the head space to step back and read long form,” Klein said. “There’s a nimbleness to being small. This was important because we crashed this book out extremely fast. We did [it] in three months. It’s harder for a larger company to turn it around as fast.”
Speaking to the choice to drop her agent in the deal, Klein said that she wanted to avoid seeing the title tied up in a potential auction which, while “they are exciting,” she noted, can also be “very time-consuming.” Auctions, Klein added, also tend to favor large houses that can bid high. And, ultimately, these time-saving choices mattered. Klein said that, in the end, "every day did count." She went on: "If we had lost a week to a book auction I wouldn’t have made the June pub [date].” (Without an agent, Klein wound up negotiating the deal on her own, which marked another first for her.)
To keep the book on track, the three publishers involved--in the U.S, Canada and the U.K.--had to collaborate closely. Knopf Canada editor Louise Dennys took the lead in editing, chapter-by-chapter, as Klein adhered to a rigorous writing schedule. Working round-the-clock, Random House Canada handled production on No Is Not Enough, with Haymarket and Allen Lane tweaking Knopf Canada’s initial cover design and tailoring title pages to their own specifications. The book went to press in May and, according to Consortium Book Sales & Distribution v-p of sales Jim Nichols, was one of its hottest titles at Book Expo. Haymarket printed 60,000 copies in trade paper in its initial print run, and is about to go into a second, 25,000-copy printing. It is debuting next week at #2 on the New York Times print nonfiction paperback bestsellers list.
“It was in every way a very collegial and exciting experience,” Dennys told PW. “It was totally worth the effort."
Arnove, who also spoke highly of the experience, said he was thrilled to be working on a project like this, with an international focus, explaining that what Klein is speaking to "are not just urgent matters in the U.S., but across the world.”