Twenty-Five Years of Thomas Dunne Books
An editor with St. Martin’s Press since 1971, Thomas Dunne started his imprint within the Press in 1986 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. A perennial blend of commercial success and quality, the Thomas Dunne Books list publishes broadly, with a reputation for publishing both established and emerging writers.
What’s with the Dog?
We’re often asked about the origin of our dachshund colophon. When it was decided to establish the Thomas Dunne imprint within St. Martin’s Press, the SMP art director asked what sort of designed type or logo Tom had in mind. He was thinking about this one night, and idly studying his bookshelf, when he noticed that a significant number of his books had critters of some sort on the spine. There were flocks of penguins among the paperbacks, but among hardcovers, a veritable dog track of Russian wolfhounds predominated. At the time, Tom’s dachshund, Sparky, was on his lap and the solution was suddenly obvious. The breed is lovable, humorous, brave and feisty. They are cleaner than penguins, and—let’s face it—if one were to curl up with a good book and a good dog, which would be more congenial, lap-wise: a hundred-ten pound wolf-hound or a nine pound dachshund? The answer was obvious, and though we’ve never actually counted, at least ten million “Sparkies” have gone out into the world since 1986.
“From a high-rise office at the very tip of the Flatiron building, Mr. Dunne remains firmly in charge. His imprint is the leading publisher of mysteries, but also sells histories, niche titles, British literary imports, and unauthorized biographies. An imprint that scorns snobbery, prizes the quirky and commercial, and flourishes…his imprint is one of the company’s most profitable.” —The New York Times
“High overhead has forced big publishers to take fewer chances on new writers, trim their lists of talented but modest-selling authors, and cut back on line-by-line editing of the works they publish. Another loss in the age of mega-publishing is a sense of the personality of each publishing line. Today a few imprints, such as Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, reflect the taste of a powerful editor. Otherwise, it is difficult to predict the type of reading you will get from books issued by a particular publishing house.” —The Boston Herald
V.P., Publisher, Thomas Dunne Books
I’ve been at St. Martin’s since January 1971, so at one time or another, I have published almost every kind of book. The imprint was started in 1986, and is totally eclectic. Last year, the thirteen of us published roughly 200 titles, about 50/50 fiction/nonfiction. We continue to publish major New York Times bestsellers, but we are just as proud of the many other solid titles—including many first books—that we publish every year.
Over the years, many of the “biggest” authors I have personally edited have been British-particularly in fiction. These have included Rosamunde Pilcher, Frederick Forsyth, Wilbur Smith, and Michael Palin. But there have been plenty of American novelists as well, including the acclaimed Jincy Willett and Dan Brown (DIGITAL FORTRESS).
In nonfiction, I have a particular interest in politics, history, science, and current events, with bestsellers like the groundbreaking JACQUELINE BOUVIER KENNEDY ONASSIS: THE UNTOLD STORY by Barbara Leaming, THE WORLD WITHOUT US by Alan Weisman, and the heartwarming A STREET CAT NAMED BOB by James Bowen.
In the near future, I am going to be publishing Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael D’Antonio’s fully authorized biography of DONALD TRUMP, as well as the final book in Peter Ackroyd’s celebrated five volume history of England. Also in the pipeline is Patrick Sloyan’s THE POLITICS OF DECEPTION, a fascinating look at the darker side of JFK’s presidency and DO NO HARM by Henry Marsh, a superbly-written memoir by one of England’s top neurosurgeons. And these are but a few highlights. (We also have a photo book of pugs in costumes and a parody of the Skymall catalog—so we try to have a sense of humor, too!)
The imprint continues to grow and the editors at Thomas Dunne Books have a wide range of tastes, backgrounds, and ages. I firmly believe that almost any book of commercial or literary merit can find a good home here
Before my start at Thomas Dunne Books in 2016 I worked with the imprint as an intern and a freelance illustrator. After an eclectic history as a painter in Mexico, a writer at San Francisco’s SOMA Magazine, a production assistant with the National Theatre of the World and a student of medieval history at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, I am delighted to reinvent myself as a member of Tom’s team.
I am drawn to works of cultural, political and art history, memoirs from unusual perspectives with a strong narrative bent, and mystery and crime fiction from the literary to the outlandishly quirky.