Throughout the month I'm going to go through various Dzanc or Dzanc-related titles and in the case of the Dzanc published works, discuss what it was that caught at least my own eye (not wishing to speak for Steve).
The first book that Dzanc Books accepted for publication. This was back when we thought we'd publish a book (or maybe two) per year and so while there were many manuscripts we liked, we were looking for one that we loved and loved more than the others we really liked.
One thing Steve and I had done was ask the editors of about a dozen literary journals that we really thought highly of if they knew of any authors that they'd published that were having problems finding homes for a book they had completed. Aaron Burch of Hobart suggested Roy (immediately reminding Steve and me that we had just previously been disucssing the story Roy had published in Orchid).
It was pretty clear very quickly that this was what we were looking for. One of our readers burnt lunch the day she was reading the manuscript as she completely forgot she had something on the stove. What caught my own attnetion was the attention that Roy had obviously placed on not just the ideas behind the stories, but the structures he'd use for each, and the wordplay--the sentences themselves. This was a person in love with words and language and using them in an expert manner. One that was a true chameleon when it came to styles and structures--if a story was best served to be in the form of nothing but responses to assumed job interview questions, so be it. And the stories had heart; there weren't characters I didn't care about.
Truly, once we started reading the manuscript, we PLOWED through it without stopping and shared dozens of emails deciding very quickly that this was the book that we wanted to show the world what Dzanc was looking to publish. I know that the fact it was the first one has something to do with this, but it's still right there at the top of my list when anybody asks me to pick from amongst the titles we've published as my favorite. I know for a fact it's the one I've read the most times and that's not simply because it's the oldest.