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Sourcebooks NEXT.

Sourcebooks Next Blog

We’re at a historic point in the transformation the book.

Ebooks, reading devices, retailers and e-tailers, software and apps, and all the cool things we haven’t even imagined yet are changing the face of reading, entertainment and learning. Sourcebooks Next is our blog looking not from the perspective of pundit or prognosticator, but from the perspective of a publisher deeply engaged in the workings of the transformation. Please feel free to join us.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Anderson Cooper hosts ReaderLink DinnerEvery year ReaderLink holds their annual meeting in the Chicagoland area and invites their partners to come in for two days of sharing great information and networking. For anyone not familiar, ReaderLink is the group that, among other things, supplies books to some of your favorite retailers like Walmart, Target, the wholesale clubs, grocery chains, and more. ReaderLink also hosts an awards ceremony where it presents awards to it's publishing partners.

This year the awards dinner was hosted by author and television personsonality Anderson Cooper and during the event Sourcebooks was honored to be presented with the Rising Star Award. Publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah accepted the award and gave the following speech:

"Thank you for recognizing our company with this exciting award. All of us at Sourcebooks put an immeasurable value on our business relationship with the staff and management at ReaderLink. There is no question that ReaderLink and the retailers you serve have played a key role in the growth of Sourcebooks during our 27 year history, a simple truth that no doubt applies to every publisher in the room tonight.  We are very grateful for the opportunity and the support ReaderLink has given our titles over the years. And nowhere is that more evident than in our news tonight that with the success you’ve helped us create, This is Where it Ends, our brilliant young adult novel is today a #1 New York Times bestseller. 25 weeks on the list. Thank YOU!!! Thank you!! Thank YOU!! Each and every one of you. 

ReaderlinkRisingStarAward

Our thanks as well to the many special individuals at Readerlink that have given guidance, advice, feedback and direction to us as our publishing program has grown. John Norris and his team have been instrumental in how we have shaped our children’s publishing program. Our romance line has grown dramatically with the support and insights of Cathy Cadek. Sourcebooks YA and Adult imprints continue to see terrific growth as well and we are grateful for the support of Donna’s wonderful staff.  Our thanks as well to the critical ReaderLink teams in California, and Bentonville.    

We are well aware of the complexity and thousands of moving parts and people it takes to do what you do at ReaderLink on behalf of your retailers, your suppliers and the millions of readers they serve.  We are in awe and excited to be a part of it all with you."

Thank you to everyone at ReaderLink for your partnership, and for honoring our team with the Rising Star Award!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

TIWIEnumber1

We are beyond excited to celebrate that This Is Where It Ends, after 24 weeks on the bestseller list, is now the #1 NEW YORK TIMES young adult hardcover bestseller!

The success of This Is Where It Ends is really kind of remarkable considering that the Marieke is Dutch, English is her second language, and she’s written a story about a high school shooting in an Alabama small town.

Nijkamp’s conversation with a friend about gun safety and school violence left her with so many questions that a story began to form in the back of her mind, and the voices of characters who wanted to tell their story. As a writer, this was something she had never quite experienced before.

“At first it felt incredibly intimating, and I felt completely unequipped to talk about it," says Nijkamp. "But I started working on the book because I was feeling confused and baffled by how often these situations happen and how horrendous they are. I wanted to explore that and find a way to better understand.”

And that’s what makes This Is Where It Ends special. Marieke captures the minds of teens experiencing a horrific situation, and has created a safe space in which teens and adults can discuss this extremely difficult subject that is unfortunately so much a part of their lives now. Marieke has met with over 25 teen book clubs over the past several months. We heard from one teacher that the book went through an entire group of students in four days, and from a librarian who, after having a number of students read it, had a line outside her office the next morning – they just had to talk about the book.

This is an important moment for young adult literature. It isn't every day that a young adult with queer girl main characters tops the New York Times list. It's been an incredible journey for Marieke and her debut novel, and we look forward to seeing how many more lives this amazing book touches. Thank you to all of you who made this possible.

TIWIElistimage

And some of the happenings on Twitter:

Marieke Nijkamp   mariekeyn    Twitter

Amy Rose Capetta on Twitter   Am I wrong that THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS is the first YA w queer girl MCs to top NYT list  Feeling like  mariekeyn just made f   ing history

Marieke Nijkamp   mariekeyn    Twitter 2

 mariekeyn susanna kearsley - Twitter Search

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Innovation, Reader Analytics, Data and the Publisher's Dilemma

Yesterday, All Things Considered ran a brief piece about reader analytics. That’s a new field being developed by a lot of people, including the very smart folks at Kobo (Michael Tamblyn) and Jellybooks (Andrew Rhomberg).

What’s interesting in this conversation is the “or” nature of it. Data or editorial gut? But I think what we’re seeing evolve is when we use data as a part of our information stream…or maybe even a number of different data points to support our decision-making. Not “or” but “and.” 

As book publishers, we make thousands of decisions, and it’s always striking how relatively small decisions can have big impact. It’s hard to get a book 100% right. And that’s probably why it’s also so rare. 

For me, innovation and data are really all about connecting authors to readers; helping to expand readership and also connecting in new ways.

I tried explaining that recently in an interview.

I think we’re at the beginning of reader analytics. And it’s going to take us to some new places that will undoubtedly lead to other new conversations. What do you think?

Dominique 

P.S. If you want to learn a bit more about reader analytics, here’s a quick reading list:

1) Andrew in Digital Book World: Who’s Afraid of Reader Analytics

2) Alexandra Alter in the New York Times: Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look At How We Read

 3) Some background from Publishing Perspectives: Ebook Platforms Know What, When, and How You Read

 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Icon landmark“I think the mystery category could be an interesting space for us. Could you look into that?”

At Sourcebooks, big projects often grow out of small questions. And in this case, the small, seemingly innocuous question—“Could you look into that?”—was directed at me, a fledgling editor with the time and interest to do a deep dive into the well-established, sprawling mystery category to determine whether Sourcebooks might be able to find a foothold in the marketplace.

At other publishing houses, the thought of taking on such a large task might be intimidating. But at Sourcebooks, innovation has always been a prominent theme, especially in the fiction program. From building a new imprint from the ground up under publishing legend Hillel Black’s guidance, to the Jane Austen spinoff craze that rocked the early 2000s, to the establishment of a thriving romance program, Sourcebooks editors have been seeking out new opportunities in adult fiction for nearly two decades, and I was thrilled to have the chance to take on a similar challenge.

I started my investigation with data, analyzing the top twenty mystery imprints in the Big Five, as well as looking at the most successful independent publishers in the space. I broke the entire mystery/suspense/thriller market down into categories, and from there into subcategories. Everything from James Patterson’s gritty thrillers to Joanne Fluke’s delicious cozy mysteries went under the microscope as I worked to identify which types of books were selling well, paying special attention to where debut authors were finding success.

70% of mystery readers are women

I also wanted to understand the typical mystery reader. Who is she (yes, 70% of mystery readers are women)? Where does she buy her books? How does she feel about ebooks and libraries?  What is important to her when purchasing new books? And what does she like about reading mysteries? Data helped me understand this mostly female audience, which happily crosses over nicely with the romance and women’s fiction readers Sourcebooks is already adept at reaching.

Finally, I had to put together a plan for Sourcebooks’s entry into the mystery category. I compared the data I had to Sourcebooks’s strengths, looking for places where we could capitalize on our existing knowledge and skills to reach readers in new ways. Women-oriented mysteries were a clear opportunity for us—as a well-known romance and women’s fiction publisher, I suspected we might also find success with books featuring female sleuths that tackle issues of importance to women readers. Since we also have a strong historical fiction program, historical mysteries in the tradition of Jacqueline Winspear and Susan Elia MacNeal were an area I was eager to explore. Our well-established mass market romance program and strong presence in the library market could lend itself to development in the mass market cozy mystery space, and our passion for book club fiction and fantastic storytelling led me to wonder if we might not want to publish books in the vein of Tana French, Lori Roy, and Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.

All of this research and planning went into a 108-slide PowerPoint presentation, which I shared with our publisher and senior staff to propose the development of a mystery program at Sourcebooks. A year and a half later, we are releasing debut author Radha Vatsal’s A Front Page Affair, the first book in an exciting historical mystery series set in World War I New York City that has received outstanding trade reviews, is a Library Journal debut of the month, and represents the beginning of what I hope will be an important evolution in the Sourcebooks fiction program.

Mystery Books      

One of the very best things about being an editor at Sourcebooks is the huge number of opportunities we get to take advantage of in terms of flexibility and our publisher’s enthusiasm for innovation and willingness to let us experiment. Editors armed with nothing more than passion, a keen editorial eye, and a small question (“Could you look into that?”) have established imprints that now house some of the most beloved and respected authors in their categories. And, of course, in the end, everything we’re able to do as editors comes from the wonderful authors we work with. A frequent refrain at Sourcebooks is “We publish authors, not books,” which points to our belief that one of our jobs as a publisher is to support our authors in editorial work, marketing, publicity, and sales, in hopes that we’ll still be working together five, ten, fifteen years down the road. As we embark on this new adventure, I’m so thrilled to be welcoming our new mystery authors to the Sourcebooks family and can’t wait to see the success we’ll create together.

      Mystery books, awesome ones

Anna Michels

Editor, Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark

 

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