Pan Macmillan’s previously announced digital imprint devoted to backlist titles which they suggested would debut at Frankfurt has been renamed Macmillan Bello (supposedly for “hidden talent discovered and admired”) and acquired a marquee partner: Curtis Brown UK. The program will launch in November with 120 ebooks drawn exclusively from the agency’s backlist, with a further 400 titles to follow later next year. The launch list includes novels from Gerald Durrell, Vita Sackville-West; Francis Durbridge, D J Taylor, and Eva Ibbotson.
“At Curtis Brown UK we have been researching the best ways to revive our authors’ out-of-print books, and were hugely impressed with Macmillan’s plans, their ambition, vision and commitment to neglected writers,” said head of book contracts and agent for literary estates Anna Davis in the release. “We’ve greatly enjoyed partnering with them on the launch of Macmillan Bello, and are excited about the future and making available great writers from yesteryear.” Macmillan digital director Sara Lloyd added: “We have had such a lot of fun working with Curtis Brown UK to get the business underway and are looking forward to working with them further to grow the list and the business in the coming months.” When the venture was first announced, Lloyd told us “we are offering enhanced terms for books… — these deals are on the basis of a new style partnership and not on a traditional ‘acquisition’ basis.”
In other announcements, Faber & Faber has hired rock musician and Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker as an editor-at-large, which will enable him to acquire a small number of books and expand the publisher’s music book list beginning in January. Faber releases Cocker’s first book MOTHER, BROTHER, LOVER next week. “I am proud, and more than a little excited, to be asked to work with Faber in an editorial capacity,” Cocker said in a release. “It is my dearest hope that we will produce some fantastic books together. It’s all happening.”
“Jarvis felt like a natural fit with the Faber sensibility, both as author and editor, and I’m sure the small list of books he will develop will represent his eccentric and yet popular touch,” added Faber publishing director Lee Brackstone, who along with editorial director Hannah Griffiths will work with Cocker on acquisitions. “We now have an excellent portfolio of authors from the pop world and our intention is to develop these relationships and continue to build a reputation as the home for exciting and original writing on music.”
Ebury Publishing division Virgin Books is reviving its W H Allen imprint in fall 2012 after a 20-year-hiatus. (Virgin bought the WH Allen name and backlist in the 1980s.) The imprint, which will be overseen by Virgin editorial director Ed Faulkner, will publish six popular history, politics, science and current affairs titles a year starting with Al Gore’s DRIVERS OF GLOBAL CHANGE.
HarperCollins community for unpublished authors Authonomy is launching a new digital imprint starting in January with THE QUALITIES OF WOOD by Mary Vensel White. The imprint, led by The Friday Project head Scott Pack, plans to publish 12 titles annually, including print editions for books that sell particularly well.
Crime writer and literary agent Allan Guthrie and digital media entrepreneur Kyle Macrae are launching Blasted Heath, a digital publishing company devoted to crime fiction, on November 1 with five titles, with plans to publish 30 books per year annually in ebook formats. In addition the launch titles will be available as a physical product for the gift market that offers readers a branded USB stick in a presentation pack.
Blasted Heath website