Harmony Books, which has been all but dormant on the acquisitions front for over two years, since the launch of Crown Archetype, is now the focus of what spokesperson David Drake calls “an effort to revitalize the Harmony brand.” The imprint has been given dedicated editorial staff again and aims to expand its list starting in spring 2013 to include health, diet, relationships, and self-improvement titles with a mission of “guiding readers to become their best selves, both inside and out.”
Former Crown executive editor Heather Jackson is re-joining the company as consulting editor-at-large for Harmony, responsible for identifying emerging and established author brands and acquiring and editing major new book projects. Leah Miller has been hired as an editor (she was previously an editor at Free Press), and Sydny Miner has “migrated” over to executive editor for Harmony (after acquiring in the past for Archetype and Three Rivers Press). Publisher Tina Constable calls it a “newly refined and complementary editorial focus for our Harmony Books and Crown Archetype imprints.”
Archetype will now focus exclusively on works in the celebrity, pop culture, entertainment, humor, and sports categories. Some already-acquired properties will be shuffled as part of the realignment, with new books from Jillian Michaels, Dr. Pierre Dukan, Dr. Daniel Amen, Suzanne Somers, Haylie Pomroy, author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, and Rick Hanson all moved over to the Harmony list. As Drake says, “a number of authors who are really going to be the bread and butter of the Harmony list were published under the Archetype” imprint previously. They joining longstanding Harmony stalwarts such as Deepak Chopra.
Maria Modugno will join Random House Children’s on November 26 as editorial director, Picture Books, for the Random House and Golden Books group. Previously she was vp, editorial director at Harper Children’s.
James Attlee has joined the University of Chicago Press as UK editor-at-large. Previously he was sales and rights director at Tate Publishing.
INscribe Digital has signed distribution deals with History Publishing Company, Ace Academics, Life Changing Books, and the University of Massachusetts Press.
The NYT writes basically the same article that has appeared recently in the WSJ and the Washington Post: Amazon Publishing’s start-up New York imprint is having trouble selling books through physical bookstores. Their focus is on Tim Ferriss‘s THE 4-HOUR CHEF, which is a little hard to judge since the book won’t be released for another two weeks. Ferriss, who complained to the Journal in mid-October is now more sanguine. Previously, he said: “I’ve always given Barnes & Noble preferential treatment and priority in my national-scale marketing and promotion, which has driven massive traffic to retail stores and BN.com, where my audience also buys other books. If Barnes & Noble’s goal is to increase market share and market cap, it’s a very strange time to turn on one of your best friends.” Now he tells the Times, “By signing with Amazon, I expected this type of blowback. I’ve been girding my loins.”
The Times passes along the illusory meme that Amazon Publishing is changing its focus: “Its editors, led by a longtime publishing operative, Laurence Kirshbaum, seem to have backed off, at least for the time being, from buying prominent books.” As agents and editors know, the unit is still bidding for prominent books when offered the opportunity, often quite aggressively–they just haven’t been winning many of those properties, as agents and authors see for themselves the relatively low presence the Amazon titles garner in physical retailers.