Atria Joins with UTA for Keywords Press Imprint, Publishing "Digital Influencers"

Atria Publishing Group has paired with United Talent Agency a launch an imprint "specifically created to publish digital influencers" -- and YouTube stars in particular -- called Keywords Press.

The line aims to publish 6 to 10 titles a year, and it promises "new business, creative development and marketing models designed in recognition and celebration of the unique relationship between digital stars" and their fans.

In the last month, we've also published deal reports for YouTube comic Toby Turner (with Katherine Tegen Books) and YouTube teen start Paige McKenzie (with Weinstein Books). The NYT points out with caution that "although video stars have shown that they can direct their fans to TV, print is an entirely different medium. Early efforts have largely been disappointing." The paper says that "most Keywords books will be crowdsourced" with the authors "involv[ing] their followers in storytelling decisions from the earliest stages.

Perhaps the most radical aspect of the imprint is that it's the first time a publisher and a talent agency have worked together on an imprint. The head of UTA's digital division Brent Weinstein says, "There wasn't a publishing apparatus out there that could really take advantage of the unique nature of online stars and their relationship with fans. So we decided to go out and create one." While the first authors are UTA clients, the line will not limit itself the agency's list.

Atria's Judith Curr says in the release: "We believe that this generation of digital stars, who are unprecedented in how they’ve built their brands and relate to their audiences, gives us an opportunity to rethink the traditional publishing model. We are excited for our new authors to work directly with their fans to determine what stories they want told, and we anticipate publishing works ranging from serious to comedic, fiction to non-fiction, practical advice to personal memoir."