Something extraordinary is happening next month, and I, for one, am positively giddy with anticipation. In these often grim days of publishers cutting back, strapping down, paring away, or closing their doors completely, a major new publisher is boldly doing the opposite. Making its debut in September is Egmont USA. It’s a brave and brilliant thing they’re doing, bucking economic trends to create a vital new publishing house in the US; but if you read about their parent company, Egmont, you’ll see that this is not by accident: They’ve been doing brave and brilliant publishing all around the world for ages. They’re only new in this country.
The US branch is steered by Douglas Pocock, who immediately brought on Elizabeth Law as publisher. Elizabeth is one of the warmest and most knowledgable people in children’s publishing (seriously; her team kicked my team’s ass in a CBC trivia game a few years back), and understands not just the history of the field but also how to publish all manner of books. She brings to the table a passionate belief in the good that a great book can do in the world, and the people she’s hired to work with her at Egmont are like her in that respect: They all share that passion and large-hearted love of kid’s books. On the editorial side there is the wonderful Regina Griffin and sharp up-and-comer Greg Ferguson (who I worked with at Harper), as well as many consulting editors who are among the best in the business (among them the awesomely talented Ruth Katcher, who edited a whole slew of bestsellers and award-winners for Harper Collins in the past few years). And driving the marketing efforts is one of my very favorite people in the industry, Mary Albi, who has a tireless genius for getting books into the right hands. (Full disclosure: She was the marketing director for my team at Harper, and it is thanks to her that many of our books hit the bestseller lists.)
I have read only one book of the fifteen on Egmont’s debut list, the superb and disturbing Candor, about the too-perfect teens in a creepy town a lot of like Celebration, Florida. (There’s a fab fake website for the town here.) But the rest of the list looks as good as that novel or better: They’ve got Walter Dean Myers, Todd Strasser, and a host of exciting rookie authors. I can’t wait to get my hands on these novels and see what Elizabeth and co. have been up to.
It’s an exciting time when a new publisher debuts, and we should all give them our attention and support. They’re doing good things.