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Posts Tagged ‘Don Weisberg’

John Green: ‘Penguin has emerged as the most effective publishing house in YA’

Novelist John Green called Penguin “the most effective publishing house in YA” in a thoughtful essay about the success of his novel, The Fault in Our Stars.

According to the author, the YA novel has nearly one million copies in print, eclipsing his previous books. Green cited six reason for the book’s bestseller status, including: “My entire backlist is with the same publishing house” and “Elyse Marshall is my publicist.” Penguin just happens to the best right now. Check it out:

Power shifts quickly in publishing, but there’s little question that under the leadership of Don Weisberg, Felicia Frazier, and Jennifer Loja, Penguin has emerged as the most effective publishing house in YA. I also think Penguin has the best sales team, and it helps that I’ve known most of those people personally for eight years. Penguin has always been very good at facilitating relationships and collaborations between authors and employees.

(Link via Pamela Paul)

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Eric Carle To Publish New Picture Book About Friendship

Beloved children’s author Eric Carle has a new book called Friends coming this Fall. Penguin Young Readers Group’s Philomel imprint will publish the picture book about “the love that binds people and the obstacles they will overcome in order to be together.”

Penguin Young Readers Group president Don Weisberg and Philomel publisher Michael Green negotiated the deal. Philomel plans to print 300,000 copies for the first U.S. printing. Carle explained the book in the release:

Friends dates back to 1952, when I was a 22 year greenhorn who arrived in New York City from Germany, speaking poor English and carrying a cardboard suitcase and a portfolio of my graphic designs. It was my good luck to meet Leo Lionni, then the Art Director of Fortune magazine, who became my mentor. Upon his recommendation I got my first job in the new world as a graphic designer with The New York Times. After that a loose and infrequent friendship with Leo developed that lasted until his death in 1999. Friends started out as a tribute to Leo Lionni, but the story somehow swerved into the story of another friendship, that of two small children. All friendships are somehow connected.

Tammara Webber Lands Two Book Deal After Self-Published Bestseller

After months at the top of our Self-Published Bestsellers List and selling more than 150,000 e-book copies, Tammara Webber has landed a book deal with Penguin’s Berkley Books and Penguin Young Readers Group divisions for her novel, Easy.

Jane Dystel of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management negotiated the two book deal with Penguin Young Readers Group president Don Weisberg. On October 9, Penguin Group start publishing the digital version of Easy, and Berkley will release a trade paperback edition on November 6th.

Here’s more from the release: “Easy follows two characters on the cusp of adulthood and reflects a growing trend in publishing that media outlets and readers have dubbed “new adult.” In new adult novels, the characters are often in their late teens or college age and are facing the coming-of-age issues that accompany the move from teen to adult life. In Easy, 19-year-old Jacqueline grapples with both the aftermath of a sexual assault and the excitement of a new love interest.” (Author photo via)

Harlan Coben Will Write YA Series

cobenphoto.pngBestselling author Harlan Coben inked a three-book deal for a young adult series with the Penguin Young Readers Group, telling the story of a teenager investigating “a conspiracy that may reach deep into his family history.”

In a metafictional twist, the novelist’s first young adult series will feature appearances by two different characters from adult books by Coben (pictured, via Frank Ward)–Myron Bolitar and Win Lockwood. The three book deal was negotiated by Lisa Erbach Vance of the Aaron Priest Literary Agency. The first book will be published in 2011. Coben’s publishing footprint is already immense with 19 books and 47 million books in print around the world.

Young Readers president Don Weisberg had this comment: “I have been a fan of Harlan Coben’s since his first Myron Bolitar novel Deal Breaker was published in 1995. He is a master at creating complex, layered, fast-paced capers and we know teens are going to love his new series.”

Read GalleyCat Reviews’ take on Coben’s latest novel here.

Jennifer Besser to Helm Putnam

p2323.jpgToday Penguin Young Readers Group named Jennifer Besser as vice president and publisher of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. Besser comes to the company after serving as executive editor at Disney Book Group.

She will start on April 12th. Over the course of her career, Besser has edited many titles, including: Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan, the Blue Blood novels by Melissa de la Cruz, and Heist Society by Ally Carter.

Penguin Young Readers Group president Don Weisberg had this statement: “I am delighted to welcome Ms. Besser to the Putnam Books for Young Readers family. She is respected in the industry for her strong editorial vision and keen understanding of what attracts today’s young readers. She has the rare ability to find books that balance literary merit and commercial appeal, a quality that make her the ideal person to helm Putnam.”

Nancy Paulsen to Helm Her Own Imprint at Penguin

p2323.jpgPenguin Young Readers Group has tapped Nancy Paulsen, the publisher at G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, to head her own brand-new imprint–Nancy Paulsen Books.

Her first books will arrive in 2011, and the imprint will publish 12-15 picture books, middle grade and young adult novels every year. Putnam Books for Young Readers is searching for her replacement now, but she will serve until the change. Over the course of her career, she has edited authors like Jacqueline Woodson (“After Tupac and D Foster”), Adele Griffin (“Where I Want to Be”), and Joan Bauer (“Hope Was Here”).

Penguin Young Readers Group president Don Weisberg had this statement: “Paulsen has edited many of today’s most beloved authors and illustrators. Her keen eye for new talent and incomparable editorial vision have helped develop the careers of some of today’s rising stars. Nancy has spent her entire career at Penguin, and as I look over the Penguin Young Readers Group catalog, it could not be what it is today without her.”

Random House Revolving Door Widens Editorial and Marketing/Distribution Dichotomy

Last week’s post about Daniel Menaker‘s exit and the larger implications for Random House served as unwitting inspiration for Sara Nelson‘s column in this week’s issue of Publishers Weekly. After recapping what she terms (and I concur is) a “stunning” number of job switcheroos at Random House, Nelson wonders if all the gossip and chatter misses the overall point: that none of the departing RH executives, going back to Don Weisberg, the COO of RH North America who left in February, were replaced with external hires:

That…suggests that Random is indeed shifting focus, but not necessarily in fiction. At worst, the piling on of new jobs to longtime staffers with already full plates is a form of downsizing; at best, it might be that Random, like most publishers, will soon move its emphasis from the acquiring/editing side of the business to the less sexy but increasingly important distribution and marketing side. Editors and authors will always matter-somebody, after all, has to create all that “content” that will be disseminated in forms perhaps not yet invented—but the focus these days is more on selling direct, on digital “product” and on POD.

Nelson’s larger point is a good one, but I suspect that emphasis already began quite a number of years ago, and not just at Random House. Most of those at the executive level – and by that I mean Publisher, CEO or something in between – tend to come up from the marketing, distribution and publicity sides, and yet if a new imprint is formed, it’s usually named after its founding editor (most recent examples: Spiegel & Grau at Doubleday/Broadway; Amy Einhorn Books at Putnam. At least Twelve, Jonathan Karp‘s imprint at Grand Central Publishing, was never going to be named after him.) Eponymous editorial imprints seem to follow a common trajectory: a big announcement spurring a flurry of news, commentary and speculation; an 18 month or so gestation marked by sprees of acquiring not out of place at 5th Avenue department stores; and after a few years – best personified by the fate of Rob Weisbach‘s imprint at William Morrow in the late 1990s – a near-permanent place in the loss-leading category for the publisher. Never mind the irony that the most successful eponymous imprint, ReganBooks, is no more, shuttered in favor of the more anonymous (and temporary) “HC” logo.

So if, as Nelson concludes, publishing houses’ energies are moving even more strongly towards the “less sexy” side of publishing, perhaps it may make sense to question the wisdom of imprints named after editors – especially when in the end – with the exception of one Ms. Judith Regan – they are just as anonymous to readers as are the marketing & distribution people. In other words (and keeping the elemental theme going) maybe it’s not a question of air or water but earth and fire.

Weisberg Departs from Random House

PW Daily reported yesterday that Don Weisberg, who has headed the large Random House sales group since Random’s acquisition by Bertelsmann in 1998, will leave the company February 28. Weisberg, who is executive vp and COO of North America, also oversees Random House of Canada. All of his duties will be assumed by Edward Volini, Random’s deputy chairman.

n his memo to employees, Random chairman Peter Olson said that he and Weisberg “have been discussing his desire to consider and to pursue new professional challenges….I have tried hard to change his mind over the past few months but ultimately respected his wishes to move on.” While Olson was aware of Weisberg’s plans, the news of Weisberg’s departure came as a surprise to Random’s employees, including the sales force. Olson’s decision to not replace Weisberg with someone with a sales background is also a surprise. Weisberg developed strong credibility with accounts, and Olson called him “a pragmatic and customer-oriented leader and thinker… who ran the sales group with an open mind and great heart.”

The news might also be an extra surprise in the wake of recent sales force firings, anywhere from a few individuals to more than 3 dozen, and may make one wonder what, if any, further plans Random House has with regards to gutting modifying its sales force…