Little, Brown & Co has a new imprint called Mulholland Books. They're going to specilaize in any form of suspese/detective literature and its sub genres. They're brand spanking new. Take a look at'em here.
But what we need is a major publishing house to set up a new imprint geared to finding NEW talent with DIFFERENT VOICES and STYLES. A repackagining of known and commerically viable set of authors helps no one but the publisher's bank account.
Who's to say they won't in the future? If they get a big head of steam up with the launch of the first books then they will become one to watch. With 24 books a year being published there's hopefully plenty of room for new authors. And besides, there are authors such as Daniel Woodrell who deserve to be far better known.
With the current economic situation, we all have to acknowledge publishers have to be pragmatic. Income from authors like James Patterson helps the publisher pay advances and take risks on unknowns. If someone comes out with a new line and a list of total unknowns, it's hard to generate interest from the reading public, who don't know who those people are. Mulholland is getting talked about on reading lists already, like 4MA, so they're on the right path. Readers have noticed and are excited. If Mulholland matches the expectations with a level of quality, then when the do bring on some lesser-knowns or unknowns, there's a greater likelihood that readers will try those authors.
Publishing is a business, and you do have to take the long-term view with it. Publishers like New Pulp Press are focusing on different voices and styles, so you can't say the opportunities aren't out there... but not every new imprint or publisher can be about being different or new writers.
I don't buy that argument. It's up to the publisher to make sure readers know about their new talent. Otherwise, why sign people up and raise their hopes? And I doubt very much that any reader would buy a book by an unknown author just because they've read and liked another book from the same publisher. I usually don't look at the imprint. I look at the author's name, and maybe a few blurbs.
But it costs a lot of money to promote someone who's new, whereas someone who's established can sell off their name. You have to have money in the bank to get that rolling.
I completely disagree about the value of the imprint. You need only look at Hard Case Crime to know that people WILL buy a branded imprint that's demonstrated quality, as opposed to buying for the author. I know people who subscribe to HCC and just get the next book in the mail - they essentially pre-order whatever's signed through their membership. So that's proof people don't always buy based on the author name, but also can consider the imprint.
Just because I buy books one way doesn't mean it's true of everyone, and how you buy your books doesn't hold true for everyone either. As publishers are struggling to get ahead of the changes in the industry and remain viable, they have to reconsider their approach to marketing. That's what I see Mulholland Books doing.
And, like them or loathe them, ready to read the first offerings or ready to dismiss them as a celebrity publisher (biggest load of crap I've read in ages) nobody can deny Mulholland has already made a name for itself. People are talking about them, in multiple venues. And that's without a single book on the shelves yet.
Let me make it clear that I have nothing against Mulholland. More power to them. My statement was really a general comment on current publishing practices. Too many books are being published without the least intention of promoting them.
If they (or anybody) had come out and said the opening lineup was going to be books by the Edgar nominated Brian Evenson, Steve Finbow, Frank Turner Hollon, Jay Russell, Joe Meno, Theo Gangi, Jack O'Connell plus the acclaimed international writers Chris Womersley and Kenzo Kitakata (all real crime writers by the way) people would have met the announcement with a collective "huh".
While I agree with you, Sandra, that publishing is a business and publishers rely on the big names to fill their coffers, nevertheless the counter-point to your observation is this; publishing houses who make no effort to find, sustain, and groom new writers bascially are only treading water and living in the past.
Yes, a few new writers come out from the big publishing houses. Ocassionally. But I doubt there is a writer in here who would say that the biggies take the time or effort to groom and sustain a new author and establish a name for the new voice. Its kinda like one-shot-and-you're-done. If the first book doesn't blow the windows out of a book store in demand, then it's just too bad.
I can't remember which publisher it was offhand... one of the biggies in the UK decided not to resign one of their biggest authors. I'm pretty sure it was James Patterson. Instead, they took the money and invested it in newer authors they wanted to groom. That does happen, but I have to admit I am always leery when people seem to think new, unproven authors should be getting the red carpet rolled out for them.
Consider the big push book of the summer, Still Missing. Debut novel. Author didn't have a clue about genre when writing it. And it remains to be seen if they can match that with a second follow-up that's worthy of the price tag. Throwing six figures at new authors before their first book even hits the shelves is risky. When the book tanks, people are only too quick to point to the ridiculous, unfounded business decisions publishers are making.
But here's St. Martin's - who has a notorious reputation conveyed through loud whispers shared between authors at conventions, via emails and on discussion boards for doing minimal promotion for the majority of their authors (I'm sourcing my comment because, having never been part of the St. Martin's stable, I have no experience with them other than as a reviewer) - sending this woman out on a pre-publication book tour. The money invested in this one book is considerable, and it's still a gamble.
Only time and sales figures will show whether or not the investment was justified, and if it doesn't meet sales expectations, it'll be considered idiocy. If it does, it'll be genius. We can only validate or invalidate investment after the fact, so publishers take a roll of the dice.
(And if you want my take on the book you can read it here.