It is a long standing joke that if you think you know what a publisher is looking for, wait for Tuesday. Why? Because in one meeting everything can change. Suddenly they are looking for Texas NASCAR Romance but using an Urban Fantasy setting.
Acquisitions often reflect the editorial and marketing staff of a particular publisher. And that too is another area of change.
This past Tuesday there was a few changes announced that affected two publishers within the Christian market. The VP of editorial at David C. Cook Publishers, Alex Field, was hired by Waterbrook/Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House, to become their new VP and Publisher. Both companies are based in Colorado Springs so Alex will only have to take a different freeway exit to get to work!
In addition Penguin Random House announced that their Convergent imprint, an imprint that focuses on what are described as progressive issues within Christianity, is moving from the Springs to New York. And David Kopp, one of the last remaining people from the original Multnomah, will be moving to NY to head that imprint.
Also Stephen Cobb, the president and publishier of Waterbrook/Multnomah announced his retirement next March.
Part of the change means that Ken Peterson, the current VP of editorial at Waterbrook/Multnomah will be leaving the company at the end of the month. Ken is a long time veteran of the industry and well loved by many.
But before you get comfortable, let me list a few other editorial shifts and hirings that have happened this year:
Tim Peterson moved from Bethany House to David C. Cook where he is Associate Publisher.
Kim Bangs, Senior Acquisitions Editor, moved from Regal Books to Bethany House and Chosen Books when the Baker Publishing Group purchased Regal.
Becky Nesbit will be leaving Howard Books as their VP and Editor-in-Chief at the end of the year.
Don Pape moved from David C. Cook to become Publisher at NavPress.
Dave Zimmerman moved from IVP (InterVarsity Press) to acquisitions editor at NavPress.
Pamela Clements moved from Abingdon to Worthy Publishing as their VP and Associate Publisher of their Inspire imprint.
Dan Rich, Chief Publishing Officer at David C. Cook, announced his retirement next May. (He has been in Christian publishing for the last 40 years.)
Brian Thomasson left NavPress and after a brief turn as an agent became an acquisitions editor for Baker Publishing.
Joel Kneedler left Alive Literary Agency and joined W Publishing, an imprint of Harper Collins Christian Publishing, as Associate Publisher.
There were others editors who lost their jobs due to cut backs or to a shift in emphasis and I’d rather not list their names.
And just this past week I’ve been told of another editor moving to a new publisher, but the announcement is not yet public.
I might be missing a couple others in this recitation, I can always amend the post, but you get the idea. Things are always changing in publishing. As literary agents we keep tabs on all the comings and goings. Our agency has a live document in the cloud where we keep all the information up to date as soon as we hear it. In fact many of our agency video conference calls discuss these changes and how they impact our sales strategies to these publishers. Often one of us knows a particular editor and can bring some clarity to the conversation.
The above mentioned changes affect at least ten different publishers. I don’t think all of the changes happened on a Tuesday, but it sort of feels like it. But as with all past moves, the industry motors on… An editorial change, in my mind, does not spell doom and gloom, it spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y. Books will still be published and opportunities abound for writers who are amazing at what they do