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Fleet joins run of new imprints

16 May 2016

A notable recent trend in publishing houses is to set up imprints for favoured editors and then, in theory at least, to give the editors free rein. Mostly they're quite commercial and give the editor the chance to concentrate on acquiring and editing a small list of books which will give them a better chance of publishing a few books which do extremely well.

Some of these editors however are quite literary and the editor is renowned for their literary taste, or has a good stable of highly esteemed authors - or perhaps is seen as a very talented up-and-coming editor who needs to be given space to develop their own list.

At the recent launch of Ursula Doyle's new list, Fleet, at Little Brown UK, MD Charlie King summed it up nicely: "An imprint is a mark of quality and taste, and a platform for brilliant authors and editors, and Ursula will be buying books without any criteria except that they are books Ursula is passionate about; that's what Fleet stands for, the freedom to acquire."

A new imprint at Quercus, riverrun, was also launched earlier this month. It will be spearheaded by publisher Jon Riley and showcase Quercus's "high quality literary fiction, upmarket crime and top class, serious non-fiction".

Meanwhile, over at Orion, the launch of Trapeze is intended to capture a much more obviously commercial readership. Anna Valentine will be publisher of the new list, which will bring out 20 books a year which "identify trends, break new voices and start conversations". Spanning "all genres", the imprint will be home to celebrity autobiography, pop-culture, music, lifestyle, inspirational memoir, gift, humour and commercial fiction.

Finally, over at Headline they're also launching a new commercial imprint, unnamed as yet, to be run by Alex Clarke, formerly of Michael Joseph. The imprint's purpose is the pursuit of bestsellers by publishing a discerning collection of high quality commercial projects across both fiction and non-fiction categories, according to the publisher.

So what drives these new imprints? Well, partly it's the publisher's desire to attract or keep someone regarded as a star editor. But beyond that, the hope is that by concentrating on a small list and selecting and publishing the books well, the imprints will be very successful.