New Digital Publishing Start-up, Bookouture, From Ex-Harlequin UK Marketer

CORRECTION: The initial headline of this article mistakenly said “Ex-HarperCollins Marketer” when in fact Oliver Rhodes is a former employee of Harlequin. We regret the error.

[Press Release]

Bookouture is a new digital publishing imprint launched by ex-Harlequin UK Marketing Controller Oliver Rhodes.

Specializing in entertaining women’s fiction, Bookouture will publish ebooks and print-on-demand globally; paying a 45% of net receipts royalty on eBooks. My aim with Bookouture is to focus on creating global author brands and followings – through high quality editing and particularly through smart, creative digital marketing.

We’ll be delivering bespoke digital publishing and marketing for every single one of our authors – in a way not always possible at larger publishers. That means focusing very much on the author as brand and aiming for a select number of high-quality writers who we can work with to build long-term careers.

Bookouture is now open for both agented and unagented submissions of entertaining, female-focused fiction and expects to launch its first titles before the end of 2012. Rhodes emphasizes that a distinctive voice and clear author promise are more important than a particular genre or word count.

Bespoke publishing means exactly that – we fit our publishing to an author’s story – not the other way round. We’re not pigeon-holing books or just following the latest trend – we’re about discovering talent and taking a long term view.

The most important question we’re asking of submissions is: why would a reader buy the next book?

As well as working with some of the best editors around, Bookouture is promising every author a bespoke author identity to run across their book covers, website and social media feeds. Each book will also get a bespoke digital marketing and publicity campaign.

Oliver Rhodes
Recently highlighted as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars for 2012, Oliver has worked in publishing for over twelve years – ten of them at Harlequin UK. As Marketing Controller, he was responsible for setting Harlequin’s imprint strategies; overseeing social media and digital marketing; and heading up the design team.

I’m aware of all of the benefits that traditional publishers can bring to authors – but also the limitations. My vision is for Bookouture to be the best of the exciting new generation of digital publishers. We will be establishing our reputation based on creativity that delivers – one book and one campaign at a time.

One of Rhodes’ notable achievements was initiating Mills & Boon’s online talent search – New Voices – which won The Bookseller’s Marketing Campaign of the year. Having worked on New Voices for two years, I know that the author talent is out there. With the rapid switch to digital I also believe more and more traditionally published authors will start to seriously consider digital first publishers as an option.

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