Simon & Schuster rolls out a new imprint designed to “offer authors an expanded suite of profile-building, ancillary services that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional publishing,” according to a statement released today.
The imprint, called North Star Way, will focus on wellness and self-improvement nonfiction, delivered in a variety of multimedia formats in addition to print and ebooks, from apps and podcasts to online video.
Headed up by VP and Publisher Michele Martin, North Star Way will initially launch with four titles. Adam Rothberg, SVP of Corporate Communications at Simon & Schuster, explains that “the focus is to do a lot of things with a smaller group of authors and titles,” as opposed to publishing in high volumes.
The move shows Simon & Schuster doubling down on forms of multimedia that books now compete with in an increasingly mobile-driven landscape. Earlier this month, Simon & Schuster announced a series of paid online video courses called SimonSays, featuring tutorials led by some of the publisher’s best-known authors. The new imprint appears to take that approach one step further, positioning such multimedia as a regular part of authors’ content offerings, not just marketing material surrounding their books.
By launching North Star Way (of which the SimonSays program Rothberg confirms is “a major element”) Simon & Schuster also seems intent on sweetening the deal for authors confronted by a growing array of services available outside the traditional publishing model. The publisher characterizes its new imprint as offering a more “client-centric approach.”
For the past two years, author and social scientist Dana Beth Weinberg has argued that authors’ growing ability to develop an audience and publish their work independently poses a material threat to publishers, particularly when it comes to retaining well-established, business savvy authors who excel at building their own platforms.
In both the 2014 and 2015 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Surveys, many authors expressed dissatisfaction with the traditional publishing model, and in the aftermath of the Amazon-Hachette dispute last year, publishers still find themselves challenged to define their value in the publishing ecosystem to many authors and readers who don’t readily perceive it.
To help understand why, Weinberg proposed a new framework for looking at the economics of those relationships in the report based on this year’s findings.
Rothberg confirms that contracts for North Star Way authors will account for the “new services and activities being offered, along with the traditional book publishing language about advances, royalties, rights, territories, etc.” but declined to offer specifics.
As CEO Carolyn Reidy put it in today’s statement, “North Star Way is a new business model for publishing that consolidates and expands upon many of the services and capabilities that Simon & Schuster has been developing over the last few years.”
INTRODUCING NORTH STAR WAY: A NEW PLATFORM-BASED, CLIENT-CENTRIC APPROACH TO PUBLISHING FROM SIMON & SCHUSTER
NEW YORK, January 29—Simon & Schuster is pleased to announce North Star Way, a new publishing unit that will offer authors an expanded suite of profile-building, ancillary services that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional publishing.
North Star Way will partner with its authors to develop strategies that amplify and increase their reach, providing a singular source for creating and managing the many diverse elements that will grow their careers and maximize their sales in multiple mediums. In addition to book publishing, the many different services offered by North Star Way will include:
- Online courses and subscriptions
- Seminars, workshops and panel discussions
- Mobile applications
- Original videos and audio books
- Sponsorships and business partnerships
North Star Way, which will be led by Vice President and Publisher Michele Martin, will have an editorial focus on nonfiction in the fields of self-improvement and inspiration, mind-body-spirit, motivation, wellness and business inspiration and leadership. “With North Star Way, we are looking for client-authors—entrepreneurs, experts, inspirational figures, sometimes even well before they have written a book—with whom we can partner to build an audience and generate revenue, whether it be from publishing or other sources,” said Martin. “Our name reflects our mission for both readers and authors: to publish books that will help readers find the path to a better life, and to be a guide for our authors, not only through the publication of their books but also in the many other activities that can help their message find the widest possible audience.
“For authors today a successful career can often mean full-time engagement in extra-to-publishing activities, and with North Star we aim to help our authors identify outlets for their message, to continually grow their profile and their overall business,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster. “North Star Way is a new business model for publishing that consolidates and expands upon many of the services and capabilities that Simon & Schuster has been developing over the last few years.”
Titles already acquired by North Star Way include On Fire by John O’Leary, an inspirational work by the survivor of a near fatal childhood accident in which he was burned over 98% of his body and his long journey to recovery (Spring 2016), and two books by teenage entrepreneur and motivational speaker Maya Penn (Summer 2016).
Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com