Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday, September 27 Dedicated Issue: Celadon Books

Celadon Books: Macmillan Publishing's Newest Division - Launching Winter 2018

Editors' Note

Introducing Celadon Books

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness celebrates the launch of Celadon Books, the new Macmillan division headed by Jamie Raab and Deb Futter that will publish 20-24 books a year in fiction and nonfiction, beginning early next year.


Books & Authors

Celadon Books: A Publishing Dream Come True

Over the past year, Jamie Raab and Deb Futter have been able to create what they call a dream publishing home. Celadon Books, their new division at Macmillan, focuses on a small list of highly curated books with both commercial appeal and literary merit. The mission, they say, is to publish books they genuinely love and believe in, books that readers will finish and say, "That was time well spent."

For the two industry veterans, who've worked at publishing houses with large lists and where they worried about titles falling through the cracks, they now can publish books that are engaging, thought-provoking and best of their kind, and they can wholeheartedly champion those titles.

Raab, who was formerly President and Publisher of Grand Central and worked 30 years there and at its predecessor, Warner Books, is President and Publisher of Celadon Books. Futter, who was V-P and Editor-in-Chief of hardcovers for Grand Central and Publisher of Twelve, is Senior V-P and Co-Publisher at Celadon Books.

The pair have received full backing from Macmillan CEO John Sargent and Macmillan Publishers President Don Weisberg, who have said that they want to grow Macmillan by hiring talented people like Raab and Futter. As Weisberg put it: "I had long admired Jamie and Deb from up close and afar and was excited to have the opportunity to work with them, which aligned with Macmillan's vision for expanding."

The pair say in response: "The support they've given us, and the freedom to turn our publishing dream into reality, have been invigorating. We're having fun and we are determined to repay the faith the Macmillan team has put into Celadon by publishing some wonderful books very successfully."

In the year since founding Celadon Books, they've put together a striking program. They've signed some 40 titles, are publishing 20-24 books a year, both fiction and nonfiction, and will launch the first list early next year. (See a listing below.)

A Special Note to Booksellers and Librarians

Both Raab and Futter note that their "childhoods were steeped in use of their public libraries" and that Futter's mother was a librarian for 50 years. Both grew up taking out a stack of books each week. They say, "We want both booksellers and librarians to know that we believe the best way to get a feel for our list is to read our books, and we're happy to send you early copies. We also appreciate, and listen carefully to feedback, so would love to hear back from booksellers and librarians."

Celadon Books: Alex Michaelides, author of The Silent Patient, on writing the perfect thriller

Celadon Books's Dream Team

The Celadon Books team (from left to right): Ryan Doherty, Heather Graham, Anne Twomey, Cecily Van Buren-Freedman, Randi Kramer, Clay Smith, Alexis Neuville. (Missing from photo: Christine Mykityshyn)

Jamie Raab and Deb Futter have hired a strong staff, which is "marketing-heavy" to ensure that each book is published aggressively and creatively.

The team includes Celadon Books's first hire, Executive Editor Ryan Doherty, who had worked at Random House Publishing Group as an editor and then as a V-P at SONY, where he discovered books to turn into films. Raab and Futter comment: "His wonderful taste coupled with his unique knowledge of the business prompted us to lure him back into book publishing."

The next hire was Randi Kramer, who had been Don Weisberg's assistant but was eager to move into editorial. "She's been an invaluable member of our team, and kept us afloat during the chaotic first months," Raab and Futter say.

The latest editorial addition is Cecily Van Buren-Freedman, a recent graduate of the Columbia Publishing program who works as Ryan Doherty's editorial assistant.

On the marketing side, from the beginning the founders wanted to hire "a first-rate marketing department" that reflected their belief that "with the rapid change in the way books can be marketed, our marketing hires needed to have deep knowledge of our business but, most importantly, the ability to break out of the same old, same old patterns of promoting books." That led them to hire Rachel Chou, whom they call "the perfect marketing grand master." (More on her approach to marketing below.) Before joining Celadon Books, she was General Manager of Open Road Integrated Media and earlier was V-P, Online Product Development at HarperCollins and Director of Enterprise Website Services at Scholastic. "She has worked on all types of fiction and nonfiction and has been recognized as a thought leader in digital and traditional marketing," they add.

Chou's team includes Director of Publicity Christine Mykityshyn, who was most recently Publicity Manager at Random House Publishing Group; Director of Content Heather Graham, who was most recently V-P, Digital Operations at the Daily Gazette and previously was an editor at iVillage; and Marketing and Publicity Assistant Alexis Neuville, who was hired within days of graduating from the honors program at Pace.

In addition, Raab and Futter hired Anne Twomey, with whom they'd worked at Grand Central, as Creative Director. Already Twomey has created a distinct "Celadon look" and begun directing the creation of covers that, the founders say, are "knockouts and promise to become as iconic as her past award-winning designs have been."


Nonfiction With Strong Storytelling; Compelling, Original Ideas

Jamie Raab

For co-founder Jamie Raab, the key qualities the division is looking for in nonfiction are similar to those they want in fiction: strong storytelling and compelling, original ideas from both established authors and new talent. There are no hard and fast rules about subject matter: Celadon Books is interested in works of narrative nonfiction, memoir, history, politics, biography, investigative journalism and science

This has led Celadon Books to buy an eclectic mix of nonfiction titles, from memoirs to "big think" books, from humor to books by outstanding journalists. Thus, for example, it's signed up This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite, which as Raab says, "takes on the last 'ism' "--ageism--as well as Why Don't You Write My Eulogy So I Can Correct It?, "a wonderful book of humor" by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast.

For now, Celadon Books is avoiding practical nonfiction such as self-help, cookbooks, diet, as well as celebrity books. But there is flexibility. "If a well-known personality is writing his/her own book that is infused with a strong point of view and emotional impact, we'd be interested," Raab explains.

Raab has a special interest in "big think" books; as someone who "came to book publishing from the world of magazines," she has, she says, "always been interested in figuring out what is happening in the zeitgeist before it actually takes root." As a result, she's edited books by such original thinkers as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Michael Moore, Amy Sedaris, Admiral William McRaven, and Jane Goodall, among others. And as a publisher, she proudly oversaw the publication of books by Ted Kennedy, Al Franken, Eric Schmidt and Henry Paulson, among others. She would like to continue that tradition and make Celadon Books a publishing home to thought leaders in history, politics, current events and culture.

As much as she is drawn to nonfiction, Raab emphasizes that she also has "a deep love of fiction." She has edited and/or published Nicholas Sparks, Nelson DeMille, Anne Rivers Siddons, Sandra Brown, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and David Baldacci, among others. She's also proud of having launched the careers of new novelists and seeing first novels like Billie Letts's Where the Heart Is and Lalita Tademy's Cane River be selected by Oprah's book club.

Celadon Books: Chip Cheek, author of Cape May, on publishing the story that obsessed him

Fiction That Spotlights the Singular

Deb Futter

Celadon Books co-founder Deb Futter is looking for titles that are "singular," she says, titles that "stand out and stand above in some way." And two of the books on Celadon Books's inaugural list are perfect examples of this. Both are "unique and fresh," she continues, and they're both coincidentally debut novels. The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides "may be the single best thriller we have ever read," Futter says. And Cape May by Chip Cheek is "a look at marriage and sex and the loss of innocence in a way we have never before read about.

She notes, too, that she's worked on "every kind of book imaginable" but has mostly focused on fiction "in the sweet spot between literary and commercial." Some of her acquisitions are more literary and some a bit more commercial, she says, "but I have been mining fiction for over 35 years and bring every bit of that experience to Celadon."

In her distinguished career, she's published many successful first novels, including White Palace by Glenn Savan, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood and Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz. At the same time, she has also acquired second and third books from authors that then broke out. Among these are A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton, Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Besides fiction, "I also love memoir," Futter says, noting that she has published many memoirs in the past, including She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney and Slow Motion: A True Story by Dani Shapiro. In addition, she has worked on books by Carol King, Ellen Degeneres, Scott Turow, Steve Martin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Susan Cheever and Peggy Orenstein. "If a book engages me, I feel it will engage others," she says. She's signed up several memoirs for Celadon Books.


Marketing to Widen the Reader Net

Rachel Chou

Celadon Books Associate Publisher Rachel Chou has 25 years of experience in the book business, primarily in the areas of consumer insights, content marketing, customer acquisition, advertising, and merchandising. Before joining Celadon Books, she was General Manager of Open Road Integrated Media and before that was V-P, Online Product Development at HarperCollins and Director of Enterprise Website Services at Scholastic. Already she has made Celadon Books stand out online and in social media. Here she answers a few questions about those efforts:

Celadon Books already has a strong online presence via your website, social media channels and e-newsletters. What are the key elements of your approach?

Drawing on my experience at Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Open Road, I've come to understand that title marketing has the ability to reach fans of the author, genre, or avid readers, but more than that, it is increasingly essential to find ways to widen the net to engage all readers which will ensure a stronger marketing program. With this in mind, Celadon has hired a Director of Content as part of the marketing team and is publishing original marketing content around books, culture, and lifestyle through our channels such as our website, newsletter and social.

One only has to look at the breadth of content we have developed on our website to get an immediate sense of our direction.

What are the most effective ways of reaching potential readers?

Facebook and Google advertising still top the list of ways to target and reach readers but working with advertising networks, Live Intent, Goodreads, NetGalley and niche websites allows us to craft customized campaigns that leverage the original content we are creating.

What has the reaction of consumers been?

Our first title, The Silent Patient, is just hitting consumers in our first giveaways and advertising. So far, the reaction is highly positive. The cover for the book is incredible and the feedback on platforms such as Goodreads and Twitter #thesilentpatient has exceeded our expectations. In terms of our web content and newsletter, it's super early days.

Do you have a "profile" of the kind of readers you think Celadon Books titles will appeal to?

As Jamie and Deb have said, our titles are those that we believe have commercial potential and literary merit. And because of this broad approach, we are looking to reach readers who want smart, entertaining, and fulfilling experiences. Our motto is "Celadon Books... Time Well Spent."

Please describe your work at Open Road and how that has informed what you're doing at Celadon Books.

It's hard to believe that when we started Open Road, Facebook advertising was in its infancy, we were the only book publisher to beta test Twitter ads, and Otis Chandler was in our office talking about his start up called Goodreads. Needless to say, a lot occurred in my eight years as CMO and GM. In particular, the last two years of my time were spent crafting our consumer marketing and content strategy. My team launched Early Bird Books and The Lineup as a way to create direct marketing channels and grow the top of the funnel to reach both avid readers via Early Bird and fans of true crime, horror and paranormal via The Lineup. Our experiments with everything from live streaming Ann, the haunted doll (the New York Times said it was "marketing genius") to hand picking excerpts from relevant books and framing them from an editorial perspective taught me the value in off the page content and entertainment as a means to market a product.

You have some intriguing coverage of indie bookselling and libraries on your website, including the TBR q&a's with booksellers and librarians as well as bookstore profiles. How often do you plan to run them? What kind of reception have they gotten?

We really value the partnerships we have with booksellers and librarians. Without them on the ground showing their enthusiasm for our titles, we would not be able to create the buzz with readers. We love showcasing the amazing stores, sellers and librarians to a larger audience and so far have not had a shortage of bookstores and libraries to showcase. Ideally we will get to a weekly feature.

Do you have any special outreach to or programs for indie bookstores and libraries?

Working with our indie and library sales teams we have identified booksellers and librarians who love particular genres. We send unusually early manuscripts to those folks to give us blurbs and feedback and then showcase them in our future ARC printings. And as mentioned above, we are highlighting stores and librarians on our content channels. We are also participating in everything from the Indies Introduce program (Chip Cheek's Cape May was just announced as an ABA Indie's Introduce pick for W/S19) to our own custom bookstore and library campaigns for titles. Our first title, The Silent Patient, will have an upcoming Breaking News campaign designed to be mailed directly to those two markets to create a conversation and buzz leading up to Indie Next and Library Reads (two incredible programs for titles to be recognized.) In addition we participate in the monthly #ewgc Twitter streams to be sure our librarian friends know about our upcoming titles and give us early thoughts on the list.

What other plans do you have for Celadon Books marketing and publicity that may not have been implemented yet?

We are in the earliest days of Celadon and very focused on coming up with innovative ways to grow readership for our books. We plan to implement an early reader review program, continue to build our newsletter program and, over time, create sublists for genres we are publishing more heavily into. We also look forward to forging partnerships with sites and content providers to share our content and grow our audience. The Celadon team will continue to work closely with our colleagues at Macmillan to share best practices and take advantage of the company's wealth of knowledge. We are always eager to exchange ideas and thoughts with others. Overall, we feel the more we can know about our readers, the better chance we will have to connect them with books that are... time well spent.

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Celadon Books's Debut Titles

The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides ($26.99, 9781250301697, February 5, 2019). Alicia Berenson is a famous painter married to a successful fashion photographer, with whom she shares a big house in a wealthy London neighborhood. Alicia's dreamy life ends when she shoots her husband five times in the face and falls forever silent. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who works with mute Alicia in a North London forensic unit. By treating his silent patient, Theo hopes to uncover why Alicia killed her husband. The Silent Patient is Alex Michealides's debut novel. He has also written the films The Devil You Know (2013) and The Brits Are Coming (2018). Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek father and English mother.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite ($26.99, 9781250311481, March 5, 2019). Gray is the new black, according to anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite. In This Chair Rocks, Applewhite walks readers through myths about and prejudices against aging, and where these misconceptions come from. Applewhite's ideal world embraces wrinkles and balding instead of spending billions of dollars a year to mask natural processes. Her work has appeared in Harper's, Playboy and on her blog, also called This Chair Rocks.

Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions by Patricia Marx, illustrated by Roz Chast ($20, 9781250301963, April 2, 2019). New Yorker writer Patricia Marx has never been able to forget her mother's witty one-liners. Now Marx's maternal wisdom is available in book form with illustrations by beloved New Yorker staff cartoonist Roz Chast. Revel in enlightened phrases like: "If you feel guilty about throwing away leftovers, put them in the back of your refrigerator for five days and then throw them out." Or, "If you run out of food at your dinner party, the world will end." Why Don't You Write My Eulogy will be out in time for Mother's Day.

Wolfpack by Abby Wambach ($20, 9781250217707, April 16, 2019). Earlier this year, Olympic gold medalist and FIFA world cup champion Abby Wambach gave a commencement speech to Barnard College that went viral. Wambach's message for the women of Barnard was this: "We have never been Little Red Riding Hood. We are the wolves." Wolfpack, as with Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, expands a hopeful commencement message into a book about empowering women. Wolfpack, as its name suggests, advocates teamwork among women to succeed in what is often a dog-eat-dog world. Wambach is also the author of Forward: A Memoir.

Cape May: A Novel by Chip Cheek ($26.99, 9781250297150, April 30, 2019). In late September 1957, young newlyweds arrive in Cape May, N.J. Georgians Henry and Effie are surprised to find their honeymoon destination deserted. The couple are about to end the trip early when they encounter a wealthy playboy, his lover and his half-sister. Henry and Effie join this beguiling band on a romp around empty Cape May, complete with love, betrayal and a lot of gin. Chip Cheek's stories have appeared in the Harvard Review, among other journals and anthologies. This is his first novel and was selected as an Indies Introduce title.

Summer 2019 List

William & Harry: The Windsor Brothers by Danny Danziger ($26.99, 9781250307705, May 7, 2019). Historically speaking, brothers in the English royal family have had testy relationships: Richard II murdered Henry IV, King John paid to have his brother Richard the Lionheart imprisoned, and Prince Charles is cold toward younger brothers Andrew and Edward--all of which is why William and Harry's warm relationship is so striking. In William & Harry, Sunday Times columnist Danny Danziger chronicles how these sons of Princess Diana have formed a fraternal bond for the ages.

Folded Wisdom: Notes from Dad on Life, Love, and Growing Up by Joanna Guest ($20, 9781250207791, May 7, 2019). Every day for 15 years, Joanna Guest's father, an artist by training, sat down at the kitchen table with paper and markers to make colorful, hand-written notes. Each morning as she was growing up, Guest and her brother got a unique snippet of advice, guidance and fatherly love. Now more than 3,000 of these notes are collected in Folded Wisdom in their original illustrated glory. From simple word games for little kids to tracts on adolescent troubles, Joanna Guest's dad has advice for us all.

We Love Anderson Cooper: Short Stories by R.L. Maizes ($25, 9781250304070, July 23, 2019). Who doesn't love Anderson Cooper? This strikingly-titled book is the debut short story collection of fiction writer and essayist R.L. Maizes. We Love Anderson Cooper looks at characters made outcasts by their sexual orientation, race, religion or other identity. In one story, a young man seeks attention by coming out of the closet at his own bar mitzvah. In another story, a shunned painter learns to make living tattoos. Maizes's writing has appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review and the New York Times, among other outlets.

The Whisper Man by Alex North ($26.99, 9781250317995, August 20, 2019). Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake need a new start. After the death of Tom's wife, Jake's mother, he moves them to the town of Featherbank. But this haven has a haunted past. Twenty years ago, serial killer Frank Carter abducted five people by whispering into their windows at night. When a young boy vanishes with all the hallmarks of the original Whisper Man, residents and police of Featherbank are forced to contend with another killer on the loose.

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson ($26.99, 9781250204431, June 25, 2019). A 19-year-old girl stands accused of killing an older man. But how did Stella, a teenager from a well-regarded family, even know this shady businessman 15 years her senior? A Nearly Normal Family is a psychological thriller told through three perspectives: Stella's father, a pastor, Stella herself and Stella's mother, a criminal defense attorney. M.T. Edvardsson is a writer and teacher who lives in Sweden. A Nearly Normal Family is his debut novel.

Celadon Books: Enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 10 Celadon zippered tote bags!

Celadon Books: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Celadon Books: This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite

Celadon Books: Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast

Celadon Books: Cape May by Chip Cheek

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