Little, Brown UK’s Clare Smith thinks literary fiction is obviously the next step in the e-book world. The company has created Blackfriars, a digital imprint to be launched in June.
“I think the thing for me, with doing a strategic review of fiction, one of the things that seems really clear is we’ve reached the tipping point of genre fiction,” says Smith, Blackfriars’ publishing director and associate publisher. “It’s just not obvious to me why you wouldn’t do digital-only literature.”
Blackfriars will kick off with three titles and plans to publish three or four books a season; each book will cost £3.99. One soon-to-be-released Blackfriars title was originally launched on Amazon.
Although Blackfriars will only release digital titles, the company intends to work with its authors in the same manner a traditional publisher would. In the case of Blackfriars, that will include handling the marketing and distribution of their writers’ books. As Smith puts it, “We bring all the skills we got.”
The creation of Blackfriars can do a lot to bring relevancy to digital publishing. Stigmas still exist within the digital publishing world, but with Blackfriars looking for literary fiction, the company is lending a hand to the legitimacy of digital-only.
“If you look at the general cycle, you get the early adopters and those trending into the mainstream,” Smith says. “I think for digital publishing, it probably starts with niche and defined areas. But there’s no reason that [can’t apply to] more general fiction. The same basic principle applies.”