Two former executives at UK independent Quercus Publishing, Iain Millar and Nick Barreto, have partnered with Michael Bhaskar, currently digital publishing director at Profile Books and sometime digital publishing savant, to create Canelo, “a new digital publisher of engaging fiction and non-fiction released as ebooks, apps and on the web. Working closely with authors, readers, developers and other partners, we will bring great stories to new audiences.”
“The founders, who have worked for Profile Books, Pan Macmillan, Hachette, Quercus and Bloomsbury, among others, want to combine the best of traditional publishing with a fresh approach,” continues Canelo’s introduction. “We want to find overlooked stories with mass appeal. Initially focusing on areas like adventures and thriller, romance and saga, and quirky biography and true life, we aim to find the most gripping narratives from across the spectrum. Canelo offers cutting-edge digital marketing, industry-leading production values and highly competitive royalty rates and license terms. We also like partnerships and want to work with brands and publishers to create innovative digital products, and to help present books in new ways. We firmly believe in the potential for digital publishing to deliver more for authors, and more for readers, and are keen to collaborate with those who share that goal.”
Millar tweeted: “our new digital venture, will be based in Southwark, starting end of Jan.” The venture appears already to be attracting quite a bit of attention. “Amazed by the number of proposals we’ve received having been public for only 6 hours or so – there’s still a real hunger to be published,” remarks one tweet on the official Canelo Twitter stream, dated January 12th, 2015.
Canelo could have added that there’s obviously a real hunger to be published as opposed to self-published, but this isn’t the time to be snarky, especially since the new firm appears to be wearing its independence on its sleeve. And reporting in The Bookseller indicates that Canelo will target 100-150 titles in its first year of operation, so there appears to be plenty of opportunity for authors to join in its rise. It’s also interesting to note that these obviously seasoned publishing professionals believe that the UK market alone can support a digital-only general publishing startup with such an ambitious production schedule. And if the earlier predictions of a new wave of publishing consolidation and M&A that accompanied the sale of Quercus to Hodder are borne out, Canelo could become an acquirer and consolidator too.