Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Sad news

Some of you may already know that my publisher, Frances Lincoln Children's Books are no longer going to be publishing Young Adult books. This decision has been taken by Quarto, the company that took over FLCB and parent company Frances Lincoln in August.
The decision to end the YA list, which only launched in 2010, has not been officially announced by Quarto, but it was widely discussed on Facebook today among writerly people, and I just saw it mentioned on Twitter. So I thought I'd better say my bit.
First, my next book Another Life will still be published as planned in September, and the new covers for When I Was Joe and Almost True will also go ahead.  Frances Lincoln will continue to sell and market my books, including Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery. I am relieved that this is the case, and happy that there will still be a dedicated sales and marketing team to work with.

I am, however, beyond sad to know that the brilliant editorial team will be broken up. Maurice Lyon, the editorial director was the person who saw the potential in When I Was Joe, when other publishers doubted the market for 'gritty realism'. Every award it has won (five), every nomination and short-listing it has achieved (a further 14) probably would not have happened without Maurice. He and I were jointly shortlisted for the Branford Boase award. When I Was Joe  earned back its advance within a year, it has sold nearly 20,000 copies. I'm not saying any of this to boast, just to show that Maurice's instincts seem to have been proved right.

Maurice and Emily are both great editors to work with, providing subtle guidance on the big stuff and keen-eyed attention to detail for the rest (not forgetting Yvonne, another member of the FL team whose eye for a misplaced comma is legendary). I'm certain that they will go on to great things at whichever publishing houses are lucky enough to employ them.
The news is devastating for many other authors who were writing books for Frances Lincoln, authors who had seen the high production values in place and were delighted to work with such a wonderful team. To mention just one, Jane McLoughlin's book At Yellow Lake is due to be published in a few weeks' time.  I read a preview copy and so did my 12-year-old son, we were both captivated by Jane's story. My son said it was the best book he'd read all year, and asked me to buy him a copy of the book when published -  this is a boy who never re-reads anything.
Britain at the moment feels like a place which is more about cuts and closures, pessimism and pratfalls, than optimism, imagination and investment. We're all learning that we can't depend on institutions- companies, government, the media -  to make good or positive decisions. But we're all in charge of our own response to bad news, and, without sounding impossibly mawkish,  mine is to face the future with a hopeful smile. And get writing. The stakes just got higher.

28 comments:

  1. That is sad - we cannot afford to lose any publishers of children's books or YA books - there is good reason to grow that area, not cut it back. Good luck!

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  2. So pleased that Another Life will be published and that they will continue to market your already published books (and especially that the Joe books will remain as a 'set') - Phew! Sorry that this great relationship has come to an end however. Let's hope Maurice can take you with him, or maybe you'll write an adult novel?

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  3. This is so sad and seems incredibly short sighted of Quarto bearing in mind what a growing and dynamic market YAF is plus the outstanding FL has been responsible for publishing over the last few years.I am delighted though that they are going to publish Another Life. Good luck for all those involved, am sure you will all find great 'homes'.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear this, and sad for you, Keren, that the publishing team behind your brilliant books is being dismantled. Presumably this means you will need a home for your new work, and I'll be interested to see which lucky publisher you choose. You're are surely in a very strong position. Still, horrible uncertainty for a lot of people. And a strange decision by Quarto!

    Good luck and best wishes. T

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  5. Thanks for mentioning AYL, Keren. So kind and thoughtful of you...but then, that's the Frances Lincoln way, isn't it? I still feel very privileged to be have had my first novel published by FLCB and will always be proud to be a Frances Lincoln writer. That's largely down to Maurice and Emily, of course, but also due to the generous spirit of the many wonderful writers they've published. Thank you.

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  6. I would have mentioned more people, but I was writing at midnight and falling asleep...sorry other FL writers!

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  7. Did you read Zannah's blog yesterday? Equally brilliant and inspiring. So much talent...

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  8. I was so sorry to hear about this, Keren. Such a sad day for you, Jane, and many other writers. And such a loss to the UK book world, too.

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  9. Thank you, Keren, for expressing it all so well.

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  10. I am so sad to hear your news Keren and how this will affect all the Y.A. authors I know who were so delighted to be an FL author. This has come as quite a shock and rocked many of us who write and publish, as well as those who work right across the industry. I have had the pleasure of meeting both Maurice and Emily and I am sure that they will find new positions very soon. They are both so talented.
    I wish you all the very best with your future books and I am sure that you and the other authors will be signed very soon as you have proved yourselves to be such worthwhile writers to have on a list.

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  11. Good luck Keren and Jane - I hope that your soon to be published books get the support they deserve and I am sure that your future books will find a good home somewhere else.
    Oh, that is sad, I'd heard hints but didn't think they were true.

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  12. I too am sad for all the wonderful FL writers and their equally wonderful editorial team. I met Maurice at Bologna in March and liked him very much. Good editors are like gold and should be treasured as such.

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  13. Thank you for putting it so well, Keren. As you know, my contract was cancelled by Quarto, so FL will no longer be publishing my book, but it is a very tragic time for the editors at FL who worked so hard to promote teen/YA fiction. Maurice's advice on my manuscript was invaluable. I wish him every success in the future. And lots of luck to you, Keren and to the rest of us.

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  14. I'm so sorry to hear this, for you Keren, and Savita and all the other writers who've had contracts cancelled. The books and quality of writing that has been produced by the FL writers and editorial team have been brilliant. I hope you all find good homes, because I want to continue reading brilliant YA fiction!

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  15. This is really sad, and unbelievable. There is a growing market for YA! I'm sure everyone will find a good home for that reason.

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  16. Thanks, Keren, for a really lovely post expressing the situation so well, to all the fabulous FL authors and other kind commenters. I know I speak for Maurice and Yvonne as well as myself when I say how enormously proud we are of the wonderful list we have built, most especially of our authors. Every single author on the list has been hand-picked for their total brilliance - their wonderful writing, great ideas, willingness to work hard, belief in what they do, energy, enthusiasm and all-round loveliness - which is why I can say with complete confidence that they will be going on to great things. Definitely names to watch!

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  17. I was shocked when I heard the news. The quality of FL's YA list has been exceptional, all kudos to Maurice and Emily. I also feel extremely sad for any authors who have had their contracts cancelled as a result of the closure. Best wishes and big hugs.

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  18. This is sad news indeed. But everyone is so wonderfully talented I'm sure you can all bounce back and find a new niche home for yourselves. Good luck to the authors and editors alike. We all look forward to hearing what you get up to next

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  19. So sorry to hear this news. It is one more avenue closed for those us who write YA fiction. From what's been said here it would be wonderful to be able to work with such a team.

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  20. Really sad news. Sorry to you all. It's a real loss.

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  21. Very disappointing news, Keren. I'm relieved to hear that FL will continue to promote and support the books on the list. I imagine many other publishers will be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all the FL talent now available for signing – both authors and editorial staff. I wish you all well in finding new homes for your skills.

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  22. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments, and huge cheers for Emily, you are a complete joy to work with (and thank goodness we found those missing policemen!)

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  23. Truly sad news, thank you for sharing this. Wishing you all the best Keren.

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  24. Just catching up with publishing news and thoroughly shocked to read this. Am so sorry Keren - seems like a crazy decision.

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  25. I had two books due out with FL and both have been cancelled. They also have already published two other of my books. Maurice and Emily were fantastic to work with and although I'm sore about my own books, I'm grateful to have had the chance to be published by FL. Thanks for the piece, Keren.

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  26. Seems a backwards step and a rather sad one....

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  27. Seems a backwards step and a rather sad one....

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