Given the tough economic climate, Candlewick Press in Somerville, Mass., has begun to diversify its revenue stream, according to president Karen Lotz. “We’ve been very fortunate to be driven by big, big bestsellers,” she says. “But it’s important to have a base. We’re trying to maneuver now for all the areas [of the children’s market]. It’s a new model of working that we’re thinking about.” Lotz does not intend to increase the number of Candlewick-originated books, saying, “If anything, we’ll pull back a bit.”
As part of that model, Lotz announced the first of several new partnerships. Starting in spring ’09, Candlewick will launch its first book imprint in conjunction with British publisher Templar. The two houses have worked together for the past six years on a number of projects, most notably Candlewick’s bestselling Ologies series. No details have been released on the number of titles or which books will fall under the Templar imprint; however, the Ologies books will stay as Candlewick titles.
At the same time, Candlewick is looking to extend its global reach for its home-grown books. For the first time, it will offer titles passed on by parent company Walker Books to other U.K. publishers. Lotz refers to it as a “reciprocal,” since it’s a strategy that Walker employs on this side of the pond: it has continued to sell some of its titles to other U.S. publishers even after Candlewick was founded.
To bolster these initiatives, Candlewick is restructuring its sales and marketing operations so that all four of its internal sales and marketing groups report to one person, creating a new position, still to be filled, for a senior v-p of sales and marketing. As part of the changeover, Susan Batcheller has been promoted to executive director, marketing services and sales operations. At the same time Charlie Schroder, v-p of marketing and development, is leaving that position to focus exclusively on rights, including digital rights. Schroder will be working on a contract basis out of New York City. She had been working out of Candlewick’s New York and Massachusetts offices since the start of the year.
In response to changes in the production department at Walker Books and in an attempt to increase margins on its home-grown list, Candlewick is also shaking up its production staff, says Lotz. Former sales and marketing services director Kim Lanza has been named to the position of executive director of production and manufacturing; Allison D’Andrea to director of production and manufacturing; and Sally Bratcher to executive managing editor. Although two positions were eliminated, Candlewick has hired a new promotions designer, Lisa Garbutt.
Despite the changes, the head count at Candlewick will remain the same, Lotz notes. Currently there are just under 100 staffers, including 22 in sales and marketing.