In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Macmillan today announced its first acquisition for Swoon Reads, a crowdsourced teen romance imprint and online community. The novel, A Little Something Different, is written by debut novelist Sandy Hall and will be released in both paperback and e-book formats on August 26. Pan Macmillan UK and Pan Macmillan Australia will publish the book simultaneously.
Launched in September 2013, the Swoon Reads community includes readers and writers from across the world who submit, read, and comment on manuscripts submitted for publication under the Swoon Reads imprint. The community’s members are involved in every step of the publishing process, beginning with the initial discovery of the manuscript, and give input on cover design and marketing and publicity plans. The Swoon Reads Board, made up of staffers from various departments within Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, also weigh in on the acquisition process.
Jon Yaged, president of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, said in a statement, “Swoon Reads is a whole new approach to publishing. We are working with readers to select the books we publish and then involving the readers in the publishing experience. The growth and engagement of the community is fabulous, and the excitement is growing as we announce our first list.” The next two manuscripts selected for publication will be announced March 2014 and April 2014.
Hall, a teen librarian from Hawthorne, N.J., posted A Little Something Different to the Swoon Reads site last November. Within weeks, the romance, which centers on two college students, received the top Swoon Reads rating (Five Hearts) from the online community. Jean Feiwel, senior v-p and publisher of Swoon Reads, and the other members of the Swoon Reads Board agreed with the community members’ assessment and, after one e-mail and two phone calls with the publisher, Hall signed a deal with Macmillan for for world rights to her novel.
Feiwel was immediately impressed by A Little Something Different. “The novel is sweet and funny – it’s a love story told from 14 different viewpoints,” she said. “That’s what really stood out to us here and to the Swoon Reads community.” Of the initial success of the new imprint, Feiwel commented, “What started as a glimmer of an idea took form as a dedicated team here at Macmillan took the concept of a crowdsourced publishing Web site to heart. Now we have in Swoon Reads something exciting, fun, and yes, a little different.”
Hall, who will attend BEA and RT Booklovers Convention in May and will tour to promote A Little Something Different at pub date, was understandably thrilled to learn that her novel will be Swoon Reads’ inaugural release. “Everything in the past week has been wonderful and surreal,” she said. “Having a novel published is a dream come true, and I will do my best to represent Swoon Reads and the community.”