Jon Yaged, who took over as president of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group at the start of 2011, has rounded out his management team, appointing Angus Killick v-p and associate publisher, a newly created position. Killick is currently associate publisher and director of marketing of Kingfisher, a division of Pan Macmillan, an affiliated company of MCPG. Yaged said Killick will begin making the transition to MCPG November 14.
In his new role, Killick will coordinate publishing programs across of all MCPG imprints, and lead the division’s marketing team. In addition, Killick will look for business development opportunities.
Yaged said he is particularly excited about Killick using his experience in social media to build new communities of readers at MCPG, especially around what Yaged sees as MCPG’s strongest-ever young adult list. The list kicks off on January 3 with Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, and the launch will feature a heavy social media component. “We want to take what we learn from that, make it great, and apply it everywhere,” Yaged said.
Aggressive launches for new YA titles are one of three priorities for MCPG in 2012. A second is extending, and building, the reach of house authors and existing brands. Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty franchise, for example, “is ready to explode,” Yaged said. Bad Kitty Christmas, released in September, has already sold 134,000 copies, helped in large part by strong special sales; Yaged expects the title to be a holiday bestseller.
The third major initiative for MCPG next year is to expand its presence in the digital market. Many of the group’s novels already appear as e-books (all new titles are released simultaneously in print and e-book formats), and the Priddy Books imprint has done well on the Nook. Still, Yaged said, while digital sales are growing they remain a small portion of overall sales. Next year, however, will see MCGP’s first serious push into the app market. “The key in the digital market is to extend the experience of the story,” Yaged said. “You can’t just replicate the book.” First new apps from the group are likely to involve Priddy titles, he added.
Yaged said sales for the group are up 20% over 2010, with special sales bolstering results, and he is optimistic with his new team in place that more growth is ahead for 2012.