Ig Publishing, which for more than a decade has maintained a list of fiction and nonfiction for adult readers and reissues for the academic market, is moving into a new direction this fall with the launch of Lizzie Skurnick Books. The imprint, explained Ig publisher Robert Lasner, will “bring back the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s, to the thrillers and social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.”
Skurnick, the author of Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading (William Morrow, 2009) and a freelance journalist who writes about publishing and culture, will handle all acquisitions and edit the books, roughly 12 to 14 titles per year. Ig, which is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., will continue to publish another 8 to 10 titles for adults per year.
Lizzie Skurnick Books launches in September with the release of Debutante Hill by Lois Duncan. The novel, which was originally published by Dodd, Mead, in 1958, has been out of print for about three decades.
The other books on the initial list, all reissues, are A Long Day in November by Ernest J. Gaines (originally published in 1971), Happy Endings Are All Alike by Sandra Scoppettone (1979), I’ll Love You When You’re More Like Me by M.E. Kerr (1977), Secret Lives by Berthe Amoss (1979), To All My Fans, With Love, From Sylvie by Ellen Conford (1982), and Me and Fat Glenda by Lila Perl (1972).
While the imprint will initially reissue out-of-print titles, Skurnick hopes to also publish new works by the authors of 1970s- and 1980s- era novels. The first original release, Isabel’s War, is scheduled for fall 2014; the novel launches a trilogy by Fat Glenda author Perl.
Lizzie Skurnick Books will be issued in trade paper and e-book formats. Initial print runs will average 2,000 to 3,000 copies, with larger print runs as needed for high-demand books.
While Lizzie Skurnick Books releases will be marketed to YA readers, Skurnick believes that women who, like herself, came of age in the ’70s and ’80s, will form the core readership. “[These books] are not for teens,” she said. “Teens’ tastes have changed. It’s for adults who want to read, re-read, and collect these books. If mothers and fathers want to share the books, great.”
Noting that many of the books of that era beloved by teen boys are still in print – such as Isaac Asimov’s novels and The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier – Skurnick pointed out that, in contrast, many of the books that were embraced by teen girls are not.
“There’s an enormous group of women who wrote such important work, but these books are so hard to get,” she said, explaining that the appeal of these books endures because authors were writing – for the first time for teenage readers – “complex stories that were both dark and comedic, with a mature consciousness” that “stayed with us.”
She described the vintage titles as a “shared shorthand” that readers of her generation have in common. “It’s always been my dream to get those books back into print,” Skurnick added. “I just didn’t think it’d be me doing it.”