Independent publishing house Steerforth Press, in New Hampshire, plans an aggressive entry into the graphic novel market this summer when it launches Campfire, a new graphic novel imprint that will release 70 graphic novel titles between July of this year and the end of 2011. Based in India, Campfire, a publisher producing graphic novels in English for distribution in India, uses a staff of English and American expatriate editors and a staff of veteran comics artists to produce English-language comics adaptations of classic literature and adventure stories.
Steerforth publisher Chip Fleischer said that Campfire has been looking for an opportunity to get its titles into the U.S. and Canada. Steerforth will team with its distributor, Random House Publisher Services, to release 16 titles from July through December of this year and 25 more in the first half of 2011. By the end of 2011, the house will have more than 70 titles in print. Campfire titles range from about 70 to 88 pages and are all priced at $9.99.
Campfire's graphic novel line comprises adaptations of classic literature like Treasure Island, Moby Dick, and Call of the Wild, as well as classic adventure stories like Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Lost Continent. The line also includes biography and mythology, as well as some works of original fiction with more to come. Fleischer emphasized that while Campfire remains an independent company, Steerforth and Random House will oversee the sales, marketing, and distribution of its titles in North America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Fleischer discovered the Campfire line at last year's BookExpo America; he gave a couple of titles to his own kids and they “gobbled them up. My younger son liked me to read them to him.” Fleischer said the production and printing in India has helped keep both costs and the retail price of the books low. He also emphasized that Campfire was “open to changes,” and all the books have been Americanized with new spellings as well as some new content and cover art—some child characters on the covers were turned into teens because “we want tweens to feel the books are cool, not childish.”
Campfire has used social media and online marketing in India to promote the titles and has gone back to press on several books. Fleischer said he's working with Random House's library marketing department to do the same—use social networking media to reach “librarians, teachers, mommy bloggers, and comics bloggers to drive demand and get kids interested in the books. We want to get a viral thing going.”