Two years after HarperCollins’ Avon Books imprint launched the digital romance imprint Impulse, its William Morrow imprint announced plans for Witness, a “digital-original” mystery, suspense and thriller line. Witness will be overseen by Morrow executive editor Dan Mallory who noted that books for the line will consist of new titles, international bestsellers not previously available in the U.S. and newly digitized backlist classics.
According to Morrow, 100 titles have already been signed for Witness whose first 10 titles will be released in October. Although Witness titles will not automatically move into print, Morrow said that the HarperCollins sales group is always seeking out opportunities in print, “working with key retail accounts to execute tailored promotions in physical stores,” adding that more than 60% of Impulse titles have a print format.
Witness will feature the same royalty structure as Morrow/Avon’s other digital-first imprints: authors receive a 50% royalty once their book sells 10,000 copies (initial royalties start at 25%). They will not receive an advance. Senior v-p and publisher Liate Stehlik also announced that beginning August 1, all digital-first authors who opt for the Impulse model will receive royalty payments on a monthly basis.
Pricing will be “market responsive” HC said, ranging from 99 cents to $2.99, and HC noted that all titles will be backed by a dedicated marketing team. In addition to new titles, Witness will include digital versions of Agatha Christie’s short stories. In the fall, Witness will release all the Hercule Poirot short stories as digital singles, and then together in a single omnibus edition.
“There is no doubt that digital publishing has become an integral component in strategically growing new authors, and extending the discoverability and marketability of our existing author base,” said Stehlik. “We forecast more opportunities for everyone involved as we launch Witness and continue to expand, evolve and improve the Impulse program.”