Earlier this summer Amy Einhorn left her eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House to join Macmillan’s Flatiron Books as senior v-p and publisher. At Flatiron, Einhorn is tasked with doing what she does best: publishing literary, yet accessible and very commercial, fiction. PW spoke with the editor/publisher--who has staked her career on such bestsellers as Kathryn Stockett's The Help--about change, expectations and being the new kid in the corner office.
You spent seven years at Penguin and have a strong, proven track record. What do you foresee as the advantages/challenges in growing your brand at Flatiron Books?
In all of my other jobs in publishing, I’ve come into companies that already had established the kinds of books they did, and I had to find a way to fit my tastes into that brand and its machinery. With Flatiron it’s an opportunity to create a company from the ground-up and to help establish the kinds of books we as a company will be known for. The challenges are that we’re starting from scratch—but to me that’s also one of the exciting advantages.
When Bob Miller launched Flatiron, the imprint was focused on publishing nonfiction. With you on board, Flatiron will now be doing a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Will you be concentrating on the kind of titles you're known for--literary/commercial fiction crossovers--or will you take this opportunity to start acquiring and publishing in other genres, as well?
I think we in publishing get hung-up a bit about categorization – is a book literary, or commercial, or cross-over. What I like to do is find authors that are wonderful writers and storytellers. I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. At Flatiron I’ll continue to do what I do best, that sweet spot between literary and commercial. And I’ll be expanding that canvass so it’s a bit broader—a lot will depend upon the staff I end up hiring, but our plan right now is to publish cross-over YA (it’s always bothered me that today if we got in some of our most favorite books, such as Catcher in the Rye, we'd have to pass because that would be labeled YA), as well as some more commercial fare. The ability to work with editors who publish across a much broader spectrum is one of the things I'm most excited about.
Will the rise of the digital market and emergence of a larger number of hybrid authors affect your publishing model and acquisition plan?
Perhaps this is the creative writing major in me coming out, but I don’t tend to focus that much on trends. I’m a firm believer that we can spend a lot of time focusing on platforms and matrices, but at the end of the day it all comes down to the book. Readers are coming to books—and I don’t care how they read them, on their phone, on a tablet—for voices that speak to them, and those are the kinds of books we’re going to publish.
Finally, will you share a little about your upcoming titles at Flatiron?
Come back to me in a few months, I just started!