Llewellyn Worldwide’s YA imprint, Flux, which has published teen fiction for the past three years, is moving in a new direction this fall with the release of its first graphic novel: Black Is for Beginnings (Sept.). The book is a continuation of Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Blue Is for Nightmares series of four novels, the first of which launched the Flux line in 2006.
While the print run for Black Is for Beginnings, which was adapted by comic-book writer Barbara Kesel and illustrated by Janina Gorrissen, has not yet been determined, Flux acquisitions editor Brian Farrey said it will be larger than any previous Flux release (Flux’s initial print runs range from 4,000 to 15,000 copies).
There are currently 500,000 copies of the four Blue Is for Nightmares releases in print, and the first novel in the series, Blue Is for Nightmares, still sells approximately 500 copies each week.
Farrey, previously Flux’s publicist, was promoted to the editor’s position this past fall in the wake of Andrew Karre’s departure for Lerner Publishing Group. He does not consider releasing a graphic novel as a radical departure from Flux’s previous releases. “We don’t just specialize in chick lit or in fantasy,” Farrey noted about a fiction list he describes as primarily “edgy” and “realistic,” with books that deal with such hot-button issues as teen suicide and bulimia. “We cover the gamut from literary to comedic. Covering that gamut has been very successful for us. It’s a good formula.”
Farrey isn’t exaggerating about the company’s success: Flux reports a 30% increase in sales this year over last year, and its two in-house publicists have been fielding calls recently from Hollywood agents and producers looking to tap into popular teen reading trends by adapting Flux titles for television shows targeting that market.
While Farrey did not say if Flux will publish more graphic novels in the future, he stated that under his direction, Flux will continue to produce the same kinds of books it has become known for in the past three years. “I like what we’ve done so far, and where we’re going,” he said.
Farrey does, however, intend to expand into new genres “just a little bit more,” and has plans to acquire more fantasy and science fiction, or, as he describes it, “speculative fiction—grounded in the real world, but looking at it through a fantastical lens.”
There are currently 50 Flux titles in print, with 21—24 titles scheduled for release per year. The imprint’s two bestselling titles, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles and a reissue of TheFat Girl by Marilyn Sachs, have each sold approximately 15,000 copies.