Former Zoland Books editor and marketing director Stephen Hull has launched a new trade publishing house, Justin, Charles & Co., in downtown Boston, just a few blocks from two of the city's oldest presses, Houghton Mifflin and Beacon Press. "All publishing is not in New York, and Boston has a history of being a great publishing center," said Hull, who has worked in publishing for the past 20 years, beginning as a college traveler for Little, Brown.
Although Justin, Charles, which takes its name from Hull's two sons, is starting small, Hull has mid-sized aspirations. "We're doing 12 books the first year," said Hull, who is relying on a combination of private funding and a line of bank credit to get out his first list of general fiction and nonfiction. "Our goal is to be a medium-sized trade publisher. We'd like to be in the 40-, 50- or 60-book-a-year range." NBN will handle distribution, starting with the first list in winter 2003.
In February, Justin, Charles will release two books, both of which have previously been published in England—Scarlett Thomas's mystery Dead Clever, and Patrick Dillon's Gin: The Much-lamented Death of Madam Geneva. "We're developing our marketing and publicity plans now. We're doing print runs in the 7,500 to 10,000 range, and we're hoping to get in on chain merchandising and indie co-op," noted Hull.
For now, Hull is content to keep Justin, Charles small. In addition to himself, there is only one other person in the Boston office, assistant editor Carmen Mitchell; editor Kim Hjelmgaard is in England. Kate Mattes, owner of Kate's Mystery Books, in Cambridge, Mass., is vetting projects and suggesting authors for the Kate's Mystery Books imprint.