Candlewick on Brilliance Audio is the name of the new imprint announced today by Candlewick Press and Brilliance Audio. The companies have joined forces in an innovative agreement that enables Brilliance Audio to publish and distribute audiobook editions of select Candlewick Press titles.

The inaugural list, which will ship in August, includes such titles as Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt by Megan McDonald, The Knife of Never Letting Go and the two other volumes in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, as well as Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone and On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells. (Listen to an audio sample of Almost Astronauts here.)

According to Candlewick president and publisher Karen Lotz, the idea for the imprint has a fairly long history. “We have always been very committed to audio as part of our publishing philosophy,” she said. “Over the years we made small forays ourselves, and we learned very quickly that audio is a unique marketplace, and it’s best to team with people most expert at it. Brilliance was the first company we started looking at for this.” Lotz cited Brilliance’s “commitment to publishing authors and developing their careers” as well as the audio publisher’s “attention to quality” as key reasons for wanting to pursue a partnership.

Tim Ditlow, v-p, young adult and children’s acquisitions editor for Brilliance Audio, was hoping to work with Candlewick, too. “Karen had been speaking with Brilliance before its acquisition by Amazon [in 2007],” he recalled. “And when I started here in early 2008, eager to get my list up and running, one of the first trips I made was to Boston to see Candlewick. They have a tremendous list and they have always had an artisanal approach to publishing that I've long admired.”

Developing the imprint will be a very collaborative and organic process, Ditlow said, “through all departments.” Lotz will continue to be involved and said that Jennifer Yoon, an editor at Candlewick, will serve as audio list coordinator, presenting titles to Brilliance.

Current plans are to concentrate on producing audiobook versions of early chapter books through YA titles, hardcover and paperback frontlist—including key simultaneous releases when they make sense—as well as backlist titles, both fiction and nonfiction. Ditlow said that the robust launch of Candlewick on Brilliance Audio entails bringing out a total of 30-35 titles by the end of the year; approximately half of those will be simultaneous releases. Going forward, the number of titles per list will remain fluid.

“We’re not publishing to fill a quota,” Ditlow noted, “but we’re trying to strike the right balance of titles, taking into account age level, interest and subject matter. We want to deliver the right mix to the right audience at the right time.” The exclusive elements of the new agreement increase the chances of doing just that. “You can’t beat the ability to dig in early,” he said, “and to be part of the plans for marketing, publicity, sales. That’s one of the most dynamic aspects of this. When it’s well-executed, there are so many benefits to having everything in an author’s body of work promoted under one big umbrella.” Lotz concurred. “We hope to muster synergy wherever we can to keep the print program and the audio program in sync,” she said. “We want the lists to truly support each other.”

Lotz added that the new alliance with Brilliance is an exciting one. "We're really thrilled to be paired with such a fabulous team," she said.