In less than six months, FastPencil Premiere has signed 20 authors, many of them bestsellers, and it announced its latest big name this week: children’s book author and illustrator Mercer Mayer, who plans to release nine books with the imprint this year.

FastPencil board member Bruce Butterfield, a former S&S exec, has known Mayer for many years and introduced the author to FastPencil Premiere, its imprint for established and "top tier" new authors. Mayer is starting off with four books in his Little Monster series, among them Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo, which was originally published in 1992 and launched the Little Monster series. Mayer will also create five new Little Critter books and will add “several brand-new exclusive character franchises” beyond the Little Critter and Little Monster series.

FastPencil Premiere will publish the books in print and e-format. As with all Premiere arrangements, Mercer will receive higher royalties than a traditional publishing model--FastPencil says they are three times that of average rates--with more frequent quarterly payments. Mercer's first book with FastPencil Premiere will be released in May.

Mercer has published more than 300 books over his career. He said, “FastPencil’s innovative, hands-on and transparent approach provides me with an exquisite service to publish my work in a timely manner so I can continue to provide families with fun stories to share with each other in whatever format they want it in.”