Rick Riordan has gotten a variation on the same question from his fans about a zillion times: When are you going to write about (fill in the blank): the Hindu gods and goddesses? Ancient Chinese mythology? Native American legends?
Now, he has an answer – of sorts: Disney-Hyperion is launching Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint devoted to mythology-based books for middle grade readers. The imprint, which will be led by Riordan’s editor, Stephanie Owens Lurie, hopes to launch with two books in summer 2018. The books will not be written by Riordan, whose role will be closer to curator than author.
“Rick just can’t write fast enough to satisfy his fans,” said Lurie, whose official title will be editorial director of the imprint. “I think he’s doing an incredible job writing two books a year already.”
There’s also this: ”I know he feels that, in some instances, the books his readers are asking for him to write are really someone else’s story to tell,” Lurie said.
Accordingly, the mission of Rick Riordan Presents will be to “find, nurture, and promote the best storytellers for middle grade readers,” with the focus on diverse, mythology-based fiction by new, emerging, and under-represented authors.
“I am excited to bring this new imprint to the Disney Book Group with its spectacular track record of success,” Riordan said in a statement. (Riordan’s publicist said he was writing on deadline and not available for an interview.) “I can’t wait to get started on this new endeavor, finding and promoting other authors who write engaging middle grade fiction, supporting them in exploring the many fascinating mythologies of the world, and helping to broaden the spectrum of representation in publishing.”
Lurie said Disney had approached Riordan long ago about creating his own imprint, but he was “too busy to even consider it at the time.” Later, he reported back that “he had been toying with the idea,” and was willing to go forward with a publishing line that was not a brand extension for his own work but a platform for Riordan to bring other great writers to the attention of his vast and loyal audience.
The plan is to launch the imprint in July 2018 with two books, though those books have not yet been acquired yet. “We’ve approached a couple of people but some of them are adult writers so they would be trying to do something completely different,” Lurie said. “The point of making this announcement now is to get the word out about what we’re looking for.”
In accordance with Disney corporate policy, all submissions are to be made through literary agents and sent to Lurie’s attention. Riordan will review proposals and manuscripts, and he will provide editorial notes and endorsements for acquired projects. He will also promote the books and authors via his extensive social media reach and his in-person appearances.
Riordan goes on the road again on October 4, when he begins promoting The Hammer of Thor, the second book in his series about Magnus Chase and the Norse gods. The nine-day tour will take him from Alabama to Alaska, where odds are good that someone will ask him: “Do you have any plans to write about Inuit mythology?”