Delacorte Press hopes to further stoke internet-savvy teens’ interest in reading with a new original YA trade paperback imprint called Underlined, whose name comes from Random House Children’s Books’ online community focused on YA books and creative writing, Get Underlined. Beginning in May, the imprint will release one novel each month, in either the thriller, romance, or mystery genre. Underlined titles will have a uniform $9.99 cover price and will be published simultaneously in paperback and digital editions. Wendy Loggia, Delacorte senior executive editor, will lead the program.
The new paperback imprint will provide another opportunity for Underlined to expand the content offered and to better reach its growing online community. Launched in June 2017, the Underlined website connects readers to books, authors, and peers through video promotions, writing prompts, social media influencer partnerships, merchandise offerings, events, and more. Since its debut, the site has had consistent growth and engagement, with a current reach of more than 1.8 million consumers across newsletter subscribers, social media platforms, and website page views. The website also offers a free writing community, which currently has more than 35,000 members.
The Underlined site will have a dedicated page introducing each upcoming book, produce a video trailer for each release, and make the publishing initiative a major focus of its monthly video series on YouTube. Via social media, Underlined readers will have an opportunity to engage in Q&As, participate in giveaways, and provide feedback.
“Watching how our streaming culture has increased the expectation for fast delivery of content, we wanted to reach teens in a similar way,” said Beverly Horowitz, senior v-p and publisher of Delacorte Press. “Our new line of Underlined trade paperback originals will be published on a rapid, regular schedule, delivering highly commercial, portable, and affordable reads under the recognizable Underlined brand.”
Noting that the new imprint “has received a great response from authors who want to work with us,” Horowitz added that the paperback line will feature diversity in its roster of authors, characters, and content, and will publish “a curated list of quality, accessible romances, thrillers, and mysteries that readers can count on to appear monthly and cost less than 10 bucks.”
Horowitz also emphasized the broad swath of readers that they hope Underline’s releases will appeal to. “We expect that all YA readers will appreciate the variety that Underlined books deliver, whether they are serious readers looking for a new, affordable novel to read every month, or more casual readers who are willing to give one of our books a try given its popular genre and price point. With the program’s connection to such a vibrant website and the quality of our books, we expect the Underlined imprint to grow, especially through word of mouth and the establishment of reader trust.”
The inaugural Underlined lineup consists of The Wild by Owen Laukkanen (May), a thriller in which things go horribly awry when a teenage girl is sent to wilderness boot camp to learn life lessons; Auriane Desombre’s I Think I Love You (June), a romance about two girls who start off as rivals but, after a twist of events, end up falling for one another—they think; Escape Room by Maren Stoffels (July), a horror story in which four friends participating in an escape room adventure have reason to fear that the game master has no intention of letting them out; and Linsey Miller’s The Game (Aug.), a novel revealing what happens when a game of “Assassin” turns real and a killer begins targeting teens, one by one.