Sourcebooks continues to actively build its children’s list, most recently by signing with two popular tween/teen vloggers who will each write a series of illustrated middle grade novels inspired by their online personae. The series will be published in paperback and digital formats under Sourcebooks’ Young Readers imprint.
In a release, the company described these novels as “full of humor, heart, and influencer insights” as “tweens and teens join [their] favorite social media stars on [their] fan-inspired adventures.”
The first novel is by 16-year-old Mia Fizz, a British YouTube star who chronicles her shenanigans, as well as the challenges of being a 21st-century teenager. Mia’s Life: Fan Takeover released on April 6with a 25,000 print run. Fizz will release three more novels in the next two years.
In Fan Takeover, Mia’s character both wants to shake up the content on her YouTube channel and buy a birthday present for her sister. Wanting inspiration for the first task, Mia turns to her fans and tasks them with giving her suggestions every day to do one thing. According to the release, “Things get complicated when Mia’s followers challenge her to try something that’s way outside her comfort zone—and she meets a cute guy in the process.”
Hayley LeBlanc, 12, a California-based actress and singer, has just signed a three-book deal with Sourcebooks. The first novel in her series of standalone mystery novels will debut in spring 2022, followed that fall by the second and third book. In this fictionalized version of LeBlanc’s life, she is cast as a Nancy Drew-like character in a television mystery series. The fictionalized LeBlanc, however, lives a double life, solving actual crimes occurring around the TV studio.
“Hayley is a big mystery and true crime fan,” noted Eliza Swift, senior editor of children’s and YA books at Sourcebooks who is editing this series, as well as the books written by Fizz. “She really wanted to do the books as mysteries.”
Swift explained that Sourcebooks’ soliciting young vloggers to write such novels was inspired by Penguin Random House’s Spanish division. “Publishing books by influencers in Spain, a colleague there told us, was a great success. It was suggested that it would be great if someone did something similar here,” she said, disclosing that Sourcebooks intends to continue to reach out to young social media influencers on this new initiative.
Sourcebooks anticipates that the novels will reach a broad audience beyond Fizz’s two million followers on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, and LeBlanc’s 5.3 million followers on Instagram and YouTube, where she is starring in the seventh season of Chicken Girls. “We’ll of course target their fans, who will enjoy reading about their fictionalized lives,” Swift said. “But we also think these books will represent another option for reluctant readers.”