In what turned out to be an auspicious coincidence, the contracts of powerHouse editors Deb Futter and Jamie Raab, with between them 70-plus years of publishing experience, expired in 2016. That year they surprised the industry when they announced separately that they were each leaving their positions at Grand Central Publishing to push the reset button. The New York Times reported that both women had grown weary of the bureaucratic headaches that come with managing a large publishing operation, and wanted to focus more on acquiring and editing books. Not long after, they announced they were reuniting to launch a new imprint at Macmillan, Celadon Books.
Raab, president and publisher, and Futter, senior v-p and copublisher, quickly added Ryan Doherty as editor and Rachel Chou as associate publisher, and the team was off to the races. The imprint appears at the Macmillan booth for the first time this year; the official launch is January 2019.
The imprint will remain small—deliberately so—publishing only around 24 titles a year. The point, says Raab, is to be able to “concentrate on marketing and innovation in a way that you really don’t have time for when there is a big list. We will have that luxury to do the full court press, and we are really excited about that. We’ve nurtured a lot of good talent over the years, and we hope to do it in a more focused way.”
“Also, we want to have fun,” Futter adds. “When you have fun, you tend to do a good job. We were pleased to see that in Macmillan’s mission statement, one of the key points is to have fun. And we are really working as a team in the most collegial way. After so many years in so many corporate places, it’s a nice change.”
So far, Raab says, they’ve had an excellent reception from agents. “We already have built trust with them. They know if they give us a project, we will see it over the finish line with great care and love.”
Futter and Raab aim to focus on their “sweet spot,” which, they say, is the intersection between literary and commercial, fiction and nonfiction. “We’re broad readers, and we want to publish books we want to read. If you look at our inaugural list, it really speaks to our mission and what we intend to do,” says Futter.
But don’t just take their word for it; take a peek at what they’ll be buzzing about at the booth.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Jan. 2019). In this novel, Theo Faber is a determined psychotherapist obsessed with finding out why Alicia Berenson shot her husband five times in the face and then never uttered another word.
This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite (Mar. 2019) is a provocative manifesto against ageism, which offers a new way of looking beyond age bias and a compelling argument to join forces against it.
Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? by Patricia Marx and Roz Chast (Apr. 2019) is a collection of witty one-line pieces of advice that New Yorker writer Patricia Marx heard from her mother, accompanied by full-color illustrations by New Yorker staff cartoonist Roz Chast.
Cape May by Chip Cheek (Apr. 2019). In this sexy and mesmerizing first novel, a young couple on their honeymoon in 1957 are corrupted by glamorous neighbors.