Alison Rich has been named to the newly created role of senior v-p of author development at Penguin Random House, a shift from her previous role as senior v-p of publishing development and author platforms. She will report to Nina von Moltke, president and director of strategic development at PRH US.
In her new position, Rich has been charged with working in conjunction with the company's multiple publishing groups, as well as with outside partners, on author brand development—that is, growing authors' platforms in ways that may be tangential to the business of marketing their books, including via podcasts, e-courses, and speaking engagements. In addition, she will continue to oversee PRH's Author Portal, licensing business development for all adult divisions, and the Out of Print team, the publisher's literary-themed merchandising group.
Von Moltke wrote, in a letter to staff announcing Rich's new position, that the company has already launched six author-driven podcasts and more than 25 video- and audio-based online courses in cooperation with partners including iHeart Radio, Creative Live, LinkedIn Learning, and The Great Courses. Rich will expand on that program. "In an increasingly crowded, disseminated, and online-driven content market, one of the most effective ways we can drive sales for authors is by helping them to grow their brands," von Moltke wrote. "In addition to creating incremental revenue streams for the authors, this work helps to grow awareness and engagement that feeds the audience for the books."
Newly reporting to Rich is Tiffany Tomlin, v-p and executive director of the PRH Speakers Bureau; the Bureau, von Moltke noted, "has been a foundational relationship for many of the authors with whom Alison’s team has developed podcasts and online-learning content." (Authors Rich has worked with in this vein include Dani Shapiro, Ibram X. Kendi, and more.) "With this even closer alignment," von Moltke added, "there is an opportunity to grow the Bureau’s impact as a jumping-off point for this type of deeper engagement with authors, and as a mechanism for piloting new formats and offerings."