When former Atria Publishing Group head Judith Curr was named president and publisher of HarperOne on April 2, she was also named to those roles for HC’s Amistad and Rayo units. While at Atria, Curr had overseen the publisher’s successful Atria Español unit, and she is now planning to remake Rayo, one of the country’s oldest Spanish-language imprints, as part of an overall effort to increase HC’s presence in the Spanish-language market.
Started in 2000, Rayo has had its ups and downs. In 2004, it set out to publish 75 titles annually, but when sales failed to meet expectations and the Great Recession hit in 2008, Rayo ended its frontlist program and focused on selling backlist as part of HarperCollins Español. Curr values Rayo for its deep backlist and sees that as an asset that she can build on.
Although Curr has only been at HC for little over a month, she expects to build a new staff for the Spanish-language publishing unit, starting with editors and then adding marketing and publicity personnel. “I have a real feeling the [Spanish-language] market is growing,” Curr says. She adds that a vibrant U.S. Spanish-language operation will fit well with HC’s global publishing program, noting that books that sell well in Latin America may also work in the U.S.