Cindy Spiegel and Julie Grau are starting their own publishing company, after seeing their eponymous imprint shuttered by Penguin Random House in a reorganization at the company late last year.
The new venture, under the same name of Spiegel and Grau, will, the company said in a release, be an "innovative business" with books at the center of it. The headline founders are co-CEOs, joined by an impressive roster of industry veterans. Liza Wachter, co-founder of the book-to-film agency RWSG, is president. Amy Metsch, former associate publisher and editorial director of Penguin Random House Audio, is associate publisher and editorial director. And Jacqueline Fischetti, formerly of Penguin's lecture bureau, is partner and COO.
S&G, which said its model is "designed to support authors across multiple media formats," will aim to continue the work the duo were doing at Random House...to an extent. Spiegel said that a shifting media landscape has, over the past decade, "created new ways to amplify stories across multiple formats," then adding that "the power of stories to effect change, to move us, to expand our view of the world and each other, remains constant." Grau added that what "motivates" the duo is "launching new voices and untold stories that needed to be heard."
In a joint statement about the new publisher, the pair said: "We are a team of hands-on editors and media professionals with decades of experience helping to shape, produce, and publish content. ... At a time when we need stories more than ever to elevate and transport us and to expand our sense of the possible, we bring a collaborative spirit to serving creators and their work.” S&G will publish 15 to 20 titles annually.
The company opens with a first-look deal with Amazon Studios that will give the production arm "ready access" to S&G titles. Also in place at launch is a partnership with podcast company Lemonada Media. Susanna Lea Associates will be managing the company’s foreign rights. To produce and distribute its audio titles, the company has partnered with the distributor Findaway. Metsch is overseeing the company's audio efforts. The company's titles will be distributed by Ingram's Two Rivers Distribution.
S&G's first book, Catherine Raven’s Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship, is set to be published in July 2021. Also set is a podcast that the company is co-producing with Lemonada, Believe Her, that it said is "centered on a case of domestic violence reported by journalist Justine van der Leun." The podcast is slated for a fall 2021 debut.
Investors in the venture include Ian and Nancy Ashken, Laurene Powell Job's Emerson Collective, and William R. Hearst III.
Earlier this year Molly Stern, another former high profile PRH executive, started her own publisher, Zando, which aims to release its first list next fall. Stern had been publisher of Crown and left the company after it was merged with the Random House group.