Tyndale House Publishers had two separate nonfiction divisions for nearly 15 years before combining them on Sept. 6 into one team now called Tyndale Momentum. Executive publisher Jan Long Harris will lead Momentum, reporting to Ron Beers, senior v-p and group publisher of Tyndale Books, which includes Tyndale Momentum, Tyndale Fiction, and Tyndale Kids.
“With more intense competition in the marketplace and with two high-functioning teams with different strengths, we decided we could have one very high-powered team,” said Beers in an interview with PW.
Tyndale’s initial decision to have two groups was based on a desire to “spread the net wide,” according to Beers, and help younger team members develop and move into leadership positions faster.
“But over time, the net has been spread as wide as it can be,” he said. “The teams were going after the same kinds of proposals and competing more often, as well as competing for in-house resources such as design and sales.”
According to Jeff Johnson, Tyndale’s president and COO, there was no financial motivation for the change and no staff was cut, though they considered potential retirements of long-term executives in the next five years. “It was really a timing issue,” said Johnson. “Now is the time to combine and have the opportunity to grow people on both teams.”
He and Beers hope for increased sales as the teams come together. “Sales was thrilled with the merger,” said Beers. “This creates one set of priorities for them instead of two competing divisions. We can put all of our marketing and co-op resources behind those books.”
Beers also said that change should be seamless for current authors. “If anything, they’ll see more resources directed toward them,” he said. The company sent notifications to authors and agents last weekend and press releases to the trade on Monday.
As part of the restructure, Sarah Atkinson has been promoted from acquisitions director to associate publisher of nonfiction, Carol Traver will continue work in acquisitions while also taking on a new role as senior developmental editor for Tyndale Momentum, and Karen Watson has been promoted from associate publisher, fiction, to publisher of Tyndale Fiction. Linda Howard has been promoted from acquisitions director, children and youth, to associate publisher, Tyndale Kids.
Tyndale’s publishing partnerships with Focus on the Family and NavPress will not be impacted by the restructure. Doug Knox will continue to lead Tyndale Bibles, Tyndale Alliances, and Tyndale Gift and Specialty.