HarperCollins Christian Publishing and HarperCollins Focus announced leaders of a newly created sales team which will put a focus on independent retail channels. LaTasha Estelle and Shawn LeBar will jointly lead management of HCCP and HCF’s Christian-based independent retail accounts and general market, otherwise known as ABA (American Booksellers Association) bookstores.

The decision follows a positive market response for HarperCollins Focus, according to Dan Van Gorp, senior v-p of sales for HCCP and HCF.

“We must be able to accommodate the needs of our retail channels in unique ways, ensuring that we are tailoring how we communicate and present titles,” Van Gorp said in a statement. “The consumer experience at a Christian indie bookstore is very different from a general market indie.”

Estelle, who has been with HarperCollins Publishers for over 20 years in sales, has been promoted to sales director for ABA indies and libraries for HCCP and HCF. In her new role, Estelle will oversee sales and marketing efforts for the ABA Indie and library channel.

LeBar, who has sales experience that includes most recently at Christian Art Gifts, will join HCCP and HCF on January 24 as sales director, CBA Indies. Estelle and LeBar “will work alongside one another to ensure that our independent retailers remain critical in our community and to all of bookselling,” Van Gorp added.