Earlier this year, HarperCollins announced four new global offices as part of an effort to expand its worldwide publishing program. The move came in the wake of HC's acquisition of Harlequin and, for those involved, like Heleen Buth, editorial manager of HarperCollins Holland, the transition process has been about adapting to a new structure, and re-jiggering existing publishing programs.
Through HC's acquisition of Harlequin, Buth noted, 17 countries now have "Harlequin-houses-turned-into HarperCollins [houses]." Buth, who was previously at House of Books in the Netherlands and was hired this past winter to oversee HC Holland, said her division is in the process of building out its team and will expand to 90-100 titles a year. Areas of focus for the division include general fiction, women's fiction, thrillers, and YA.
Because of the purchase, HarperCollins U.S., HarperCollins UK and Harlequin Toronto have set up systems for easier gathering of information "to make sure that everyone gets the most out of the global focus and organization." In keeping with this collaborative effort, she noted, employees now "share views, ideas [and] tips. We speak and meet on a regular basis, and we keep each other alert."
In regards to titles for which HarperCollins controls world rights, each division is now being given a first look in its respective territory, and each international HC division considers these titles for local acquisition before the book is submitted to other publishers. An example of a recent title that a number of international divisions acquired is Homer Hickam's Carrying Albert Home, which was originally acquired in the U.S. and will be published by William Morrow in October. The novel, about the life-altering trip a Depression-era Virginia couple must make to return the wife’s pet alligator to its Florida home, is one that Buth said takes the reader "on such an original road trip that you don't need a summer holiday."
HarperCollins Holland, like HC's other global offices, also acquires books independently. One recent acquisition Buth made, which she's excited about, is Federico Axat's thriller The Last Way Out. The novel was represented by the Pontas Agency, and HC Holland will be publishing the title on its spring 2016 list. She found the book so compelling that she believes "even the most anti-thriller reader will be completely hooked."