Bookouture founder and publisher Oliver Rhodes is gearing up to take the publishing world by storm—for a second time. Building on Bookouture’s success, from independent e-book startup to 60 million in sales over 10 years, Rhodes announced that he has launched a new publishing venture titled Storm Publishing.

As a “digital-first” publisher, Storm, Rhodes said, will borrow some of the same winning business elements he started at Bookouture but with a greater focus on innovation and technology in publishing. “There are so many opportunities for publishers to use technology more ambitiously—in ways that will create better results and experiences for authors,” he explained. “Our focus at Storm is on innovation, doing things differently and better.”

To bring this focus to fruition, Rhodes has recruited a lot of familiar names from Bookouture. Kathryn Taussig, previously publishing director at Bookouture, will serve as publisher of Storm. Claire Bord, previously a publisher at Bookouture, will serve as deputy managing director, and Emily Gowers, an associate publisher at Bookouture, will join Storm as editorial director.

The team is actively accepting submissions now for its first round of titles that are expected to publish May 2023. According to Rhodes, Storm will focus on acquiring adult fiction and then branch out to other categories as the company becomes more established. “Our team all have experience in traditional publishing, and the process is similar in many ways,” said Rhodes. “We have a collaborative, rigorous editing process to help our author's work reach its full potential.”

For authors working with Storm Publishing, there will be a few key differences, Rhodes explained. In place of book advances, Storm will offer authors 50% of net royalties on audiobook and e-book sales paid quarterly—“double the industry standard,” said Rhodes. And for authors with significant digital sales, this model can "make a massive difference to their earnings,” he added.

With a focus on digital access first, timelines from acquisition to pub date are also shorter, Rhodes explained. “There's no retail sell-in required. From receiving a manuscript, it would typically be six months before a book is published. That speed of publishing can significantly improve author earnings, especially for those who write quickly,” he said. Storm will also offer print on-demand for titles.

Based in the U.K., Storm will target U.K. and U.S. markets through mainly digital advertising, said Rhodes, in addition to dipping into other international markets as language rights are acquired. The benefit of that approach, he explained, was that digital campaigns could be adjusted in real-time to reach more readers.

“That could mean changing a blurb or even a title or cover," he said. "Being adaptable is essential in improving the chances of success for our authors.”

Adaptability will also be a key component for Storm's staff, Rhodes said. Each team member will have dedicated time to devote to innovation in their role, with a flexible working schedule that fits around their personal lives.

"One hallmark of the culture that we want to develop is that team members of all levels will have the freedom to make their own decisions," said Rhodes. "We believe this decentralized model will empower staff and ensure they are spending less time in meetings and more on making a difference for our authors and striking a healthy work-life balance."

After Hachette UK acquired Bookouture as it became an industry success, Rhodes said he wants to take the best elements of Bookouture and forge a new path at Storm that will greater push how publishers can utilize data and technology to drive the audience growth and sales.

“I am incredibly proud of Bookouture's continued success—to reach 60 million sales in 10 years is an impressive record,” said Rhodes. “At Storm, I'd hope to keep the best of what Bookouture offers, but I want to build on that. We're looking to do things differently and forge our own path.”