Cheryl Woodruff, founder and former associate publisher of One World, Random House’s multicultural imprint, has been named president and associate publisher of SmileyBooks, the publishing co-venture between national broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Hay House Books, with a mandate to expand the venture’s publishing program. The appointment is effective immediately.
Woodruff founded One World, one of the first multicultural imprints at a major New York house, in the early 1990s—where she published such authors as Bebe Moore Campbell, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and Connie Briscoe—and left Random House in 2000. In a phone interview, Woodruff said she’s spent the last few years working as a publishing consultant.
The SmileyBooks/Hay House venture launched in 2004 with a paperback original, On Air: The Best of Tavis Smiley and a series of inspirational “empowerment cards.” But Woodruff emphasized that Smiley has grown into a powerful media presence since the venture was launched, with TV and radio shows, extensive speaking engagements and a philanthropic foundation. Smiley also has two bestselling titles—The Covenant with Black America (Third World Press) and The Covenant in Action (published by SmileyBooks in January)—that outline a plan to address African-American political and social issues.
“You could call us the house The Covenant built,” said Woodruff, adding the new SmileyBooks list will offer “the full spectrum of narrative nonfiction: books on politics, social justice and biography.” The house will launch its fall 2008 list at a press conference in New York City October 2. Smiley, who also publishes with Doubleday/Anchor, will do a new book with SmileyBooks, although Woodruff declined to name other authors on the list (invitations to the press conference noted appearances by Smiley, bestselling inspirational author Iyanla Vanzant and activist academic Cornel West).
Woodruff emphasized that Hay House ventures in multimedia—from DVD releases to online events and downloadable audio—make it a ”perfect fit” with SmileyBooks’ plans to release content on multiple platforms. She said The Covenant, which offers a 10-point platform for social action, is the best guide to the SmileyBooks list: “It addresses everything from voting to environmental justice,” Woodruff said. “It is the basic platform for our publishing program.”