Launching a Teen Imprint

As Wendy in Editorial told you on Tuesday, we’ve just launched Albert Whitman Teen! We thought you might like to know more about how we moved from no teen books to launching an entire imprint.

So, let’s imagine that you are a small publisher in the Midwest and you’ve always been best known for your picture books and a well-known chapter book series about orphans who solve mysteries. How do you go about launching a YA imprint?

In our initial conversations, we were a concerned that our brand image wouldn’t allow for us to move up into this hard-hitting age group.

Then again, we noted, we’d always been known for tackling tough subjects at important times – and with the greatest respect for the children who would read the books. It would be no different in the teen world.

We’ve also always been known for a fun read too – those Boxcar kids again – and that is a big part of YA as well.

In other words, we’re already known for everything that the breadth and scope of YA literature represents—so full steam ahead – Albert Whitman is going teen.

So now for the books

Since we wanted the line to include all types of books for teens, we needed the first list to represent very different genres – thus the hard-hitting Guantanamo Boy and the paranormal The Poisoned House.

Getting the word out…

Since last summer, we’ve been telling all the major accounts and opinion makers in the country about the new books.

We solicited advanced quotes – known as blurbs – from other authors, librarians, booksellers and teens.

We printed a large number of ARCs for both books – many more that we normally do.

We mailed those ARCs to opinion-makers (including teens through the YALSA Galley Program) all over the country. We gave them away at conferences all Spring. And we gave them to friends in the industry as well.

We’re working with both authors on both traditional PR and social media, including Facebook pages for each book (Guantanamo Boy and The Poisoned House).

We’ve been meeting with teachers, librarians, and booksellers who work with teens around the country to discuss both our books and what’s out there now and what’s needed.

We’ve scheduled advertising in all the major trade journals and their eNewsletters.

We’re putting author Anna Perera on tour in September (New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Detroit, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia).

And we’ll be doing even more as the Summer and Fall progress. Check back here for more…

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Launching a Teen Imprint

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