Self-publishing Jasinda Wilder in 7-figure deal with PRH's Berkley

Self-publishing Jasinda Wilder in 7-figure deal with PRH's Berkley

Jasinda Wilder is the latest of the "indie bestsellers" to achieve a major traditional publishing deal, in this case for three books. The announcement is being made this morning (6th April) by Penguin Random House's Berkley Books in New York.

In a prepared statement, Berkley vice-president and executive editor Cindy Hwang, said: "Jasinda Wilder has been one of the trailblazing authors in self-publishing.  I’m excited she is now partnering with Berkley to release an incredible new series that will thrill her many dedicated fans while also appealing to new readers."

Madame X, described as a "contemporary romance trilogy," is to have its first installment published by Berkley on 3rd November, with the second and third books to be released in early 2016. 

The seven-figure deal, as characterised by Berkley and corroborated by Wilder's agent Kristin Nelson (in the UK for London Book Fair), is not one of the print-only contracts seen in recent years for authors including Hugh Howey and Bella Andre. Instead, "the deal is for world English print and digital," Wilder tells The FutureBook in an interview over the weekend. "And we are retaining audio and foreign language rights."

"We also negotiated very hard for a publication and non-compete schedule that would allow us to continue to self-publish projects throughout the process," Wilder says, "because we’ve promised our fans certain titles this next year, and we pride ourselves on keeping our promises, and keeping our readers happy."

Her use of "we" is practical, not royal. Jasinda Wilder is actually a husband-wife team, Jack and Jasinda, based on a northern Michigan farm with five children and "a menagerie of animals." 

"We are about halfway through the first book," Jasinda says, "and, as with every other Wilder title, Jack and I are working on it as a team. Even when we try to work separately on a project, it ends up being a collaboration."

The Wilder collaboration is one of the most successful in the pantheon of indie bestsellers: With more than 40 novels and novellas on the market, the couple has sold what Nelson Literary says is more than two million ebooks. Jasinda Wilder has been featured in People, the New York Daily News, CBS This Morning, and via Sirius XM satellite radio. Falling Into You may be her best-known title in international sales, other lead titles including Alpha, Stripped, and Wounded

Has the idea of an acquisition by a major house been a goal for the couple? Or were they anticipating going right through their collaborative career in self-publishing?

"I wouldn’t say it’s been a 'goal,' per se, no," Jasinda Wilder says.

"It’s been something we’ve been open to, and curious about, but also hesitant and skeptical as well. All the feelings, to be honest. But we’ve seen some great things happen to friends and associates via being traditionally published.

"What we saw working best, however, was an original story written specifically for traditional publication, rather than an indie-pubbed piece being acquired.

"We are indies, and we are proud of it. We’ve accomplished a lot as indies, and we will continue to do so as well, but we will now go forward proud to be partnering with Berkley for this project."

While the Berkley contract certainly means print access to bookstores that self-publishing, in most cases, can't achieve, Wilder notes that she and her husband aren't strangers to print. They've used print-on-demand through Amazon, she says, with great success:

"We’ve done really well in print with [Amazon's] CreateSpace. I believe we’ve sold over 20,000 print-on-demand print copies with them. They are a wonderful, wonderful team that we love working with very much. But this is our first traditional US market contract, so it’s going to be a different experience."

Main image provided by Jack and Jasinda Wilder