Company spotlight: Under my umbrella

Company spotlight: Under my umbrella

Piatkus Constable Robinson is a name that may not roll off the tongue, but it does explain exactly what Little, Brown’s newest division consists of. PCR, as it is known, was formed in August 2014, six months after the Hachette UK publisher bought the formerly independent Constable & Robinson, home to authors including M C Beaton, Jennifer Egan, Joan Collins and Rosie Goodwin.

In charge is publisher Tim Whiting, who has form in this area. He returned to Little, Brown in 2008 after a number of years in Australia, and a year later he took over the non-fiction list at Piatkus to help integrate the publisher after it was purchased in 2007 by Little, Brown.

Now his job is to bring Piatkus, Constable and Robinson—three distinct imprints—together under one umbrella, while also maintaining their ndividuality.

“We absolutely want to keep each imprint and the identity strong,” Whiting explains. “There were a number of different reasons [for bringing the imprints together]. We are publishing a lot of books. Total output has grown. We felt that it made sense to put an umbrella over an area of our publishing.”

A breath of fresh air

The division has an acquisitions meeting every week, but each imprint also has an editorial meeting of its own, and further changes are likely to come in the future. “There probably will be more changes in terms of creating meetings and proficiencies,” says Whiting. “In the early days it’s about making sure that all the editors have the support to continue publishing great books.”

Whiting, who will continue to acquire non-fiction for Little, Brown’s Abacus list, heads a team at PCR that includes: Krystyna Green, publishing director at Constable Crime; Andreas Campomar, publishing director at Constable; Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director for Robinson; Andrew McAleer, who runs the psychologies list which is part of Robinson; and staff across Piatkus’ fiction and non-fiction publishing.

“I have huge affection and passion for the people I work with,” says Whiting. “It’s really exciting working with Constable and Robinson on their lists. They’re brilliant advocates for the role of publishing. I think they now feel very much at home and part of the team.” Part of the strategy on the crime side is to “bring up new crime” writers as well as continue the success of Constable stalwarts such as Beaton.

The imprint as a whole will build on the work of 2014. Highlights include new titles from authors Nora Roberts (who “goes from strength to strength”) and genre writers Christine Feehan and J R Ward, as well as the continued success of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. “Mindfulness has been amazing,” Whiting says. “We published in May 2011 and we are selling more copies every year. The subject is everywhere; [Mindfulness] is the first book, the best book. It is the one that everyone got as a point of entry.”

As for PCR’s strength, Whiting believes it is the variety of its publishing: “No day is the same. It is a huge diversity of output across all the lists. It is exciting on all levels, from an enjoyment point of view, from an intellectual point of view, from a commercial point of view. There’s a lot of really good work.”