Amanda Ridout back with Boldwood Books launch

Amanda Ridout back with Boldwood Books launch

Amanda Ridout is to return to publishing with the launch of Boldwood Books focused on commercial fiction published globally and "energetically".

Ridout has secured funding from six private investors to launch the press, with its employees also taking a stake. Ridout, who left her role as c.e.o. of Head of Zeus (HoZ) in November 2017 and stepped down from the HoZ board last summer, will be joined by two HoZ refugees, publisher Caroline Ridding, and sales/marketing and publishing director Nia Beynon.

"Based on the principles of a true partnership with authors, and with its founding team having over 50 years success in fiction publishing, the company promises to be innovative but experienced, fearless but responsible," the company said.  

Ridout told The Bookseller that there was room in the market for an "energetic, grown-up, start-up", with the e-book and audiobook markets still developing and the physical fiction market in growth (up a fourth consecutive year in 2018, according to Nielsen). The new list will publish 20 new titles this year, and aim for 50 in 2020, she said.

"We will start-off small, but it's all very scaleable, very quickly," she said. Ridout added that the publisher would not be paying advances at launch, but instead would offer authors a "fair share" across all the formats with the "proceeds of success shared equally". The press will look to acquire World English rights as standard, publishing initially in e-book, audio and print-on-demand, and other physical editions when required.

Ridout added: "After a very long time in this industry I am so excited to be setting up a new company with a promise to myself, the team, our authors and our readers that this truly will be ‘publishing reimagined’. Partnership, nimbleness and energy will be our watchwords." Prior to joining Head of Zeus, Ridout was m.d. of Phaidon, and before that HarperCollins and Headline.

Previously publisher at HoZ's Aria imprint and before that HarperCollins' Avon list, Ridding will join the company in June, having departed from HoZ in November. She said: "Launching careers of new writers and reenergising established authors has been the hallmark of my publishing career. We look forward to welcoming writers to Boldwood where we will nurture their talent and offer them a special publishing experience alongside building an exciting and commercially successful business together."

Beynon, who was formerly head of digital publishing at HQ and before that digital sales director at HoZ, added: 'I am so thrilled to be joining the Boldwood team and to have the opportunity to be part of this innovative new publisher from day one.  I can't wait to get started and to discover and build the future global stars of commercial fiction."

The business will be open for submissions from 1st February 2019 (, with the first books expected to be published in August. The publisher is named after farmer Boldwood from Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd: his house and farm in the novel, called Little Weatherbury, was based on Ridout's grandparents' farm Druce, which is still in her family.

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