Ebury to sharpen non-fiction focus as Gillian Green departs

Ebury to sharpen non-fiction focus as Gillian Green departs

Ebury is to sharpen its focus on non-fiction with the Del Rey imprint moving to Cornerstone, and Ebury fiction publishing director Gillian Green departing after 12 years as the dedicated fiction list on Ebury Press is wound down.

Del Rey is the science fiction and fantasy imprint which currently sits with Ebury but which will now move across to Cornerstone. The move is part of a global PRH growth plan for science fiction and fantasy publishing, the publisher said. At Cornerstone, the imprint will partner closely with Del Rey in the US to acquire and publish more international brand authors.

At the same time Ebury has decided to focus on non-fiction, moving away from extensive commercial fiction publishing. As a result of this, Green will be leaving the company in spring 2020 to pursue new opportunities. However the division will still selectively publish some fiction, primarily with authors like Caitlin Moran who range across fiction and non-fiction.

Ebury m.d. Joel Rickett said: “This decision is about future strategy and growth, and comes from a position of strength – with Ebury’s total TCM sales up by 18% by value this year. It is no reflection on all we have achieved with the fiction list, which has had a standout year including The Librarian of Auschwitz, the 290,000-copy global bestseller which Gillian Green has so expertly published. But Ebury’s history and overall success has always been primarily driven by our non-fiction. This move will make Ebury even more distinct, as with our reorganisation into hubs – Entertainment, Smart, Self and Lifestyle – we aim to become the UK’s natural home of non-fiction.

"Meanwhile the fiction market requires a scale of investment and team size that other publishers within PRH are better placed to deliver. Focusing primarily on non-fiction, in all its diversity, will enable all our resources and energy to flow into areas where we have the experience and scale to grow even faster.”

Ebury publisher Andrew Goodfellow said of Green’s departure: “We are very sad and sorry that Gillian will be leaving us. We will miss her as both a wonderful colleague and a truly inspiring publisher. She has continually adapted with commercial savvy, creating successes across genres and trends: crime, erotica, women’s fiction, saga, crossover science fiction and fantasy, and historical fiction. She has built authors into bestselling repeat brands, from Andy Weir to John Marrs, Katherine Arden to Maggie Hope.”

Green said: “I am immensely proud of all we have achieved at Ebury Fiction over the last 12 years. Building two hugely successful and diverse fiction lists from scratch within a non-fiction powerhouse like Ebury has been an incredibly rewarding challenge. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be able to publish genre defining fiction like Andy Weir’s The Martian and Sunday Times bestsellers including Rowan Coleman, Robert Dinsdale and the inspirational The Librarian of Auschwitz. 2019 will be our best ever year for fiction at Ebury, with TCM sales up 48% by value, and while I’m sorry that this particular chapter is coming to an end with the division’s renewed focus on non-fiction, it’s the beginning of a new story for me. I’m looking forward to embracing the challenges of what happens next.”

The announcement follows a year of transformation for Ebury with Joel Rickett taking on the top job as m.d. in January, after Jake Lingwood stepped down from his role as deputy m.d. and publisher after 20 years. Hodder’s Drummond Moir was then named as deputy publisher as two new narrative non-fiction hubs were announced, one for "smart" books and the other for entertainment publishing. In June Ebury unveiled plans to overhaul its publicity and marketing strategy, marking the departures of longterm team members Sarah Bennie, director of publicity and media relations, and marketing director Diana Riley.