Janetta Otter-Barry, publisher at Frances Lincoln (FL), is leaving the company to set up her own children’s publishing business Otter-Barry Books.
Otter-Barry, who currently runs Otter-Barry Books as an imprint of FL, which was acquired by Quarto for £4.5m in 2011, said launching her own company was something she had wanted to do for a long time. “I believe in the power of small independent publishers to seize opportunities and do exciting things and I want to do just that. I want to work with my new colleagues to bring my own personal, collaborative style of publishing to the new venture.”
The business will be based in Herefordshire and publish around eight titles per year, starting in summer 2016, for children up to 11 years of age. The list will include “culturally diverse and inclusive” illustrated books, as well as poetry titles. The books will be “mostly hardbacks in the first year, followed by a combination of hardbacks and paperbacks in following years”, Otter-Barry said.
She continued: “Authors and illustrators will be announced at a later date but I expect to publish, in due course, a mix of authors with whom I have built long-term relationships over the years and new talent.”
Otter-Barry received an undisclosed amount of funding from three private backers and has recruited former colleagues as board members: Jon Rippon of Rippon Publishing Management, formerly finance director at FL; Gail Lynch, freelance sales and marketing consultant, formerly sales and marketing director at FL; and David Ross, a former publisher turned full-time writer. Judith Escreet, who was art director at FL until 2013, will take on the same role at the new company, and Caterina Favaretto, who was foreign rights executive at FL until August 2014, will look after overseas and subsidiary rights.
The company will sell titles in the UK (via Bounce Sales & Marketing and Grantham Book Services) as well as Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada, and a large part of its business will be with libraries. “My books have very strong appeal to the public library and school library markets in the UK and internationally, and I want to maximise those sales,” Otter-Barry said. Titles for trade and gift outlets are also on the agenda.
Otter-Barry joined FL as editorial director in 1988, and set up her own eponymous imprint under the FL umbrella in 2009. During her time at the company she worked with authors and illustrators such as Laurence Anholt, Mick Manning and Jackie Morris, and poets Roger McGough and Michael Rosen.