Fitness guru Joe Wicks is leaving Bluebird for HarperCollins, signing a multi-book deal for adult lifestyle and children's titles with the publisher.
HQ executive publisher Lisa Milton and HarperCollins Children's Books executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh snapped up world rights from Bev James at Bev James Media Limited.
The deal kicks off in 2021 with new lifestyle books published by HQ and a range of children’s titles including picture books and activity books for young readers published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.
Wicks said: “I can’t wait to start developing new adult books with HarperCollins and to create children’s books for the first time. I’m on a mission to get the world fitter, stronger, healthier and happier. Books play a crucial part in that.”
James added: “With the HarperCollins teams, Joe has found his new publishing home. With their expertise and his talent, Joe can cement his position as a leading international lifestyle brand and launch his own range of children’s books.”
Wicks has been a publishing phenomenon since his debut Lean in 15 was released by Carole Tonkinson's Bluebird in 2015, going on to become the second bestselling Food & Drink title of all time at 1.37 million copies sold. In total, he has racked up sales of 3.2 million books for for £27.9m, up to 21st March through Nielsen BookScan. His most recent hit, Wean in 15 (Bluebird), went to number one in May, scoring Wicks his 18th week at the top.
The body coach's star has ascended even further during lockdown thanks to the success of his online PE lessons for pupils stuck at home and, often, their parents. In April, the Mirror reported he had been offered £1m by publishers for a range of children's books, though figures in his new deal have not been confirmed.
Milton said: “I couldn’t be more delighted that Joe is joining us at HQ for his adult publishing. I’ve been a massive fan since before he published his first book. He has already transformed the nation showing us how to lead a healthy lifestyle, and now he’s leading the next generation. I can’t wait to join him on his journey as he becomes a global star.”
“Joe radiates positivity and passion in everything he does and is a great inspiration for children, “ added Murtagh. “His daily PE lessons have connected with families across the nation and I am thrilled that he has chosen us to launch his children’s books. I look forward to bringing Joe’s zest and energy to the children’s book world.”
Bluebird publisher Carole Tonkinson, who launched Wicks' book career, said: "Joe is a legend – and we wish him all the best. It has been such an adventure working with him at Bluebird. It started in 2015 with the hugely successful Lean in 15, which has now sold over 1.3 million copies, and over the course of eight books we have collaborated to establish Joe as the UK’s foremost lifestyle coach. It is wonderful to be celebrating the current success of Wean in 15 - one of four Bluebird titles in this week's top 5 manuals chart. We are looking forward enormously to publishing Joe's next two books, out in December 2020 and June 2021, and to continuing his mission to help people adopt healthy habits."