Orion launches new commercial imprint

Orion has launched a new imprint, Swordfish, publishing a wide range of commercial non-fiction as well as a small selection of fiction. Non-fiction publishing director Rowland White will take on the role of publisher.

Six titles will be published under the Swordfish imprint this year, starting with three titles over the summer. White plans to publish approximately 12 titles annually.

The imprint’s non-fiction will focus on real-life adventure, military endeavour, the natural world, narrative history, reportage, boys with toys, pop culture and heroes and villains, with the fiction selection aiming for "big, distinctive thrillers".

White said: "I’m thrilled to be launching Orion’s newest imprint. It’s a labour of love for me." The imprint’s first book, to be published in June, will be non-fiction Afghanistan war title The Operators by Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings. In July, Swordfish will publish the non-fiction story of a submarine rescue, 72 Hours by Commander Ian Riches and Frank Pope, as well as fiction title Spartan by Matthew Dunn, a début thriller by the ex-MI6 field operative.

A further three titles will be published in August, September and November respectively: Looking for Adventure by Steve Backshall, The Lost Empires of Atlantis by 1421 author Gavin Menzies, and River Monsters by Jeremy Wade. White said: "The content and identity [of the imprint] are a reflection of my own enthusiasms. I wanted to make a decision about which kind of books I wanted to publish over the course of my career."

He acknowledged it was "quite a blokey list" but said: "I’ve always thought it was a mistake to tailor a book to any particular demographic. Storytelling will be key and strong narrative will always be at the heart of the list."
On the name, White said: "I wanted something that had a bit of life and spike to it. ‘Swordfish’ resonated in a number of areas I was hoping to publish into."

White said he would continue to acquire books for Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Orion, and publishers on the other imprints would also be able to acquire for Swordfish. The three imprints would not compete against each other for acquisitions, he added.

The imprint would release e-books alongside hardback publication and make signing e-book rights a prerequisite of contracts, said White.

"One of the thoughts behind launching an imprint was to build a community, if we are enthusiastic and disciplined enough in our acquisitions," he said. "A community can be quite a powerful thing and increasingly a digital presence is a very important part of that."