Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Under the Shadow of MI6: Shots investigate Bonnier-Zaffre

The Shots team were delighted to be invited to a literary party hosted on the banks of the Thames, overlooking the MI6 building from ‘The Spying Room’; upstairs at The Morpeth Arms

The gathering was organised by Bonnier-Zaffre Publishing, a new team masterminded by Mark Smith, the literary entrepreneur who most recently was the CEO and founder of Quercus Publishing [now an imprint at Hodder and Stoughton].  Mark Smith is well known in the industry thanks in no part to this book.

We heard about Bonnier-Zaffre and became rather interested when Mark Smith’s name was associated with this venture, and has become CEO as reported from The Bookseller -

Bonnier Publishing Fiction will house Hot Key Books, Piccadilly Press and Zaffre. Hot Key Books and Piccadilly will remain focused on children’s fiction, while Zaffre will build an adult fiction business around women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction, crime, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror and fiction in translation.

Zaffre also has an imprint, Twenty7, which focuses exclusively on debut authors across all fiction categories.

Richard Johnson, c.e.o. of Bonnier Publishing said: “The move we are announcing today completes our strategy of covering all types of publishing by the end of 2014. Bringing someone of Mark’s reputation and standing in the industry to the group is a marker of our ambition to be a major player in the fiction market in the UK, USA and Australia.
“Mark’s experience will help, too, in all other areas of our group and he will immediately join the board of our US company, Little Bee, which starts to publish next month.”

Smith said: “I’m very excited to be building another publishing business and having Zaffre as part of the Bonnier Publishing Group feels like a perfect match of know-how and ambition. I greatly admire the quality of Bonnier’s current children’s fictionpublishing and look forward to working with the team to navigate the future. The industry is changing rapidly, which brings opportunity for new entrants and I’m looking forward to finding great stories from brilliant authors and connecting them with readers around the world.”

Read More from The Bookseller Here

We have been observing the recent successes of these new kids on the publishing block, with some intriguing acquisitions including David Young’s Stasi Child, the return of Caroline[C.J.] Carver with Spare Me The Truth, David Jackson’s new series that starts with A Tapping At My Door to name just a few of their offerings.

So as it was raining heavily [and we were close to MI6], a cabal of trench-coated book reviewers gathered along the banks of the Thames, to sip wine, and learn more about this interesting publishing house, headed by Mark Smith. Joining Ayo, Mike and I at the party were Literary Agent Oli Munson, Karen Robinson of The Times, Barry ‘Brit-Noir’ Forshaw, Maxim and Delores Jakubowski, and many, many others.

So we mingled, catching up on our reading, and now present a few photos of the party for our readers.

A treat was to finally meet up with literary scout Vanessa O'Loughlin from Dublin, though we’d been in contact for some time now, initially via twitter, it was good to finally meet.
So with the wine flowing, Mark Smith took to the stand to welcome us all to the literary party hosted by Bonnier-Zaffre publishing. Smith indicated that this ‘new’ publishing House had big plans to present a niche, carefully selected list. Though a lover of crime, thriller and mystery fiction; Smith indicated that Bonnier-Zaffre would also publish work outside of the genre, focusing on work that would appeal to a wide readership, introducing diversity into their offerings. Smith indicated that many of their non-genre titles would appeal to Crime, Mystery and Thriller readers.

Diversity is a term that would sum up their release Maestra by Lisa [L.S.] Hilton a book that just reached No 1 in the UK, an early success for Bonnier-Zaffre, with release later this year in the US from Putman; and with film rights being optioned by Columbia Pictures.  I was amused at how Mark Smith acquired this book, despite some opposition internally at Bonnier-Zappre, which was amusingly reported at The Spectator >

Bonnier Zaffre’s CEO Mark Smith recalled how Hilton had charmed him straightaway with her plentiful talents. Alas not everyone at the publishing house was so enamored, with one member of staff worrying that Hilton’s writing suggested that she suffered psychopathic tendencies. Smith says that the staffer in question went so far as to try to stop him from embarking on a worldwide pre-publication tour with Hilton:
‘Before we headed on the trips we had to discuss the plan with my colleagues. There was one in particular who had read the book and was decidedly cold on the idea.
I had a slew of emails asking me to reconsider: what if Lisa poisons you? I really hope you come back.’
Read More Here from The Spectator

So with our investigation resolved as to who are Bonnier-Zaffre, it was back to MI6 to report back, and a late night Pizza for Stotter and Karim as they discussed their own writing project[s].

More information about Bonnier-Zaffre available here

Photos © 2016 A S Karim 

No comments: