WINNIE THE POOH is back!
We've been working with best-selling author David Benedictus since the 1980s, we love him dearly, and he still doesn't know how a light-switch works, let alone a website. We've been running a suite of successful websites for him for donkeys years, and now he is in the spotlight all over again.
David Benedictus has written RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD, the authorised sequel to the all-time favourite of generations of kids and adults alike, WINNIE THE POOH. It was published on October 5th in New York by Duttons, in London by Egmont Books and in many other countries round the world. And it's already heralded as the publishing event of the year.
For an unassuming stuffed bear, Pooh has proved a highly lucrative character, with a tangled legal history. The books have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Latin. In 1930 the author sold North American merchandising rights to Stephen Slesinger, who in turn granted his rights to Stephen Slesinger Inc. The company sublicensed certain rights to Walt Disney Productions, which created its own animated version of the character and has generated billions of dollars in revenue from the sale of Pooh products. But that, as they say, is history.
Don Weisberg, president of Penguin Young Readers Group, says he expects the title to be a "huge seller for a long, long time". Sarah Clarke, children's buying manager for Waterstone's, says: "We are very excited by the return of Winnie the Pooh, one of the best loved characters in all children's literature, and believe this will be a massive success next Christmas." And according to The Wall Street Journal, the book will give the troubled book industry a much-needed jolt, and is just what the industry needs to pull readers into stores.
So where do we fit in? Well, there is a legal minefield of past and present copyright to negotiate as far as graphics and extracts are concerned. But think behind-the-scenes harnessing of the web, and we'll think ourselves lucky that we're all a bunch of overgrown kids at heart around here.
CASSIE on the road to success.
The hardest thing is to write the book. The second hardest thing is to land a good agent to sell your book to the right publisher for the right deal. Cassie Harte is a psychotherapist who runs her own practice in rural Wales. A few months ago she found us on the internet, and instead of talking about websites she asked for help in finding an agent for her book - the moving story of a woman's triumph over abuse, betrayal and tragedy. Something clicked between us and we began an email dialog about how the hell an unpublished author can hook a top-flight agent.
We put Cassie on to our friends at Agent Research to see if they could pinpoint which agents would suit her best, and they came back with a customized report. By this time, we'd had the chance to read some of Cassie's work. It was stunning, and we told her to mention to any prospective agent that we would be working with her on her website and viral marketing campaign to publicise the book.
So here's the bit you really want to hear about. She sent off her proposal, her work and all the required back-up material to her target agents. We had already warned her that it is very, very rare to get an instant response. Two days later she got a call from Andrew Lownie, who is just about as good an agent as you can get for the type of book Cassie has written, and who says in his recent newsletter, "my ambition for 2009 is for all my authors to have their own website." Lownie sold the book, I DID TELL, I DID, to Harper Collins and publication was scheduled for October 29th. On November 5th I DID TELL, I DID entered the Top Ten in the TCM best-seller charts. Congratulations Cassie, here's to continued success with your debut book, and here's to the sequel we are already involved with.
WIFE OF THE GODS
It's not often we launch a website 12 months ahead of the publication of a debut author's first novel, but when we're lucky enough to hit it off with someone as hands-on as Kwei Quartey, it's hard to refuse. Kwei has been hailed by literary insiders as a very special new author, and he has worked as hard as possible to expand the website and populate it with a huge amount of background material, up-to-date news, personal insights, fun stuff and some great marketing ideas. His first full-length novel, WIFE OF THE GODS, was published in the US by Random House in July, to be followed in other territories globally. It's bannered as "An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery", which is a sure sign that there's more on the way, and the website has just expanded to serve the French language launch. Catch up with the latest news from Kwei himself by following the link below.
TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY
Sometimes we need to deliver in a hurry, especially when a new client approaches us less than a month before a major publishing event. When we read the advance publicity from the likes of Nobel Prize-winner Leon Lederman, and psychology guru Oliver Sacks, we thought we'd enjoy the project. We didn't enjoy it. We had a ball! MAD SCIENCE is a scientific and comic tour de force by Theo Gray, subtitled Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't. Sure, most of the concepts appear to be totally barking mad at first sight, but Theo presents them with such a love of his subject, his enthusiasm becomes contageous. We replicated the exact structure of the entire book for Theo's website, and embedded loads of YouTube videos of actual experiments alongside hi-res photo galleries. And we came in 48 hours ahead of schedule. You can see the results for yourself by clicking on the link below. By the way, in May we also delivered the Wolfram Alpha Community social network site thanks to Theo. This time we got two days notice, and delivered in less than a week. More truly, madly, deeply than ever.
IN THE PIPELINE
New book from the man who predicted the credit crunch and the global market downturn. BINARY TRADING by JOHN PIPER, was out on April 6 from Harriman House. Viral marketing campaign bubbling away.
UK's favourite radio personality Nicholas Parsons OBE continues to act as our cultural ambassador to celebrity authors. We'll be updating his website soon, and there's a new AUTOBIOGRAPHY on the way.
Following our media blitz and fun website, first time financial author SALLY NICOLL has achieved no less than five top rankings in the best-seller lists for BETS IN THE CITY. Now there's a novel on the way, and we'll have to put up with that dog of hers all over again.