Today in publishing and literature: Comedy Central's new publishing imprint won't be breaking the bank, bestselling self-published e-book mystery writer Kerry Wilkinson scores a three book deal, and Thursday is World Book Day, particularly in the United Kingdom.
Self-publishing can pay, but only to a point: that helps explain why Kerry Wilkinson, the 31-year-old British sports photographer whose three self-published Jessica Daniel detective novels sold more than 250,000 digital copies last year, and made him the top selling author in the U.K. Kindle store during the final quarter of the year has signed a three book deal to continue the series with Macmillan. The new titles will be released in print and e-book form, and Macmillan is also going back and the first three novels for the paper and cardboard crowd. Terms weren't announced, though The Telegraph suggests Macmillan is trying "propel [Wilkinson] into the same league as Lee Child and Martina Cole," which doesn't come cheap. [The Telegraph]
Comedy Central is launching its own publishing imprint in tandem with Running Press, a division of Perseus Books Group. Their first title will be a "novelty Christmas book" by Denis Leary, who stunningly has not written a novelty Christmas book yet. According to The Hollywood Reporter, we shouldn't expect the imprint to dole out $5 million advances like the one Tina Fey received for Bossypants. Instead, the focus will be on "new material from up-and-coming and [network] talent" (always a popular choice) while the "bread-and-butter is likely to be spin-off books of existing series... and titles from comics like Leary, who have a pre-existing relationship with the network." Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who host the network's most visible existing series, are staying at Grand Central Publishing and won't write for the Comedy Central imprint. Those are two pretty big names not to have on-board, but the imprint, which "plans to release everything from memoirs to joke and novelty books" seems to be emphasizing quantity in the hope a few of those titles turn out to be winning lottery tickets. Considering the current state of the publishing industry, that's seems like a reasonable, though ferociously unsexy, approach to breaking into the book business. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Today is World Book Day. Actually, it's World Book and Copyright Day, but you don't hear the second part as often, since the observance -- which was created in 1995 by the United Nations --is used to raise literacy awareness, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it's a very big deal. According to The Guardian, British schoolchildren have received more than 14 million "£1 book tokens" which they can exchange for a copy of Roald Dahl's Fantabulous Facts, How To Train Your Dragon, or one of six other less desirable titles at participating bookshops. [The Guardian]
Don't tell the New York Public Library that coffee and scones didn't exactly help drive foot traffic to Borders. Starting today at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, patrons will be able to snack on items "including coffee, chocolate chip scones." There will also be sandwiches: fancy sandwiches! Stuff like "free-range roasted chicken with braised kale, pickled veggies and spiced aioli. [Page Views and New York Daily News]