What’s Next?

Diversion Books has hundreds of projects a year, and over 100 already on the horizon. Elisa Freilich’s Silent Echo is on its way. Her debut young adult novel, which is already up for preorder on the iBookstore, is, as Editorial Director Mary Cummings describes, “Glee meets Greek mythology.”

New York Timesbestselling author Sally Mandel, author of Change of Heart, is coming out with a new title, Take Me Back. Five of her backlist titles will also be available, giving a second life to her work—a demonstration of the long shelf life that Diversion is working to give to its authors. 

Finally, a collection of stories from amateur to Olympian runners edited by Chris Cooper, My Best Race, will be out soon. 

Keep your devices refreshing for these upcoming projects to hit the virtual bookshelves and vendors.

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Indie Groundbreaking Publisher

Diversion Books

A Next-Generation Publisher for the Modern Reader

Having a book with a long shelf life is an important factor for any publisher. But how about giving a book a second life? Diversion Books, headquartered in New York City, is doing just that. Not only does Diversion publish its own works, but they also capture works in and out of print, digitizing all projects for the modern reader.

Editorial Director Mary Cummings spoke about the company’s history. “Diversion was founded about three and a half years ago by long-time literary agent Scott Waxman,” she said. “Scott had been thinking about eBooks and ePublishing for a long time before that, when he launched one of the first eBook publishing companies, Live Reads, nearly ten years ago. Live Reads was a bit before its time, what with the lack of e-reading devices, so when everything picked up technologically, he was ready.”

After Live Reads, Waxman grew Diversion Books to “acquire digital rights to high quality front and back list titles with strong sales potential in eBook format,” as the Diversion website reads. In three years, the company has partnered with over fifty other companies and agencies to acquire and build its digitally published list. Cummings adds, “Diversion has experienced completely organic growth, from approximately twelve published titles in early 2011 to over 200 today, with over 100 of those titles launching within the last eight months. We expect our total title count to reach at least 300 by the end of 2013."

The Diversion Books philosophy is centered on the reader and the new ways of mastering digital technology to get worthwhile texts at readers’ fingertips. Cummings states, “In terms of content, our philosophy is simple: bring great books to the electronic reading community. We aim to give a second life to backlist titles, whether they are out-of-print or not, and bring originals to the market that deserve a strong publisher behind them but for whatever reason aren't the right fit for the traditional print market.”

Speaking to both the company’s size and diverse title list, she continues, “We aim to do this is in the most innovative, exciting, and author-and-agent-friendly way, and because we're a smaller house, we are able to give each project ongoing, hands-on attention. This approach has allowed us to work with all kinds of authors, from debut novelists, to backlist romance authors, to business gurus with massive platforms.”

It isn’t only about turning the ink on the page to ones and zeros. “I like to think of Diversion as having a traditional approach, with a digital focus. We are very different from publishing service providers, who offer things like file conversion or distribution, with paid marketing packages if you're lucky. We are a full-on publisher, which means we only accept projects we think are a good fit for our list and which we can really run with.

“From there, we handle everything you'd expect from a publisher, including some editing, copyediting, cover design, conversion, typesetting and layout, marketing, and publicity. Our approach is definitely different from that of a traditional house, but I think it fits our projects and our overall digital program in a way that increases discoverability and conversion numbers,” Cummings describes of Diversion’s full-service approach.

The company brings original work to its full potential in combination with providing backlist works in digital form for its own titles as well as other publishers’ with whom Diversion closely works.

As the technology of ePublishing continues to evolve through different platforms and the eyes of the economy continue to turn toward these many avenues, there are definite challenges associated with publishing primarily digital books. Cummings mentions that Diversion’s biggest challenge, as for all eBook publishers, is “the lack of bookstore presence, but honestly these days that's as much a challenge with traditionally published titles. For all publishers, the primary concern is how to attain and maintain discoverability.”

Cummings also points to the size of the company and its digital ventures as great strengths of the company. She continues, “The nice thing about a relatively small list of digital-only titles, referring to both eBooks and print-on-demand titles, however, is that we have direct and immediate access to data. We can tweak our metadata on each retail site separately, which allows us to take advantage of trends on each site and any particular consumer habits. We can update our prices within hours for time-sensitive price promotions. We can apply new technologies as they roll out and update book files at the drop of a hat.”

ePublishing poses a challenge for some companies, an enigma for others, and still there are a few publishers who have not only grasped but also embrace and excel in the realm of screens and interactivity. Diversion Books is one of the leaders in its field because of its ability to address the needs of publishing companies and readers alike in today’s market, maintaining a position ahead of the curve.

 

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Ariel Bronson is a University of Michigan alumna with a degree in English and Communication Studies. She is a graduate of the University of Denver Publishing Institute and worked as an editorial intern at Sleeping Bear Press in 2011. Please contact her with any comments or questions at abrons@umich.edu.


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