Berbay to expand publishing program in 2020
Melbourne-based children’s publisher Berbay Books will double its publishing list from eight to 16 titles in 2020, as well as publishing its first graphic novel, chapter book and junior fiction title.
After a few years of ‘significant’ sales growth of its illustrated titles, Berbay’s list will expand to include junior fiction, children’s nonfiction and a graphic novel, alongside the picture books and middle grade titles the company also produces. ‘I feel there is a real gap in the market for well written chapter and junior fiction, and this seems a natural extension of what we already do quite well,’ said managing director Alexandra Yatomi-Clarke.
Yatomi-Clarke said the publisher’s new sales and distribution deal with Simon & Schuster this year had helped Berbay’s sales growth and market expansion, and it has also made progress overseas. ‘In the first eight years of Berbay’s existence we didn’t have any foreign sales except selling to direct foreign customers,’ said Yatomi-Clarke. ‘However, in recent times Berbay has achieved increasing international recognition that has generated incredible momentum, resulting in 19 foreign licence deals with large and prestigious international publishers in the last two years alone, with many pending negotiations currently ongoing,’ said Yatomi-Clarke.
To help with the expansion, Berbay appointed Nancy Conescu as associate publisher in May. ‘We are so excited to have Nancy on board as associate publisher,’ said Yatomi-Clarke. ‘Nancy’s strong editorial and acquisitions experience including working at Walker Books Australia, Penguin USA and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette USA) will be very valuable at Berbay.’
Conescu said she has found the environment ‘refreshingly creative’. ‘Because we’re truly independent, our growth depends on our list, not on titles we distribute for other publishers,’ said Conescu. ‘So, it’s a very personal and specialised approach to publishing, where every title gets our full attention. We look for what we perceive to be gaps in the market and try to publish into them.’