Mills & Boon is to launch a crime and thriller series in its first venture beyond romance publishing since it was founded 100 years ago. Black Star Crime kicks off in August with five titles, and will initially publish five titles every two months. The heavily-branded short novels will be priced at £3.99.
M&B anticipates sales of between 250,000 and 500,000 units a year for the series, which would be around 2% of the total UK crime and thriller market. Nielsen BookScan’s crime and thriller product class was worth £138.9m in 2007, with 22.7 million books sold.
“Since 2001, crime and thriller sales have increased by 70%,” said M&B marketing manager Oliver Rhodes. “There were two ways for us to go. We could either do what everyone else is doing, and do it better, or carve out our own niche and try to create a unique proposition. The idea is that if people find something they like they can go back and find something similar. It is a brand promise.”
Black Star Crime will include a range of genres, from cosy mysteries to hard-core thrillers, with authors to include new names as well as more established writers. M&B has liaised with Working Partners to generate some of the concepts, as well as acquiring titles itself, and is adamant the quality of the stories is paramount. Launch titles include RUNAWAY MINISTER by Nick Curtis, STREETWISE by Chris Freeman, A NARROW ESCAPE by Faith Martin and MURDER PLOT by Lance Elliott.
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
It Can’t Be Mills & Boon Every Day, Right?
Love me, love my crime fiction. Mills & Boon, of all people, are about to dive into the murky world of gats ‘n’ gams with a crime imprint, according to The Bookseller (possible scenario, right). To wit: