You may have seen a little flurry of excitement last week at the news that Hodder, one of the publishing groups under the Hachette UK banner, have made a bid for Quercus – and yes, that includes Jo Fletcher Books, the Maclehose Press and Heron Books as well, I’m pleased to say.
I know you’ve been waiting patiently waiting for me to tell you what’s going on, and I do appreciate that patience – but I fear you’re going to have to grit your teeth and wait quietly for a little bit longer because there’s still not a lot I can say until the offer becomes unconditional, which the headshed hope will be in a month’s time.
However, I can reveal that Hodder’s CEO Jamie Hodder-Williams and Hachette UK CEO Tim Hely-Hutchinson have said they intend Quercus to become a distinct division, keeping both Quercus’ own name and its imprints’ names. Hodder has also stated that it intends to honour Quercus’ obligations to its authors and to work assiduously with them to promote their publishing objectives, and that’s the bit of the offer that I was particularly interested in.
And the last thing I can tell you is that the Quercus Directors intend to recommend unanimously that Quercus Shareholders accept that offer.
Here’s a little bit of background: Hodder is an old family firm, nearly 150 years old, part of Hachette UK, the second-largest publishing conglomerate in the world. Those of you who have been paying attention may know that my previous alma mater, Gollancz, is an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, which is also part of the Hachette group. And I did in fact start my publishing career at Headline … also part of the Hachette family …
As that’s about all I can tell you at this stage – for anything else you, like me, will have to wait for the deal to go through – I shall move on to the next bit of excitement: the JFB Greatcoats competition.
I was agreeably surprised to see how much work so many of you put into the competition, not just into working out your Greatcoats names (and no, you were not supposed to just pick the coolest ‘musketeer’ name you could think of!) but also in picking out your weapon of excellence and your special skills. We had all the obvious, of course – and no shortage of brawn over brain, either! – but we also had a fair bit of imagination at work too. As a result, what was supposed to take me just a few minutes, half an hour at most, ended up occupying the best part of a couple of days …
Ah well. At least it was worth it. Sebastien, Nicola, Andrew and I are all impressed at the standard, and we’re delighted that we’ve come up with some really notable winners.
So: pause for a big drumroll and a three-musket salute to our newest Greatcoats. May I welcome you, Darriana Preston, Antrim Thomas, Mateo Tiller, Allister Ivany and Chalmers Zagdunski. Darriana Preston, as our overall winner, will feature in the second volume of The Greatcoats, and will also receive early copies of each subsequent book in the series. The other four winners will be featured in Book Three.
As well as that – and because JFB’s generosity knows no bounds! – the following fifteen Greatcoats-in-training will win signed copies dedicated to their Greatcoat names, so look out for the postman!* And I’m talking to you, Inspector J. Crijns Meijer; Bert Oldfield Chandra; Clint Howat; Johana Knizek; Stark Henderson; Thiago di Luca; D’Rura Galann; Kilbowie Swan; Joseph Carter; Kaylin Seline; Justin Barimen; Telford Infante ap Griffith; Aquila de Saeva; Midnight Eruk; Julian Gyrenthe.
I’d like to thank you all for entering, and hope you continue to enjoy the series!
And now I’m returning to the City, where Beth and Pen are about to face Mater Viae, Our Lady of the Streets: the Goddess of London …
*Be sure to email us your address to receive your copy.