Blackstone Expands Its Print and E-Book Publishing, Signs Three Bestselling Crime Authors from Penguin Random House

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New York Times bestselling Steve Hamilton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Meg Gardiner included in seven-figure deal.

“This is a deal that looks toward the future,” said Salerno. “Blackstone is growing at an incredible rate, and they’re doing it in a very smart and creative way.”

In a deal that could represent a seismic shift within the publishing industry, Blackstone Publishing, the largest independent publisher in the 2.5 billion-dollar audiobook business, is partnering with The Story Factory to dramatically expand its presence in the print and e-book markets. As the centerpiece of this partnership, Blackstone is inking a three-author deal with New York Times bestselling and two-time Edgar Award-winning Steve Hamilton, five-time New York Times bestselling and four-time Edgar Award-nominated Reed Farrel Coleman, and Edgar Award-winning Meg Gardiner. All three authors are leaving Penguin Random House to join Blackstone.

At a time when even well-established authors are seeing their advances and promotional budgets slashed, Hamilton, Coleman, and Gardiner will receive the highest compensation in their careers as part of this significant seven-figure deal. The authors will also be given creative and promotional approvals throughout the publishing process, with a dedicated publicity budget for each book stipulated in their contracts. This marks a new level of commitment to authors that could send shockwaves throughout the industry and draw other major authors to Blackstone’s doorstep.

The deal was closed after several months of negotiation between Josh Stanton, CEO of Blackstone, and Shane Salerno, of The Story Factory, which represents all three authors. For Stanton, it’s another in a series of transformative, high-profile deals that have dramatically expanded Blackstone’s presence in the publishing industry. The company’s Blackstone Publishing imprint will now be uniquely positioned to leverage its already industry-leading position in the audiobook market to rewrite the rules on how print and e-book titles are acquired, published, and promoted.

“This is a deal that looks toward the future,” said Salerno. “Blackstone is growing at an incredible rate, and they’re doing it in a very smart and creative way.”

“Welcoming these three exceptional authors to the Blackstone family is not only a thrill, but it’s indicative of what we’ve been working towards as a Publisher,” Stanton chimed in. “Mr. Salerno and The Story Factory’s track record is incredibly impressive, to say the least; I look forward to working together to successfully launch these author’s next works, as well as future projects to come.”

The three authors moving to Blackstone have a combined 60 novels in print, six New York Times bestsellers, and 45 nominations for international literary awards, with 17 winners:

Steve Hamilton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Nick Mason series and the million-selling Alex McKnight series. He’s one of only three authors to win Edgar Awards for both Best First Novel and Best Novel. He’s also written two New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and his standalone The Lock Artist is the only book in publishing history to win an Edgar Award for Best Novel in America, an Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller in the UK, and an Alex Award from the American Library Association. Hamilton’s books have been praised by such major authors as Stephen King (“The real deal”), Michael Connelly (“As original as any writer I've ever read”), and Lee Child (“Whatever he writes, I'll read – Steve Hamilton’s that good”).

Hamilton’s first two novels for Blackstone will be the third installment in the Nick Mason series, already entitled An Honorable Assassin, and the twelfth installment in the Alex McKnight series. The Nick Mason series was sold to Lionsgate in a pre-emptive seven-figure deal, with Nina Jacobson (Hunger Games franchise, Crazy Rich Asians) producing and Shane Salerno (Avatar 2-5, Armageddon) writing the screenplay. Hamilton plans to bring Nick Mason and Alex McKnight together in a future book, as Michael Connelly did with his major characters Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb.

Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of thirty novels, including five consecutive New York Times bestsellers in Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. He’s been nominated for the Edgar Award four times in three different categories (Best Novel, Best Paperback Original, and Best Short Story), and has won the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the Year four times. Coleman has been called a “hard-boiled poet” by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the “noir poet Laureate” by the Huffington Post.

Coleman will write his first novel for Blackstone after finishing his current project for the new Michael Mann Books imprint at HarperCollins: a collaboration with Mann on the prequel novel to the filmmaker’s landmark crime film Heat, which starred Oscar winners Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The Michael Mann Books imprint, which will launch in February 2019 with Elaine Shannon’s Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire, marks another significant publishing deal represented by The Story Factory.

Meg Gardiner is the critically-acclaimed author of the UNSUB series and China Lake, which won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original and was a finalist for NPR’s 100 Best Thrillers Ever. Stephen King has said of Meg Gardiner: “This woman is as good as Michael Connelly… her novels are, simply put, the finest crime-suspense series I’ve come across in the last twenty years.” Gardiner was also recently elected President of the Mystery Writers of America for 2019.

Gardiner’s first book with Blackstone will be the third novel in her Barry Award-winning UNSUB series, which received three starred reviews from the major trade publications and was sold to CBS Television.

Blackstone Publishing, based in Ashland Oregon, with offices in Manhattan and Portland Oregon, has a catalog of over 14,000 audio titles—from authors as diverse as Karin Slaughter, William Landay, Timothy Ferriss, Suzanne Brockman, Ian Fleming, C. S. Lewis, Ayn Rand, Elena Ferrante, Gabriel García Márquez, Chuck Palahniuk, George Orwell, Don Winslow, Cory Doctorow, Neil deGrasse Tyson, T. C. Boyle, and Mary Kubica—and has also partnered with Disney, Marvel, and LucasFilms on such properties as Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, Tomorrowland, and Star Wars 7, to name a few. Blackstone holds 50+ Audie Awards and over 400 AudioFile Earphones Awards, multiple Grammy nominations and wins, not to mention numerous New York Times & USA Today bestsellers.

In late 2015, after nearly 30 years as audiobook-industry pioneers, Blackstone expanded into print and e-book publishing. The deal with The Story Factory represents another major step for Blackstone as they continue to grow their core business into the print and e-book marketplaces. It follows an April 2018 deal in which Blackstone acquired the US & Canadian print and e-book rights to the majority of bestselling author James Clavell’s catalog in an eight-book deal that includes Clavell’s Asian Saga novels Shōgun, Tai-Pan, King Rat, Escape, and Whirlwind, as well as a recent Edgar nomination for Best Novel (THE LIAR’S GIRL, Catherine Ryan Howard).

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