Digital talent may single-handedly be saving the publishing industry. It’s just over two years ago that United Talent Agency and Simon & Schuster’s Atria Publishing Group brokered a deal to stand up Keywords Press, an imprint set to help YouTube creators get their books published. Tyler Oakley, Hannah Hart, Shane Dawson, Zoella, amongst others have grabbed book deals over the years, many on the various bestsellers lists. Grace Helbig, for instance, has landed two books on the New York
Times’ Bestsellers list.
Now, YouTube beauty network StyleHaul and digital studio, Adaptive Studios, are taking a crack at the analog space, via a new co-venture to publish creators’ books — StyleHaul Books.
“We have been watching the rising trend of creators like Zoella hitting the bestseller lists, so this is an opportunity we wanted to offer to our network. It’s exciting to have a partner like Adaptive, who understands both publishing and the digital space,” said Olivier Delfosse, Chief Operating Officer of StyleHaul.
The new book division will be an imprint of Adaptive Books, a sub-set of Adaptive’s business specialized in publishing and narrative storytelling, particularly for the young adult category. To lead the charge are two executives seasoned in the world of publishing — Dustin Thomason, a New York Times best-selling author, and Nick Simonds, former publisher of Blumhouse Books. Together the two will help shape creator-driven titles, which could take form as graphic novels or even children’s books with aim at creating IP that adapts well to other forms of media, including television and film. StyleHaul Books’ projects will be distributed both digitally and traditionally by Ingram Publisher Services.
The crossover market for talent is clearly there, especially at a time when ad revenues are a fall back for meaninful profits for businesses like StyleHaul. If a YouTuber, like Zoella, for instance, who has 10 million subscribers, can convert 1% of her audience to buy a book at $4.99 or $9.99, revenues could range between $500K and $1 million. And while the math may be straightforward, the question one must ask is whether fans will become fatigued from too many creator spinoffs, or at what threshold.
Still, the business is there, as is the creative appetite.
“We’re thrilled to be working with a brand like StyleHaul. We were so taken by the unique story ideas their creators were coming up with,” said Marshall Lewy, a partner at Adaptive Studios, which also has projects with new digital studio, Gunpowder and Sky, and go90. “Publishing has always been a very traditional business, and together we’re in a great position to shake it up.”
Titles from the StyleHaul Books imprint are expected to hit market by end of 2016, though the first projects (and creators attached to those projects) have not been announced.