Aimée Felone and David Stevens, former Scholastic colleagues, have co-founded new children’s publisher, KNIGHTS OF.
Publishing commercial fiction for 5 – 15 year olds, KNIGHTS OF intends to focus on commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds. The company also pledges its commitment to a similarly inclusive approach to recruitment. A key imperative for KNIGHTS OF is to actively connect with UK BAME and working class networks and communities. KNIGHTS OF will operate as transparently as possible in its relationship with contributors, partners and readers. Ensuring its books reach the widest audience possible will be central to the KNIGHTS OF strategy, and it will guarantee a significant minimum marketing spend per title. KNIGHTS OF will offer unique and immediate access to all sides of the business using online live chat via its homepage (www.knightsof.media). Using this application, anyone will be able to contact the company and get an instant response to queries 9am – 6pm.
The launch campaign includes an online community #BooksMadeBetter (booksmadebetter.com), using social publishing platform Medium. #BooksMadeBetter allows established authors and underrepresented voices to champion each other, offering a safe space for articles, opinions and reviews from across children’s books, ensuring that all contributors are paid. KNIGHTS OF is open to submissions via its live chat mechanism from today. There are no barriers to submitting, both unrepresented and agented writers and illustrators are encouraged but should refer to the submission guidelines on the website.
Felone and Stevens have reached an agreement with independent publisher Little Tiger Group who will support KNIGHTS OF with a broad range of industry expertise, including design and production.
KNIGHTS OF Co-founder Aimée Felone said: “KNIGHTS OF was born out of a frustration with the lack of representative voices and narratives in children’s fiction. With KNIGHTS OF we can publish uniquely – putting our differences first and celebrating them, making it central to our business. The industry fails to publish and hire inclusively enough, we want to give new writers the start they deserve while building a more representative workforce. We are fortunate to have found incredible support in Little Tiger Group, who we have long admired, to help us bring our books to market in 2018/19. Our hope is that industry-wide support will follow, enabling us to go much, much further.”
Little Tiger Group Sales and Marketing Director David Bucknor said: “We are thrilled to be involved in such an exciting and urgent project as KNIGHTS OF. As a group, we are committed to improving inclusivity in books for children and supporting broader, industry-wide representation amongst authors, illustrators and publishing professionals. Aimée and David’s proposition is an innovative new approach which promises to disrupt traditional routes to publication, whilst being grounded in their combined wealth of experience. We share Aimée and David’s passion for this venture and can’t wait to get cracking on what we do best – making brilliant books together.”
KNIGHTS OF Co-founder David Stevens said: “We have an unbelievable opportunity to launch a children’s publisher actively making change, and we are setting out to prove there is a genuine market for commercial inclusive books. We’re a lean start-up and will be actively seeking further investment, including under SEIS initiatives, making the opportunity to invest in publishing as viable as possible.”
KNIGHTS OF is based in London and will announce its first books in early 2018.