Hello to all friends of Ransom!
Apologies for the long time since our last update, there have been a few shifts and changes in the office, and we are all just finding our feet again. However, we are now back on the blog-o-sphere, and are ready to share with you our news on some of our very exciting upcoming projects!
One of the biggest projects that has been taking up our time is the launch of our brand new YA imprint, Raven. Focusing on releasing exciting, contemporary reads for Young Adults, Raven marks the first time that Ransom has really branched into publishing titles for the more general public and for trade purposes. We hope that it will take off, and we have a lot of faith in our titles, the fabulous authors that have written them, and the team currently working on making Raven as visible as possible.
The latest publication by Raven is Rosemary Hayes’ novel Taken, and it’s a novel that has really made
an impact in the office. Steve said that it even brought a tear to his eye! Coming soon via Raven Books, is a hilarious and quirky little novel called Dead Ed in My Head, by the
marvellous Barbara Catchpole, author of our best-selling PIG series. The novel centres around Tod, a teenage boy who finds that the voice of a deceased elderly man decides to start talking to him. It’s utterly bizarre and so much fun, and we cannot wait to share it with the world. Dead Ed in My Head is due for release in May.
(side note: if you review books online and are interested in an ARC, feel free to get in touch)
The other big project that has been in the works is the conception of Reading Stars Plus and Neutron Stars titles. As you may well know, Reading Stars is the umbrella term for all of our book banded titles, used in schools, libraries and the like to help children get to grips with reading. However, we at Ransom have realised that actually, it’s not always children who need content at that simple level. Much like the motives behind our High-Low Reading books, Reading Stars Plus and Neutron Stars are there to enable older struggling readers to connect with content that is suitable for them. Reading Stars Plus focuses on those who are just above the intended ages of the book-banded titles; focusing primarily on those between the ages of 9-13. Meanwhile Neutron Stars includes titles aimed at those aged 13+, not limited to just teenagers, but also for adults. This allows opportunities for those who were never given that guidance to read, to still get their chance to learn. Examples of those we can see being really helped are those in prison, or recent immigrants. The great thing about these collections is the breadth of variety of content. We really have done our best to target those from all backgrounds and with all manner of interests, and the premises of the books range from dystopian fiction to an instruction guide to cooking curry. Working on these titles has given us a real opportunity to return to our passion of helping struggling readers.
As well as this, we are also working on a series called The Microwave Shakespeare. Adapting Shakespeare’s classic plays into a language and format that pre-teens and teens can connect with, we are hoping that it will bring a new group of people into the Shakespeare fanbase. Containing ‘Where’, ‘When’ and ‘Who’ pages, as well as a simplified summary of the text itself, it’s a great introduction to the Bard. Current titles underway are: Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar and The Tempest. The Microwave Shakespeare is due to arrive this summer.
As you can see, there is plenty going on at the office, and it’s all hands on deck! As well as our regular staff and the two dog-shaped additions in the form of Scrabble and Wookie, we are also joined this month by four interns from the University of Southampton. The four of them are teaming up to focus on our final big upcoming project: our new website. Thanks to the wonderful people at Firsty, as well as the creative juices of our interns, the new Ransom site should be up and running very very soon. It will the main port of call for all things Ransom, and we hope that it will make it a lot easier to connect with us and our titles.
So, I think that is just about everything! And if it’s not… well then you’ll just have to watch this space and see what emerges.
Social Media Intern