Random House’s New Digital Imprints

I got a good laugh today when I read Publisher Weekly‘s “Random House Launches New Digital-Only Imprints.” Why, you might ask? Well, because a group of friends and I had the exact same idea in 2011. 

Random House (RH) announced that next year it will launch three digital-only imprints. One will publish mystery-thrillers, another will focus on sci-fi/fantasy, and the third will produce new adult fiction–a relatively new genre that is meant for 20-somethings.

Back in June of 2011, my friends and I wrote a business plan for something similar–a digital-first (with the option for print-on-demand) publishing house that would produce new adult fiction. New adult fiction was something I had heard about a few months prior, and being a 20-something myself, was intrigued. One of the group members pushed for digital first, though I’m not sure if she’d care whether or not I wrote about her on my blog so for now I won’t name names.

Our publishing house was going to be called Hydra Publishing Group. We brainstormed a name for months, and it appealed to all of us, probably because we could identify it with the sci-fi genre, and we all liked reading sci-fi books. Our official reason was that the Hydra had many heads, and we made plans to make our logo have enough heads to represent each of us.

Unfortunately for us, the name Hydra had been trademarked by someone else in a related field. The plan fizzled before we could come up with a new one (my guess is RH can use the name Hydra because it’s an imprint, not a publishing house, but I don’t know for sure).

Now, I can understand how RH got to the name Hydra–it still totally makes sense to me for something sci-fi related–but what are the odds that they are launching a digital only imprint, named Hydra, that publishes new adult fiction? I felt mixed emotions reading the article, because of course I feel like I missed out on a great opportunity. On the other hand, I was excited because RH has just validated our idea.

So, I’m hoping this shows I’m on the right track with my latest startup, Write or Read. Of course, one thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that, unfortunately, ideas are shit. It’s all about the execution, because if you can’t execute, no one will know about your idea. Give me a few months, and I’ll let you know how it turned out.


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