UTA, Atria Books Partner to Launch Publishing Imprint for Digital Celebrities

Justine Ezarik - P 2013
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Justine Ezarik - P 2013

YouTube stars Shay Carl, Shane Dawson, iJustine, Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa will release books on Keywords Press over the next year.

Internet stars are crossing back into print -- at least, that's the plan for UTA and Atria Publishing Group, who are launching Keywords Press, an imprint that will publish books by digital personalities.

"Keywords Press is being built to work with new authors who not only have unique voices, but also have a special and direct relationship with their fans," Atria president and publisher Judith Curr said in a statement. "We believe that this generation of digital stars, who are unprecedented in how they've built their brands and relate to their audiences, gives us an opportunity to rethink the traditional publishing model."

Keywords intends to publish six to ten titles annually in both print and digital formats. It will begin with YouTube stars-turned-authors Shay Butler (aka ShayCarl), Shane Dawson, Justine Ezarik (aka iJustine), Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa, who are slated to release their first books between late 2014 and early 2015.

"Many of our clients were interested in creating books, but when we surveyed the marketplace, we didn't feel like there was a publishing apparatus created to really take advantage of the unique nature of online stars and their relationship with fans," UTA head of digital media Brent Weinstein said in a statement. The agency reps Dawson, Ezarik and Graceffa, although Keywords authors will not be restricted to UTA clients.

Because of the high degree of fan engagement associated with Internet fame, Keywords books will be somewhat crowdsourced, according to Curr. "We are excited for our new authors to work directly with their fans to determine what stories they want told," she said in a statement. "We anticipate publishing works ranging from serious to comedic, fiction to nonfiction, practical advice to personal memoir."

Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will hold world publishing and audio rights on all Keywords titles.