Zando, the independent publisher with a stated mission to collaborate with influential creators, authors, platforms, and institutions to acquire and publish titles under their own imprints, has named Lena Waithe and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn as its first founding publishing partners.
Each of the two will have an imprint – actress/producer Waithe’s titles will be published as Hillman Grad Books, while Flynn, currently at work on her next novel to be published by Penguin Random House, will publish her Zando selections under Gillian Flynn Books. Both will work alongside Zando’s editorial team to identify, foster and publish authors of their choosing.
For Waithe’s Hillman Grad Books, Rishi Rajani and Naomi Funabashi will oversee for the actress-producer’s production company Hillman Grad.
“Lena Waithe and Gillian Flynn are dream publishing partners for Zando,” said CEO of Zando Molly Stern, the former Crown publisher who published Flynn’s Gone Girl and, in 2018, Michelle Obama’s Becoming. “I’m no different from millions of other readers who know what these remarkable creators stand for, respect their unique vision and trust their taste. Lena and Gillian are cultural pioneers who devour and celebrate exciting new literary work and share my desire to support new voices.”
With Zando’s support, each partner will be involved in every stage of the publishing process, for their respective imprints from acquisition, offering creative input during editing, and guiding a book’s release into the marketplace. Flynn and Waithe will utilize their personal and cultural capital across their individual platforms to support each of their books, providing a powerful infrastructure of awareness.
According to Zando, each partner will be involved in every stage of the publishing process for their respective imprints from acquisition, providing “creative input” during editing, and guiding a book’s release into the marketplace. Zando says Flynn and Waithe “will utilize their personal and cultural capital across their individual platforms to support each of their books, providing a powerful infrastructure of awareness.”
“When I first met with Molly several years ago, I knew there would be something special we would create,” said Waithe in a statement. “As Hillman Grad has grown, Rishi and I have had the opportunity to support underrepresented voices in film, TV, and music. Now we get to do the same for books and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Said Flynn: “Books have often saved me, and they’ve certainly nurtured me at every stage. I love being a writer and now I’m thrilled to be working with Molly as a publisher, helping distinctive voices find all the readers out there who are craving the unique. Creating my own imprint with Zando is truly an honor—I can’t wait to start the conversation around books I love.”
Each of Zando’s partners will publish four to six books over a three year span, the titles reflecting their distinct narrative interests and points of view. Hillman Grad Books’ list is expected to feature work from underrepresented voices including memoir, literary fiction, and YA, while Gillian Flynn Books will feature writers working across genres in both fiction and non-fiction including narrative non-fiction and true crime.
Zando is actively acquiring books with Waithe and Flynn for their inaugural lists. The publisher expects to announce additional partners in the coming months, and in Spring 2022 will publish its first books under its eponymous imprint.