EXCLUSIVE: Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, has partnered with the management and creative content platform Sugar23 to establish the co-branded publishing imprint, Sugar23 Books.
The new imprint will publish culturally relevant works of fiction and nonfiction by provocative and original voices, sharing stories that lend themselves to amplification across different creative forms and platforms. The Sugar23 Books / Random House partnership will offer authors deep editorial and content development expertise, supported by Sugar23’s in-house production, experiential and branding resources, as well as Random House’s dedicated consumer insights, metadata, and integrated publicity and marketing teams.
Sugar23 will be actively involved in all aspects of the imprint’s publishing operations, from book acquisitions to the development of brand partnerships and innovative marketing strategies, including immersive live events. Sugar23 Books will be overseen by Sugar23 founder and CEO Michael Sugar and Editorial Director of Books Angela Ledgerwood, who will partner with imprint publishing teams across the Random House division on acquisition and book publication strategy, leveraging Sugar23’s unique set of relationships and resources in the media and entertainment world. Kevin Doughten, Vice President and Executive Editor of Penguin Random House subsidiary Crown, will take on expanded responsibilities, continuing to acquire for Crown, while serving in a dual capacity as Nonfiction Editorial Director for Sugar23 Books.
Sugar23 previously established an eponymous publishing imprint with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which this year will publish seven books already under contract. As of today, all books newly acquired for the Sugar23 Books imprint will be published with Random House. The Sugar23 books partnership announcement was made by Sugar and Crown President David Drake, who will serve as the new imprint’s in-house liaison, facilitating coordination between Sugar23 and the Random House Publishing Group.
“I’ve long admired Random House’s track record of publishing masterful storytellers and amplifying stories that enhance our understanding of ourselves and our world,” said Sugar. “To be able to exchange knowledge from our different vantage points, and experiment with new models of publishing in service of the books we have together is at the heart of what is sure to be a fruitful partnership.”
“United by our shared passion for entertaining storytelling that serves a larger purpose, all of us at Random House look forward to collaborating with the dynamic team at Sugar23 to engage readers in creative ways,” added Drake, “and help today’s most exciting cultural voices find the broadest possible audience for their work. ”
Sugar23 was founded in 2017 by the Academy Award-winning producer and manager, Michael Sugar. The emerging platform specializes in creating original, premium content across all media, incubating and investing in brands and companies, and providing strategic advisory for branding, production, and other go-to-market needs for companies across industries and stages. Sugar has shepherded such award-winning projects as Spotlight, The Knick, The OA, Maniac, 13 Reasons Why and I Am the Night. Sugar23’s most recent credits include Dickinson on Apple TV +, and the Netflix features Worth and The Laundromat. Sugar23 currently has a first-look movie deal, as well as an overall television deal with Netflix.
Since 2015, Sugar23 Books’ Editorial Director Legderwood has hosted the Lit Up Podcast—A lively interview series with her favorite writers. She started her career at Interview Magazine and has worked as a features editor at Cosmopolitan Magazine, a monthly book columnist for Esquire.com, a brand strategist, and festival programmer at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival. Her nonfiction has appeared in She, Marie Claire, Condé Nast Traveler, New York Magazine, Fast Company, The Australian, The Australian Financial Reviewand more.
Random House’s parent company, Penguin Random House, is the world’s largest trade book publisher. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, its publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed in 2013 by Bertelsmann and Pearson, with the former taking full ownership in April of 2020.