Swoon lets YA readers choose which books get published

Story highlights

  • Swoon Reads lets readers vote on the books they want published
  • The first book published by Swoon was "A Little Something Different" in August
  • Swoon will publish 6 books a year; the new model opens up the industry, says a publisher
Macmillan Publishing has decided to do "A Little Something Different" by crowd-sourcing and letting readers pick some of the books it will publish.
The publisher's aptly titled Swoon Reads imprint targets readers in the market for a good young adult romance.
Fans of young adult fiction are a passionate community and they know what they like. Jean Feiwel, a veteran of children's publishing known for her work with popular series like "The Baby-Sitter's Club" and "Goosebumps," was eager to find a new way to hear what readers want.
After witnessing the success of self-published authors like Colleen Hoover and Abbi Glines, Feiwel realized that much of the talent being surfaced by readers wasn't reaching her or other publishers through agents. She wanted to establish a direct way for readers and writers to connect with Macmillan and fill the gap.
Two years ago, she put out a call for Macmillan employees to attend a lunch meeting about how Macmillan could find these teen romance stories. Soon, the book version of "American Idol" was born, built by volunteers within the company who had a passion for young adult fiction. The Swoon Reads site launched in September 2013.
Unpublished writers submitted their manuscripts and users read and voted on their favorite stories, using comments and a Swoon index measuring the emotions the stories triggered. Out of the reader favorites, Swoon Read's team of editors would award publishing contracts to a few writers each season. Feiwel's goal is six books a year from Swoon, selected from the voting pool for spring/summer, fall and winter.
While Swoon Reads is focused only on romantic young adult fiction, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group President Jon Yaged believes the crowd-sourcing model could work for other genres like sci-fi, mystery and romance -- anything with a "rabid reader b