Dec. 22, 2006 – Kunati Books of Toronto can seem to do no wrong as its aggressive marketing position, and, according to Publisher Derek Armstrong, “smart bomb targeted list of books,” creates a big stir internationally.
Kunati books earned starred reviews from the majors, including a “brilliant” from Booklist, “sexy” and “impressive” from Publishers Weekly, “absolutely charming but sure to enrage” from Kirkus, “tongue-in-cheek thriller” from Library Journal, “hugely cinematic” from Films and Books, and—impressively—”a new publisher to watch” from the venerable journal Booklist.
Twenty Hollywood Production Companies are currently reading most of the spring list, with good initial response and early negotiations. There has been foreign rights and book club interest as well.
Library orders for several Kunati titles are extraordinarily high due to starred reviews from Booklist and great reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.
Also, indicative of the publisher’s success story is website traffic. The amazingly interactive website at http://www.kunati.com, has enjoyed over 2 million unique visitors since startup in March of 06, with hundreds of thousands of downloads of their now-famous novel trailers. Although the trailer was first invented by Persona Corp, a Canadian marketing and design company credited with also creating Image Marketing and Percept Marketing in 1988, Kunati has taken virtual ownership of the concept with immensely popular animated trailers.
“Our trailers are quite viral,” explained Derek Armstrong, the publisher. “Our entire website is quite addictive, really, especially the Meet the Author pages—controversial blogs, forums, wacky bios, live chats with the authors—our award-winning trailers and hundreds of pages of content, growing each day.” Return visits are high and the stat counter shows average visits at over an hour. “A lot of the credit goes to Persona Corp. They’re as innovative as we believe we are. They forced us to make every page forum-style, allowing readers to feedback everywhere.”
Booklist, in various reviews, suggests Kunati’s success stems more from selection of titles and rounds out the comments with snips such as “another author to watch” and “this one’s a keeper,” and the very telling, “genre-bending fiction.”
Armstrong credits Editor-in-Chief James McKinnon for the genre-bending success. “James is always watching for hot debut authors with a provocative voice or a controversial message. We don’t have to agree with the message, but we are looking for striking, unique voices. Already our fall list is shaping up to “out provoke” even our edgy spring list.”
Hottest titles for large advance reviews, movie interest and advance sales are:
• bang BANG, Lynn Hoffman: “Absolutely charming, sure to enrage the NRA” Kirkus—”Brilliant” Booklist
• The Game, Derek Armstrong: “sexy” Publishers Weekly—”hugely cinematic” Films and Books—”Compels us to keep reading…inject the trope with new vigor” Booklist
• Rabid, TK Kenyon: “Impressive” Publishers Weekly—”Definitely a keeper” Booklist
• Toonamint of Champions, Todd Sentell: “Wacky…as delicious and funny as licorice ice cream.” Booklist
“But all our titles have so many orders and reviews, we keep adding to our print run,” said Derek Armstrong. “By keeping our titles thematically linked to “provocative” and “controversial” there’s definitely a momentum thing happening with Kunati as a whole. It’s almost out of control.”
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