New York, NY, September 21, 2021 – Zando, an independent publisher that collaborates with influential creators, authors, platforms, and institutions to acquire and publish titles under their own imprints, today announced Lena Waithe and Gillian Flynn as its first founding publishing partners. Under their own respective imprints, Waithe and Flynn will work alongside Zando’s editorial team to identify, foster and publish talented authors whose work they admire while engaging their personal audiences to support the books. Waithe’s titles will be published as Hillman Grad Books with Rishi Rajani and Naomi Funabashi overseeing for Waithe’s prolific production company, Hillman Grad. Flynn, who is completing her next novel, to be published by Penguin Random House, will publish her selections eponymously under Gillian Flynn Books.
"Lena Waithe and Gillian Flynn are dream publishing partners for Zando,” said Molly Stern, CEO of Zando. “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.
In her role at Crown, Stern published Flynn’s mega bestseller, Gone Girl. In 2017, she first met Waithe and bonded with the Emmy-Award® winner over their shared passion for developing emerging and underrepresented voices.
“When I first met with Molly several years ago, I knew there would be something special we would create,” said Waithe. “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.”
Flynn shared, "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."
With a commitment to publishing four to six books under each imprint over a three year span, Zando’s partners will shepherd books that reflect their distinct narrative interests and points of view.
Hillman Grad’s list will feature vibrant, richly imaginative work from underrepresented voices including memoir, literary fiction, and YA, reflecting Waithe’s interest in ambitious, genre-defying work by visionary writers.
Gillian Flynn Books will feature propulsive, culturally incisive and dynamic work from writers working across genres. Her choices may be unexpected, often voice-driven, conversation-starting and gasp-inducing. She will publish both fiction and non-fiction, including in such categories as narrative non-fiction and true crime. Zando is actively acquiring books with Waithe and Flynn for their inaugural lists.
Zando expects to announce additional partners in the coming months. In Spring 2022, Zando will publish its first books under its eponymous imprint: ALL THE SECRETS OF THE WORLD by journalist and former Dear Sugars’ podcast co-host Steve Almond, THE ODYSSEY by The Guardian's 'Not the Booker' Prize winner and author of SUPPER CLUB Lara Williams, and PATRICIA WANTS TO CUDDLE by GLAAD Media Award winner and author of REAL QUEER AMERICA Samantha Allen.
For more information on Zando and its approach to publishing, please visit www.zandoprojects.com.
Launched October 2020, Zando combines a track record of best-in-class curation with a nimble business model that leverages both the influence of high-profile cultural figures and the reach of new distribution channels. In a publishing career spanning 25 years, founder and CEO Molly Stern has formed deep relationships with authors, agents and imprint partners. She has also been responsible for three winners of the Pulitzer Prize, numerous bestsellers and the launch of internationally successful imprints, earning her a reputation as one of publishing’s most influential tastemakers. Zando is founded on her belief in the essential value of books, the enduring influence of great stories and powerful ideas, and the necessity of literary diversity. Zando is backed by Sister, the studio founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone.