Welbeck hires Jon Elek as publisher of new commercial imprint

News - Publishing Thursday, 16 May 2019

Marcus Leaver/Mark Smith start-up Welbeck brings in former agent as publisher of Portland Press


Welbeck Publishing Group has this morning revealed that Jon Elek is joining as group publisher, fiction and will lead its newly-established commercial fiction imprint, Portland Press.

In a statement Welbeck said: 'As part of the growth strategy underpinning Welbeck’s acquisition of Carlton Books, a new commercial fiction imprint, Portland Press, will begin publishing new titles in 2020. Concentrating on crime, thrillers, romance and women’s fiction titles, Portland Press will focus on building debut authors into brands, while enhancing the worldwide sales of established brand name authors.'

Elek joined AP Watt in 2009, and moved to United Agents when it acquired AP Watt in 2012. 'As an agent and, before that, as a publisher at Penguin, Jon has worked closely with a long list of Sunday Times, New York Times, and Amazon bestselling authors.'

Welbeck executive director Mark Smith said: "I’ve always been impressed with Jon’s relationships with authors and his knowledge of the global publishing market. Jon has a sixth sense when it comes to spotting commercial potential and his stellar list of clients at United is testament to this. Jon has always put his authors first and as an author-focussed company, we are so pleased that Jon will be building Portland Press for us."

Elek said: "After ten years as an agent, I have developed a pretty good understanding of what authors need from a publisher, both creatively and commercially. Following some inspiring conversations with Mark about our shared values and how they could provide the foundation for a new commercial fiction business, I am thrilled to be embarking on this exciting endeavour. I have loved my time at both AP Watt and UA, and look forward to staying in close contact with my former clients and colleagues."

United Agents also released a comment: "Jon has been an energetic and committed colleague, always loyal to his authors and focussed on achieving the best care for them, and the best deals. We are sorry to see him leave, but look forward to watching him build an exciting list at Welbeck, and to continuing to work with him in his new role."

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