FAQ – Random House Worlds

Is the Del Rey Star Wars team changing?

The team isn’t going anywhere! Our new name will be Random House Worlds, but it’s still the same crew behind the books, we are simply rebranding under a new name.

What happens to Del Rey?

Del Rey also isn’t going anywhere—the Del Rey imprint will be wholly focused on original science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative publishing, as it has been since 1977.

Will my books look different?

Same books, same great cover art! There will be a new logo for Random House Worlds that you’ll most likely see popping up on book spines starting in 2023.

Are your social media handles changing?

At the moment we’re not changing any social media handles, but we’ll reassess as we go and keep you updated if anything changes.

Are you still attending SWC and SDCC?

Absolutely, we’ll be there (and would love if you came to say hi!).

Why are you doing this?

Our licensing team has continued to grow over the years and we felt it was the right moment to expand our mandate and give our big licensed brands their own dedicated publishing space. Check out the official announcement for more background on that.

Read the full press release in our post below.

News from Random House

Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, announced today the launch of Random House Worlds, a new publishing imprint dedicated entirely to licensed book publishing. This newly created imprint will be the home for major pop culture brands to be published within the Random House division, including Star Wars, Minecraft, Stranger Things, Garfield, Magic: The Gathering, Lore Olympus, Critical Role, and others. Keith Clayton, VP, Deputy Publisher of Del Rey, will now also lead the Random House Worlds imprint as Publishing Director.

The premier licensed brands that have been successfully published by Del Rey and other imprints under the Random House division will now migrate their frontlist and backlist titles to the new Random House Worlds imprint starting in 2023. Under this streamlined structure, Random House Worlds will offer a single home for partners to bring their prime pop culture brands—any genre and any format, from novels to cookbooks to coloring books and beyond. Books published under the Random House Worlds imprint will enrich and expand partners’ worlds beyond their original source material, helping to grow a popular brand into a multimedia universe and offering fans a deeply immersive experience into their favorite worlds. The Random House Worlds team will also work hand-in-hand with Clarkson Potter’s world-class gift and design team to develop licensed gift and paper products to be published under the Potter imprint, such as journals, puzzles, games, tarot, and more. 

Clayton said, “With a unified publication strategy encompassing multiple formats and genres, the Random House Worlds approach will enable us to have one conversation with readers, retailers, and partners, delivering best-in-class service to licensors and the highest-quality content to passionate fandoms.”

Joining Clayton on the publishing team of Random House Worlds will be:

Kristin Conte, Business Director, Licensing & Brands

An experienced licensing and brand professional with expertise working across both entertainment and publishing organizations to champion the success of licensed book programs, Kristin joined the Random House team in January 2022 from NBCUniversal, where she managed the publishing, stationery, craft & activity, and party categories. At NBCUniversal, Kristin represented a portfolio of DreamWorks, Illumination, Universal Studios film, and NBC television brands, and before that she worked on brand marketing at King Features and spent several years negotiating licensed publishing deals at Penguin Young Readers.

Sarah Malarkey, Editorial Director, Nonfiction & Illustrated 

A visual book editor and publisher with over two decades of experience, who has developed successful publishing lines with licensors such as Lucasfilm, Disney, HBO, Netflix, and LEGO, Sarah was most recently an executive editor at Ten Speed Press, where she acquired pop culture titles like Afrosurf and licensed books including the forthcoming Stranger Things Coloring Book. Previously, she worked at Chronicle Books, where she founded and led the Entertainment Publishing Group, publishing bestselling titles like Darth Vader and Son, I Could Pee on This, Grumpy Cat, and All My Friends Are Dead. She is most proud of acquiring and successfully publishing Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a ground-breaking book that sold over 750,000 copies.

Elizabeth Schaefer, Editorial Director, Fiction 

Elizabeth has worked in the world of licensed fiction for over a decade, starting out at Disney Publishing where she helped launch Disney’s inaugural Star Wars book program and the bestselling Twisted Tales series. In her years at Del Rey, the team’s licensing partnerships have expanded from Star Wars and Minecraft to include Stranger Things, Marvel, Magic: The Gathering, Critical Role, Lore Olympus, Dungeons & Dragons, and more. She is proud to work alongside her team on championing dozens of New York Timesbestsellers, while building a list of books that strive to be inclusive and welcoming for all readers.

Alex Larned, Senior Publishing Manager, Del Rey & Random House Worlds

Alex joined Del Rey in 2018, and since his progression from Associate Editor to Publishing Manager, he has continually imagined new ways to keep the team organized and on track, running department-wide weekly meetings or coordinating beats such as author presentations or span deadlines, consistently enabling the team to do their best work. As Senior Publishing Manager, Alex will continue to work on all titles on both the Random House Worlds and Del Rey lists, with responsibilities not limited to managing publication schedule changes, assisting with inventory and pricing, and coordinating title announcements from all major brands like Star Wars, Minecraft, and Dungeons & Dragons as well as the Del Rey original list. 

Random House is a division of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, which is dedicated to its mission to ignite a universal passion for reading by creating books for everyone. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson. As of April 1, 2020, Bertelsmann is full owner of the company. With more than 300 imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English-, German-, and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 16,000 new titles, and more than 700 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.

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