Reinvention: Linda Langton and The Central Park South Publishing Story
She’s the dynamo behind Central Park South Publishing, who landed one of the hottest books of the year, “The Diary of Princess Pushy, Part 1” by Samantha Markle, and it’s only March!
My philosophy is ‘you have to keep dancing.’ Linda Langton, the owner of Central Park South Publishing, smiles. “With a positive, can-do attitude and a belief that everything is for a reason, I have soldiered through and always believed that the outcome will be for the best, and it usually is.”
Linda Langton took some time from her busy schedule to speak with us about her life and her new company’s goals and aspirations.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the hardships that this has brought on us all, Linda has kept very busy. In its first year, Central Park South Publishing published 15 books, including “The Diary of Princess Pushy, Part 1” by Samantha Markle. She also successfully sold over 60 books to commercial publishers through Langtons International Agency, her 20-year boutique literary agency.
Linda is never afraid of taking chances when she perceives there is a market for a book. She met Samantha Markle three years ago. And although it was not the right time to publish her book, they maintained the connection. Once Linda began her publishing company, Samantha reached out to her. “When the timing was right, in January of this year, Samantha got in touch again and told us she had finished her book and wanted it to be published by February 1st.”
“I knew that this was a hot topic, and I wanted to be sure that my client’s book was timely. We were able to turn the entire project around in just under three weeks, hitting the deadline, which Samantha had set with the retailers. It was a “tour de force” to get her book done in just under 3 weeks, but we did it!” Linda is very proud of her team’s accomplishments. “Samantha’s book has been selling significantly well since it was published. The Oprah Winfrey interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has definitely increased the interest in the book, and we have been inundated with interviews from the press and television for Samantha. Samantha is writing Part 2 of her memoir at the moment.”
Central Park South Publishing publishes mysteries, literary fiction, women’s fiction, poetry, nonfiction, in addition to memoirs.
Linda grew up in Manchester, England. Her father wanted to become a doctor to help people. However, because of his bad eyesight, he was unable to do so and so he became a pharmacist. To continue his goal of aiding people in his community, he became a local councilor, alderman of the city, and eventually Lord Mayor of Manchester. He was very concerned with human rights and founded The Race Relations Board of Great Britain together with Sir Mark Bonham Carter.
“I got the ‘gene’ to help people from my father, who was always concerned about the welfare of his constituents, and I think I take after him in the way I look after my clients.”
“I have been extremely fortunate in realizing my dreams”, and as I believe that ‘you have to keep dancing’, with this philosophy, things have always worked out well. “ Linda explained further, “Although British, I married an Australian and went to live in Australia. After divorcing, I met my next partner. Together, with $5,000 we developed what turned out to be a very successful $50 million international greeting card, calendar and book company, The Ink Group, which straddled four countries, including the US. After that business ended, I decided to live my dream — and came to live in New York.”
“When I arrived in New York, I had no idea what I was going to do. Having left Australia behind, I followed my dreams to live here. I had to start over. I knew no one and had no idea what I was going to do. I was asked by a client from my previous company to agent his photography book. Being a very can-do person, I said, ‘Of course I will!’ I hadn’t a clue about being an agent in the publishing industry here and knew no one in New York at that time. Now, Langtons International Agency looks after over 60 authors and their books, which we have sold to commercial publishers over these 20 years.”
Central Park South Publishing began after Linda noticed the significant changes in the commercial publishing industry. More consolidation of companies and fewer books from unknown authors were being published. So, she started Central Park South Publishing, where writers can become published authors, thereby fulfilling their dreams and the goal of the company is to become a significant publishing house producing quality books in many genres. In its first year, Central Park South Publishing generated 15 titles with many more in the pipeline.
“Although we are a hybrid publisher, Central Park South Publishing has specific criteria for its publications. We don’t take just any book. It must be well written and engaging for today’s reading audience. Our independent editors work to bring it up to publishable standard, and we are always looking for the next best-seller. We work with both debut and veteran writers driven to get their books published quickly and into the market both efficiently and professionally. We work with some of the top book cover and interior layout designers internationally. Once published, we can introduce our authors to top marketing companies which specialize in books and their authors. One of our main goals is to get a book out within a reasonable time frame, unlike more commercial publishers who can take up to a year after accepting a manuscript.”
Over the years, Linda has established an exemplary reputation as an agent in publishing business. She’s negotiated six-figure deals for best-selling authors here in the US and UK, and was thrilled to attend the first night premiere of the movie Trumbo in L.A. when as an agent she sold the book rights to Grand Central Publishing in a six figure deal. “At the premiere, I met Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren and had wonderful conversations with them both there,” Linda said.
When Linda isn’t focused on her publishing company and agency, she loves the mornings. “Before I start the workday. I fill a Ziploc bag with birdseed which I buy wholesale for the pigeons in the park. I walk across the road to Central Park and feed the pigeons, rain or shine. They know me now and wait for my arrival at the entrance to the park. They fly onto my hat and my arms and eat birdseed from my hands. This gives me great joy, and I have been doing this since March of last year when COVID first started and New York had emptied its streets of people. There were no visitors in the park or tourists or locals at that time- everyone had escaped to outside the city, and the birds were starving and skinny as there was no one to feed them. So I fed them and still do so daily and what a joy it is to see them filled out now.”
Linda smiles. “I am so looking forward to once this pandemic is under control, and I can return to going to live theatre, dance and classical music concerts and the wonderful restaurants here in New York. And of course travelling back to England and Australia to see friends and family.”
“I am very proud to have built Central Park South Publishing over the past year which has become extremely successful in a very short time. As you know, my motto is ‘you just have to keep dancing,’ and I am delighted that I have been able to do this throughout my life and that I am still doing this today.”
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Some Authors and Books represented by Langtons International Agency