As Barnes & Noble’s SF buyer, Killen was a highly influential figure in building the careers of authors including Neil Gaiman, V.E. Schwab, Marjorie Liu, Kim Harrison, and George R.R. Martin. He left that position as part of a wave of layoffs across B&N in June.
Jim said: “I’ve been a fan of Rebellion for some time. I’m glad to call it my new home.”
Ben Smith, Head of Film, TV & Publishing at Rebellion, said: “Jim Killen is not only one of the best informed people in the US genre scene, but he has been a strong supporter at Barnes and Noble for Rebellion’s books over the last decade. Our respect for his knowledge and insight has meant that I have long wanted to tempt Jim over to fence into publishing. I am delighted he is starting a new chapter in his highly respected career with Rebellion and look forward with great anticipation to the impact he will have on our list and performance. Being based in New York Jim is perfectly situated to engage with our US agent colleagues, our distributor Simon and Schuster and the wider industry. As Rebellion’s publishing lists continue to expand we are thrilled to have Jim join us at such an exciting moment.”
Rebellion is best known for publishing Judge Dredd; however, they also have a brisk fiction line with a lot of top-notch SF, including Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, Derek Künksen’s Quantum Evolution series, Mary Robinette Kowal’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning Calculating Stars and Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. The publisher has doubled in size in the last three years, successfully expanding its fiction, graphic novel and non-fiction lists.
Killen started his career at B&N in 1998 as Science Fiction, Fantasy, Role Playing Games and Graphic Novels buyer at American book chain Barnes & Noble. As graphic novel buyer, he helped the blossoming medium become the influential giant it now is, with sales growing by 1,500%. He also oversaw the doubling the space of graphic novels in every one of its locations in 2015. He’s been consistently named to the Top 100 most influential people in comics lists, wherever they may be.
One of the smartest people in the biz is still around, and for that we should be very grateful.