Will Schwalbe spent 11 years at Hyperion, almost seven of them as editor-in-chief. Last week he told the president of the company, Bob Miller, and its publisher, Ellen Archer, that he would resign at the end of next week—not to go to a different publishing house, but to pursue projects the precise nature of which he does not yet know.
Having just completed a day of phone calls with the authors he has been editing at Hyperion and the literary agents who represent them—some of whom were surely distressed to read about Mr. Schwalbe’s imminent departure this morning—Mr. Schwalbe spoke to the Media Mob about his decision to leave, his plans for the future, and the vacuum he will leave behind when he vacates his office.
“I thought about this a lot, as one may tend to, over the Christmas holidays,” he said, “but only really made the decision last week.”
The 45-year-old Mr. Schwalbe, who recently co-wrote a book about e-mail etiquette with New York Times Op Ed editor David Shipley, said he may want to pursue something related to new media.
“I have some ideas that I’m excited about,” he said, refusing to go into detail about what form that interest may take. “There are a lot of people I want to talk to.”
Who will replace him at the top of Hyperion? Mr. Schwalbe said he doesn’t know, but noted that one person who has been doing “all kinds of work around the house” is Will Balliett, whom he brought in as editorial director this past July.
Mr. Balliett, who previously served as the publisher and editor of then-Avalon Publishing Group imprints Carroll & Graff and Thunder’s Mouth, has “really hit the ground running” since joining Hyperion, Mr. Schwalbe said.