Lena Dunham is launching a new book publishing imprint, Lenny Books, at Random House, BuzzFeed reports. She’s partnering once again with her fellow Girls producer and Lenny Letter creator Jenni Konner to publish books that Dunham tells BuzzFeed she hopes to see "sticking out of purses and riding public transportation everywhere," in a list Random House describes as "voice-driven."
If the voice of Lenny Books is anything like the voice of Lenny Letter, it will be young, confessional, and just a little political. Lenny Letter is best-known for publishing Jennifer Lawrence’s essay on the wage gap, but it has also featured interviews with politicians like Hillary Clinton and Wendy Davis, as well as fiction from young authors like Caroline Kepnes, Emma Straub, and Dunham herself.
Lenny Books will not be the first book publishing imprint built around a celebrity. Unfortunately, celebrity imprints are rarely runaway successes. In 2015, Publishers Weekly rounded up five recently launched celebrity imprints — from Chelsea Handler, Johnny Depp, Derek Jeter, Rachael Ray, and Anthony Bourdain — and found that most of them were either dormant or had been quietly shuttered.
Handler, for instance, was spending her time and efforts on her own book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, not on her imprint A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing. And none of the celebrity imprints PW looked at have revived in the past year. Some of them have fallen further into dormancy: Most of the titles PW attributes to Depp’s Infinitum Nihil imprint in 2015 are now listed under its parent imprint, Harper.