Judy Piatkus set up her first company with a partner at the age of 24. She sold out to him four years later, and with the capital she accrued from the sale went on to found Piatkus Books.
Her new company was to become one of the world’s leading imprints in lifestyle titles incorporating health, self-help, popular psychology, mind, body and spirit and business. Piatkus also built a fiction list full of international bestselling authors and published biography, music, popular culture and a wide range of other topics.
Some of the titles on Judy 's early publishing programes in the 1980s included The Little Green Avocado Book which was the first in a series of popular gift books, Colour Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson which was to influence the fashion tastes of millions of women worldwide, Fast Cakes by Mary Berry and The Curry Club Cookbook series by Pat Chapman.
With limited capital of her own, Judy grew the company organically to a turnover of £10 million while she continued to remain independent and fully in control of all the shares. In the summer of 2007 she sold the company to Little Brown who are continuing to develop the Piatkus brand.
In 1979, when Judy launched the company, women entrepreneurs were something of a rarity and so, from the start, Judy attracted a reputation as being a forward-thinker. The alternative health titles which Piatkus published in the 1980s were ahead of their time and the mind, body and spirit list of the 1990s with its resulting publicity introduced many new topics to an unsuspecting public which subsequently became part of mainstream daily life.
Non-fiction authors who Judy published included Brian L Weiss, Patrick Holford, Gillian Mckeith, Karen Kingston, David Allen, Irvin Yalom, Seth Godin, Sylvia Browne, Christiane Northrup, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Andy Summers, Gill Edwards, William Bloom, Marilyn Glenville, James van Praagh, Diana Cooper and many hundreds more talented writers and experts.
Novelists published under Judy's aegis included Nora Roberts, J D Robb, Linda Howard, Stephanie Laurens, Amanda Quick, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julia Quick and - many many years ago - Robert Crais, Danielle Steel, Virginia Andrews, Harlan Coben and Dean Koontz.
Piatkus Books are sold all over the world and Judy has travelled widely to help her colleagues promote her titles, particularly in English-speaking countries. Piatkus titles have become No.1 bestsellers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and are also sold widely in the Far East.
Judy now works as a business consultant, investor, mentor and keynote speaker.