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Epitome: Love Every Story

Authors: Rice, Samantha
Gillespie, Christine
Issue Date: 2022
Abstract: Epitome is an adult romance imprint for Simon and Schuster (S&S) that focuses on marginalized voices; its list centers around authors and characters who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, neurodivergent, and/or people with disabilities. Our titles include books in all adult romance subgenres, including contemporary, rom-com, historical, erotica, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, and romantic suspense. Epitome acquires and distributes original trade paperback print books as well as e-books. The romance market has dramatically grown in the past few years, due to a need for self-care in the pandemic, the rise of romance in mainstream media, and the increased popularity of BookTok. Despite this growth, S&S does not have its own romance imprint, and the romantic fiction it does acquire is mostly produced by white authors, with only 2.5% written by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) authors in 2020. The romance audience is mainly female, and 23% of romance readers are people of color. While adult romance competitors such as Berkley Romance/Jove, Forever, Avon, Harlequin, and Entangled acquire diverse books, Epitome will create a space wherein all resources can go toward supporting marginalized voices in the mainstream, promoting inclusivity in the genre at large, and exploring content that competitors don’t tackle often. Should the imprint grow into the young adult sphere, Joy Revolution will be our only direct competitor. Epitome has planned an ambitious go-to-market launch plan. The imprint’s titles will reach our audience using direct-to-consumer book marketing tactics such as social media campaigns, Amazon Ad Services sponsored product placement, account co-op, and paid in-store placement, as well as librarian and bookseller awareness campaigns. Employees will acquire and position a list of 3 books in year 1, growing to 20 books in year 5. Short-term goals include reaching the book sales laid out in my publishing schedule, achieved via extensive consumer brand awareness plan. Additional marketing goals include generating buzz through a bold launch party, creating social media and reaching 10,000 followers, and implementing librarian and bookseller awareness campaigns. Long-term, depending on viability, the imprint could grow to include young adult subgenres and more partnerships, for instance with We Need Diverse Books. The imprint is set to break even in year 3. To be successful, Epitome requires $1.5 million from the parent company.
Rights: Copyright 2022
Appears in Collections:NYU SPS Capstone Spotlight 2021-2022

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