In a year-end letter to Simon & Schuster staff, S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy cited the successful launch of new imprints and publishing initiatives and a long list of bestselling S&S titles, and projected a wave of new opportunities as part of ViacomCBS, “a new, larger, and more powerful global media company.”
Reidy said the new media conglomerate will offer S&S access to “world-class brands and content from such stellar media properties as MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, and Paramount Pictures.” Reidy added that the house will look to “forge close relationships that can both draw from and supply content to our new media partners, expanding the universe of direct relationships and pipelines."
Reidy gave “an especial tip of the hat” to recently launched home-grown publishing imprints, including: Avid Reader Press, which launched in July, with Lisa Taddeo’s bestselling novel Three Women; Tiller Press, which uses data-driven methodology to build its list, released its first books in July, and will expand its title output “dramatically” in the coming year; amd Signal Publishers, a part of the Atria Publishing Group. Reidy also praised bestselling author/publisher Denene Millner, who is bringing her Denene Millner Books imprint to S&S Children’s Publishing; the imprint will release its first list under S&S's auspices in Spring 2020.
Later in the letter, Reidy cited ViacomCBS once again, pointing to a partnership with CBS News to launch the Mobituaries podcast, a popular new podcast based on comedian Mo Rocca’s bestselling book Mobituaries. Its success, she said, will drive the launch of new S&S author-driven podcasts in 2020. The house also took over the management of the S&S Speakers Bureau, which was previously run outside the company, and, Reidy said, the organizational move will mean “increased bookings and better coordination with our publishing teams.” The move, she added, also offers a new revenue stream, as well as more control over building author profiles and driving book sales.
2019 also marked a year of bestselling S&S titles, Reidy wrote, among them such nonfiction successes as the relaunch of the Joy of Cooking franchise, Howard Stern’s Howard Stern Comes Again, David McCullough’s The Pioneers, and Mark Levin’s Unfreedom of the Press. On the fiction side, Reidy took note of Stephen King’s The Institute (“his best performing title of recent years”) and Jennifer Weiner’s Mrs. Everything.
On the children's books side, S&S Children’s Publishing released Lupita Nyong’o’s bestselling Sulwe, Jason’s Reynolds Long Way Down, and the latest in Rachel Renee Russell’s longrunning bestselling graphic series Dork Diaries. Reidy said to expect “to see more graphic novels from children’s as they expand their efforts in this growing category.”
Finally, Reidy added, an ongoing emphasis on diversity and inclusion throughout S&S will continue to be a focus in 2020.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the work being done by all of our publishers to assure that we are serving a readership that reflects the diversity of our world,” Reidy said. “The publishing goes hand in glove with our company-wide efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, an area where we have made great strides, and that I am thrilled will continue as a corporate priority under our new ViacomCBS management.”